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Last Updated: October 14, 2017
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18.22K
· tiagorg
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How to create a contact form for a GitHub Pages served Jekyll website

I have recently put together a Jekyll website hosted in GitHub Pages here: tgarcia.com.br

As you probably know, GitHub Pages serve static-only websites (which I will refer as front-end), which means there is no available back-end to create things such as contact form.

So firstly I was just giving my email address on the website, which turned out to be BAD IDEA. Thinking better I decided I needed a contact form with a Captcha challenge - and for that I need a back-end to send this email.

It didn't take long for me to find the post Create a contact form for Jekyll, which is awesome, however it describes a solution for sites that serve both the front-end and back-end on the same node.

Which differs from my case, once I have the front-end being served on GitHub pages, and the back-end must be served somewhere else (in my case I use Heroku).

Well, after a weekend of work I was able to put together a solution to contemplate my scenario and here I describe it. I had to add CORS requests handling and I improve the workflow by doing all the validation on the same request, without using sessions to make it more secure and faster.

  • Sign up for a Heroku free account if you don't have an account already.
  • Create an app on Heroku and pick a meaningful name for you (mine is tgarcia-contact-form), otherwise Heroku will generate a random one.
  • Sign up for a Sendgrid Starter plan on your app.
  • Sign up for a reCAPTCHA account and register your Heroku back-end (mine is tgarcia-contact-form.herokuapp.com). IMPORTANT: select the option to generate it as a GLOBAL KEY, otherwise your GitHub Pages front-end won't work with reCAPTCHA.
  • Create a local git repo for a Rack-based application and add the following files:

Gemfile

source 'https://rubygems.org'
ruby '2.0.0'
gem 'rack'
gem 'rack-recaptcha'
gem 'sinatra'
gem 'pony'
gem 'json'

config.ru

require 'rubygems'
require 'sinatra'
require 'json'
require 'rack/recaptcha'
require 'pony'

use Rack::Recaptcha, :public_key => 'YOUR_PUBLIC_KEY_FROM_RECAPTCHA', :private_key => YOUR_PRIVATE_KEY_FROM_RECAPTCHA'
helpers Rack::Recaptcha::Helpers

require './application'
run Sinatra::Application

Please insert your reCAPTCHA's public and private keys where specified.

application.rb

before do
  content_type :json
  headers 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' => '*',
          'Access-Control-Allow-Methods' => ['POST']
end

set :protection, false
set :public_dir, Proc.new { File.join(root, "_site") }

post '/send_email' do
  if recaptcha_valid?
    res = Pony.mail(
      :from => params[:name] + "<" + params[:email] + ">",
      :to => 'YOUR_EMAIL_ADDRESS',
      :subject => "[YOUR FILTER] " + params[:subject],
      :body => params[:message],
      :via => :smtp,
      :via_options => {
        :address              => 'smtp.sendgrid.net',
        :port                 => '587',
        :enable_starttls_auto => true,
        :user_name            => ENV['SENDGRID_USERNAME'],
        :password             => ENV['SENDGRID_PASSWORD'],
        :authentication       => :plain,
        :domain               => 'heroku.com'
      })
    content_type :json
    if res
      { :message => 'success' }.to_json
    else
      { :message => 'failure_email' }.to_json
    end
  else
    { :message => 'failure_captcha' }.to_json
  end
end

not_found do
  File.read('_site/404.html')
end

get '/*' do
  file_name = "_site#{request.path_info}/index.html".gsub(%r{\/+},'/')
  if File.exists?(file_name)
    File.read(file_name)
  else
    raise Sinatra::NotFound
  end
end

Please insert your email address and a filter for the email subject.

  • Now you need to add some client-side code that will go to your Jekyll site at GitHub Pages:
function showRecaptcha(element) {
  Recaptcha.create('YOUR_PUBLIC_KEY_FROM_RECAPTCHA', element, {
    theme: 'custom', // you can pick another at https://developers.google.com/recaptcha/docs/customization
    custom_theme_widget: 'recaptcha_widget'
  });
}

function setupRecaptcha() {
  var contactFormHost = 'YOUR_BACKEND_ADDRESS_FROM_HEROKU',
      form = $('#contact-form'),
      notice = form.find('#notice');

  if (form.length) {
    showRecaptcha('recaptcha_widget');

    form.submit(function(ev){
      ev.preventDefault();

      $.ajax({
        type: 'POST',
        url: contactFormHost + 'send_email',
        data: form.serialize(),
        dataType: 'json',
        success: function(response) {
          switch (response.message) {
            case 'success':
              form.fadeOut(function() {
                form.html('<h4>' + form.data('success') + '</h4>').fadeIn();
              });
              break;

            case 'failure_captcha':
              showRecaptcha('recaptcha_widget');
              notice.text(notice.data('captcha-failed')).fadeIn();
              break;

            case 'failure_email':
              notice.text(notice.data('error')).fadeIn();
          }
        },
        error: function(xhr, ajaxOptions, thrownError) {
          notice.text(notice.data('error')).fadeIn();
        }
      });
    });
  }
}

And here is my HTML form:

<form id="contact-form" class="contact-form" method="post" data-success="Message successfully sent!">

