what would be an ideal situation is a drag and drop form builder in Manifold. Since that doesn’t exist, I need to build an outside database, preferably hosted on the cloud so it can be accessed remotely that connects read and write with M9 (MySQL?) that can be understood by professionals. Oh, and by the way the program has to be cheap or free.
If what you need is a form builder, get a form builder. Anything that can connect to a DBMS using ODBC can connect to a Manifold Release 9 project using ODBC.
I fired up Google in a browser window and searched for
open source form builder for dbms data entry odbc
open source form builder odbc
That led to plenty of interesting hits. Some like this one, suggesting use of Microsoft Infopath came as a surprise. But the use case in that link sounds similar to what you've said.
There's no reason you couldn't use Release 8 and Release 8 forms as an interface to a 9 project.
Also, if you want to keep your data within a database, why not use something straightforward like MySQL or PostgreSQL? Both are fine DBMS packages that are free with basically unlimited storage. There are plenty of form builders and other utilities that can interact with PostgreSQL, and you can use PostgreSQL as your data store for work with 9.