Hey everyone, thank you for all the feedback. We’re listening, and I hope that I can answer the questions being raised here.
Since there’s a lot, I’ll try to respond point by point…
Seems like a gimmick to get users to pay for Webflow hosting.
For what it’s worth, this is not the reason behind this change. While it would be good for us for folks to sign up for more hosting on our platform, the vast majority of the Export use cases in Webflow have so many export-dependent requirements (e.g. code changes need to be made, conversion needs to happen to a WordPress theme, etc), requiring hosting for form submissions from exported sites would likely not even make a dent in our hosting revenue.
Does this mean that for all Webflow hosted sites, the Webflow team will ensure that all forms are properly set up with no hidden checkboxes so as to ensure that all sites are GDPR compliant?
No, unfortunately we cannot ensure this at this time, given the multi-faceted nature of GDPR requirements and the still-pending upcoming rules in the ePrivacy Regulation, which will be additional to the current GDPR regulations. However, it does make it significantly easier for us to implement future changes to our forms functionality to aid our customers in complying with regulations if there’s the common baseline assumption that form handling code cannot be modified or circumvented.
(As a tangential benefit, it also helps us build other form-based improvements – such as reCAPTCHA and file upload support – significantly faster.)
If Webflow is just the data processor, why does it matter how users collect the data whether hosted on Webflow or externally?
Even though we are “just” a data processor for form submissions, we still have to take reasonable steps to ensure that we are doing everything in our power to protect personal data. As a processor, we are required to map out and document exactly how personal data could be sent from browser to server – and on exported sites, we can’t map this out with certainty.
What is the alternatives?
One of the easiest integration options today is to send form submissions to MailChimp - we have a guide on how this can be set up.
We are in the process of creating additional guides on integrating exported forms with other external form providers, such as Wufoo.
it really seems as if they lack effective communication about these forms and how they operate
You’re right, and for that I personally apologize. ♂️ This has historically been an area of ambiguity in our pricing pages and feature listings, and that sucks. GDPR forced a conversation on this internally, and we’re now actively working to reconcile all of our internal and external documentation to make it clear that form submissions will not automatically work on exported code.
I have no option but to pay an experienced developer to reconfigure these forms for multiple clients.
To help with this, we’re going to extend the timeline of this migration for existing exported sites – and will be adding more content like our MailChimp Integration guide to make finding a developer not necessary.
We’re also considering extending the timeline for capturing form submissions beyond July 31st to give everyone more time to make this transition.
I don’t know whose idea it is to repeatedly attempt to get people to pay for hosting
As mentioned before, this is not the motivation. Sure, it does become easier to deal with this by hosting with Webflow, but that only applies to a tiny percentage of our export use cases – and would not make a material difference for Webflow’s business.
Not only that, but you can put an HTML embed into a form, and Webflow is apparently not checking the code on those anymore sooooooooooooooo… you could still hide a checkbox if you wanted to.
Yes, as long as that embed is an
<iframe>, there’s already an expectation that Webflow is not in control of custom code as a data processor – similar to how we’re not in control of the data that might be collected by Google if a YouTube video is embedded on a published site. If, however, Webflow was directly offering a feature that is clearly not dependent on a 3rd party processor (such as our forms collection, or Background Videos), we have a heightened responsibility – at least from how we currently understand our role under the new GDPR rules.
I’m not paying an additional $2,640+ per year for the privilege of remaining [a customer]
If you use the MailChimp integration mentioned above (and some other free solutions we’ll be suggesting soon), there is no requirement for you to switch to our hosting solution to preserve form submission functionality.
Can you guys give us an option in the settings area to hook up our forms to something 3rd party and cut Webflow out of the process for those who wish to export?
Webflow already has this, either via a custom Action on each individual form or via something like our MailChimp Integration.
I wish there was more focus and encouragement on the exporting of clean code for further development and hosting where you like. I want devs around the world to know webflow as the #1 platform for prototyping / quick development of front end etc and be backed by this amazing ability to export clean code and do with it what you like. Instead its tracking more towards these web builder platforms[…]
This change will actually make this distinction easier. By clearly separating form submissions as a hosting/platform function (similar to CMS, Site Search, ECommerce, etc), it frees up more of our design tooling team to build more general non-hosting features, such as CSS Grid Layout, Photo Galleries, etc.
However, it’s important to note why Webflow provides all the platform-level integrated features. The vast majority of people who use Webflow are professional designers who just want to create and deliver solutions for their clients - in most cases, they’re not expert coders, they don’t have easy access to developers, and don’t have the desire to set up their own server/hosting stack.
So creating a straightforward way for them to design and launch/run sites in production is a lifesaver, and in many cases means the difference between running a web design business and not being able to. For those folks that know how to export code, modify it, and run a server – that’s great, but for the majority that’s not the case, and Webflow provides a lot of added convenience.
I hope all that makes sense, and please let me know if you have additional questions. Thank you for reading! ♂️