  <label for="name">Name</label>
  <input id="name" type="text" name="name" class="field" required autofocus /><br/>

  <label for="email">E-mail</label>
  <input id="email" type="email" name="email" class="field" required /><br/>

  <label for="subject">Subject</label>
  <input id="subject" type="text" name="subject" class="field" required /><br/>

  <label for="message">Message</label>
  <textarea id="message" name="message" required ></textarea><br/>

  <label for="recaptcha_response_field">Captcha</label>
  <div id="recaptcha_widget" class="recaptcha">
    <div class="image">
      <div id="recaptcha_image"></div>
    </div>

    <div class="headline recaptcha_only_if_image">Enter the words above:</div>
    <div class="headline recaptcha_only_if_audio">Enter the numbers you hear:</div>

    <input type="text" id="recaptcha_response_field" name="recaptcha_response_field" required />

    <span class="recaptcha_icon"><a href="javascript:Recaptcha.reload()"><i class="fa fa-refresh"></i></a></span>
    <span class="recaptcha_icon recaptcha_only_if_image"><a href="javascript:Recaptcha.switch_type('audio')"><i class="fa fa-volume-up"></i></a></span>
    <span class="recaptcha_icon recaptcha_only_if_audio"><a href="javascript:Recaptcha.switch_type('image')"><i class="fa fa-font"></i></a></span>
    <span class="recaptcha_icon"><a href="javascript:Recaptcha.showhelp()"><i class="fa fa-question-circle"></i></a></span>
  </div><br/>
  <div id="notice" class="notice" data-captcha-failed="Incorrect captcha!" data-error="There was an error sending the message, please try again."></div>
  <button type="submit">Send</button>
</form>

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/recaptcha/api/js/recaptcha_ajax.js"></script>

BTW I am using Font Awesome here.

And should you want to see my styles (I used LESS here)

.contact-form {
  h4 {
    color: #668944;
    margin-left: 20px;
  }
  label {
    width: 100px;
    margin: 5px 0;
    display: inline-block;
    vertical-align: top;
  }
  input, textarea, .recaptcha, button {
    margin: 5px 0;
    padding: 5px;
    -webkit-border-radius: 5px;
    -moz-border-radius: 5px;
    border-radius: 5px;
    border: 1px solid #bbb;

    &:focus {
      outline-color: @accent-color;
    }
  }
  input.field, textarea {
    min-width: 330px;
  }
  input[name=subject], textarea {
    width: 73%;
  }
  textarea {
    height: 150px;
  }
  button {
    border: 0;
    background-color: @accent-color;
    padding: 8px 20px;
    color: #fff;
    margin-top: 20px;

    &:hover {
      background-color: darken(@accent-color, 10%);
      color: darken(#fff, 10%);
    }
  }
  .notice {
    display: none;
    background-color: #f2dede;
    border: 1px solid #ebccd1;
    -webkit-border-radius: 5px;
    -moz-border-radius: 5px;
    border-radius: 5px;
    padding: 10px 15px;
    color: #a94442;
    margin-top: 15px;
  }
  .recaptcha {
    padding: 0;
    display: inline-block;

    div.image {
      -webkit-border-radius: 5px 5px 0 0;
      -moz-border-radius: 5px 5px 0 0;
      border-radius: 5px 5px 0 0;
      padding: 10px;
      background-color: #fff;
      width: 320px;

      br {
        display: none;
      }
      embed, span {
        float: left;
        clear: both;
        a {
          cursor: pointer;
          font-size: 0.9em;
        }
      }
    }

    div.headline {
      padding: 5px 5px 0 10px;
    }

    input[type=text] {
      margin: 10px;
    }
  }
}

In here, @accent-color is my default link color.

I hope it serves you well!

Say Thanks
Respond

7 Responses
Add your response

16773
Lxpevzpc normal

config.ru</code> or config.rb</code>?

over 1 year ago ·
17244
8e2b996de3842c6ef7e68a82fa5f01f5

https://formkeep.com is also designed to be drop-in, super-simple forms for Jekyll.

over 1 year ago ·
21514
M

@pongstr :

Its not a typo config.ru for deploying a ruby stack to heroku
https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/rack

over 1 year ago ·
21805
None

I think you're missing a quote here at the start of YOUR_PRIVATE...:

:privatekey => YOURPRIVATEKEYFROM_RECAPTCHA'

over 1 year ago ·
24661
None

I'd suggest to use something like http://www.kvstore.io. It's a key/value pair storage service that supports the "client-side only environments" like static websites.

It's super easy to use it and gives you the strength to manage your data with a full set of RESTful API... I just posted an article on github/jekyll or whatever integration with kvstore.io... : https://medium.com/@lordkada/store-user-generated-content-from-jekyll-github-pages-or-similar-ded76aabf17#.aqjafjiez

Enjoy

Just my 2 cents..

DISCLAIMER: I'm the author of kvstore.io ;-)

over 1 year ago ·
24952
None

Can you link URL on your result git-page with form working over 'heroku'?

over 1 year ago ·
29361

You can also use getform.org It's great for static websites.

about 2 months ago ·