FillPerfect Automatic Form Filler Speeds Up Online Job Hunts
One of the main functions of computers is to automate rote tasks, yet the task of filling out the same basic information over and over seems to be part and parcel of using computers--or at least, the Internet. Practically every Web site wants your name, rank, and serial number before it will let you do anything. 2424 Software's FillPerfect Automatic Form Filler ($25, 15-day free trial) aims to automate and simplify that task, and goes far beyond the relatively simple autofill some browsers offer.
To begin with, FillPerfect allows you to create any number of profiles (and lets you copy data from one to start another, so you only need to tweak things as needed), and each profile is fairly rich in data. You can store multiple employers, schools, references, phone numbers, and more. A completely filled-out profile would be a treasure trove for any identity thief, but FillPerfect promises all data is stored locally and nothing is transmitted to the Internet but the data entered into forms, which you can see and verify before you click "send." Multiple profiles allow you to fill out different data for different needs; you may have one preferred e-mail address for job applications and another for subscriptions to mailing lists, or you may have a set of references for your work in one field and a different set for another.
FillPerfect is heavily focused on job seekers. It includes quick links to sites such as Monster.com, and many of the pages and fields in the profile allow you to specify such items as your preferred working hours and desired salary. FillPerfect is useful to anyone who finds themselves re-entering their personal data over and over, but its focus on employment data helps give it a well defined target audience.
In my experience, FillPerfect worked pretty well. It's not possible to test every site and every form, but in the places I visited, the Autofill button worked correctly for nearly all fields in which I'd filled in data. Those fields it failed to fill were highlighted in yellow, making it easy to see what needed to be done by hand. Further, even when it does not automatically fill the fields, FillPerfect allows you to easily drag-and-drop data elements from the side bar to a waiting field.
I'm always nervous about having so much personal data stored in one single file, whether or not it's shared over the Internet. The data is not encrypted (you do not need to enter a password to load up FillPerfect), so it is exposed to any security hole or other user on your computer. This is true of all data, of course, but having so many eggs in one basket makes it a tempting target. In addition, I experienced a few user interface quirks (vanishing controls, which re-appeared on restart), which were not fatal but which were still annoying. And FillPerfect is Internet Explorer-only; I prefer Firefox (and my time spent using IE to test FillPerfect reminded me why).
Whether FillPerfect is worth it for you is really a factor of time. Think about how much your time is worth per hour, and about how long it takes to fill out a form, and then consider how many forms you're likely to need to fill over the next year. If this works out to more than twenty-five dollars, FillPerfect is probably a good investment.