Gravity Forms on Press This

August 26th, 2009 – 31 Comments

Last night, Carl Hancock of Gravity Forms was my guest on the 3rd episode of Press This. We discussed what this awesome new plugin does, how they went about developing it and a whole lot more. If you’re interested, listen to the show, or read the transcript.

gravity.gifI wanted to talk a bit more about Gravity Forms though. I have my own contact form plugin, and yet, I have decided to go with Gravity Forms for all the contact forms on this site, and it’s now the only contact form we use for all our client projects.

It is that, for several reasons. Most important: it’s bloody easy to use. No programming needed anymore if the client wants another line of input added, needs a captcha or a file upload, wants a drop down or even wants people to be able to submit content directly to the site through a form.

Second: it stores all contact entries in the database, and has an easy to use interface to search through and export them into something like, for instance, a csv file. This way, if the notification email goes wrong, there’s still a copy on the server.

There’s loads more, as I said, both my contact form and my hire me form are now built with Gravity Forms, so I can only say: go get it. Carl was so kind as to leave a promo code especially for Press This listeners, which I don’t think he’ll mind if I share here: use PRESSTHIS as a coupon code for an instant 20% discount!

31 Responses to Gravity Forms on Press This

  1. Doug Stewart
    By Doug Stewart on 26 August, 2009

    So this is the question I’ve not been able to get folks pushing Gravity to answer: what, precisely, makes it worth the money when free alternatives like cformsII are out there?

    • donnacha | WordSkill
      By donnacha | WordSkill on 26 August, 2009

      Well, no offense to Joost, but I think the 20% affiliate commission is helping to motivate a lot of the recommendations we are seeing around the WordPress world.

      • Joost de Valk
        By Joost de Valk on 26 August, 2009

        Donnacha, I AM offended. If I didn’t truly think this was better I wouldn’t recommend it.

        • donnacha | WordSkill
          By donnacha | WordSkill on 26 August, 2009

          Doug referred to “all the folks pushing Gravity” and it is true that bloggers become unusually enthusiastic about products that give a generous kick-back. No post built around an affiliate link can be truly impartial, no matter how well-meaning the author, that is just simple common sense.

          I said “no offense” to you, Joost, because I do accept that you are a credible guy, that is why I am subscribed to your feed, but you should not be so offended simply because someone points under the hood and comments upon a fact directly relevant to the recommendation and, in a broader sense, relevant to the rapid commercialization of the WordPress eco-system.

          It is good to be open about these things, right?

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 26 August, 2009

      Loads and loads of things, check the site, and the video. Ow yeah, and don’t forget to mention this form DOESN’T add an annoying link back to its own site which the plugin developer won’t let you remove.

  2. Etherealmind
    By Etherealmind on 26 August, 2009

    Too expensive for casual use. Forty bucks for a single site seems out of proportion. I could be wrong, but at around 10 bucks a site you might have gotten me in.

    • donnacha | WordSkill
      By donnacha | WordSkill on 26 August, 2009

      Yes, I agree, the pricing does seem to be a sticking point for a lot of people who were previously interested.

      I reckon they would have been a lot smarter to keep the single use pricing where it is ($31.80 with the 20% discount code) but get rid of the $99 Multi Site license and, instead, make the unlimited Developer license $99 ($79.20 with the code) – the vast majority of people will never really use it on more than 5 sites anyway, but the idea that they had unlimited use and, indeed, the ego massage that they were a “developer” would tip a lot of people over the edge towards buying.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 26 August, 2009

      If you’re not making money from your site, $40 might sound like a lot. To be honest, for me, that’s like 12.5% of the income ONE ad generates on this blog. If you can’t make enough money with your blog to pay for a plugin like this, do you really need it?

  3. George Burley
    By George Burley on 26 August, 2009

    Really? Are you guys using the same free plugins as I am?

    cformsII and contact form 7 are bloody terrible. TERRIBLE. cformsII in particular makes me want to stab myself in the eye with an ice pick.

    I welcome any plugin that improves the user experience for something important like forms, even if that means paying for it. I haven’t used it yet, but from the looks of the plugin screenshots and video, i’d say they nailed it.

    It also seems to me they aren’t targeting casual users.

    If you are happy with the free solutions… don’t buy Gravity Forms. It’s pretty simple.

    • donnacha | WordSkill
      By donnacha | WordSkill on 26 August, 2009

      If, and it’s a big IF, Gravity Forms is genuinely better, wonderful, it would certainly be worth it for a site trying to do relatively complex things with forms, or a client site with a huge budget.

      Sadly, however, a glossy site and video does not necessarily mean that the product itself is good – we’ve seen this with premium themes, where it is easy to believe that something has more value simply because you are paying for it. In reality, a lot of premium themes turned out to be a terrible buy and, ironically, LESS supported than a true GPL situation where, at least, you have the benefit of lots of users, all with full access to the code.

      So, no, it is not “pretty simple”, it is in fact going to be pretty hard to figure out if the product is genuinely good or if the flurry of positive reviews is due to the generous affiliate commissions.

      One good point, from what I’ve read so far, is that it allows posts to be created directly from forms which is, of course, a killer feature for sites that need that functionality. In that situation, yes, absolutely worth it (although images cannot be uploaded as part of the form, a pretty major omission if you want to create posts from forms), but they are going to miss out on a lot of sales they could have made to people with less complex needs.

      • George Burley
        By George Burley on 26 August, 2009

        You seem pretty jaded. It’s a shame that you seem to be so negative about a product you haven’t even purchased. Personally, i’ll refrain from making any judgements on the plugin itself because I haven’t actually used it yet. I will simply say that the “free” solutions that are available are bloody awful.

        To me, the fact that Joost has chosen to use it for his own personal projects speaks volumes about the quality of this plugin.

        I don’t think an affiliate program for a plugin is going to sway his opinion. I have more respect for him than to throw around accusations such as that.

        As for “true” GPL… please. Nowhere in the GPL does it say the developer has to make his code available for free download. This is a misconception that needs to stop.

        I think i’ll take my GPL advice from the source, not someone commenting on the internets about it.

      • Carl Hancock
        By Carl Hancock on 31 August, 2009

        You were on the beta tester list and looking back at my correspondence with testers we began sending you the beta releases as they were made available starting with Version 0.6.4 at the beginning of July on up to the release candidate. Did you not put it to use?

        • donnacha | WordSkill
          By donnacha | WordSkill on 31 August, 2009

          Yes, I installed the beta and took a look at it, what on Earth does that have to do with the points I’ve made about paying for something not necessarily being a guarantee that it will continue to evolve and be supported in the long-run? What does being on the beta have to do with my views and suggestions on your pricing? What does being on the beta have to with my with my warning that affiliate kick-backs skews the reception that the blogosphere gives to a new product?

          I stopped responding to George Burley when it became clear that he was just trolling, but are you, the developer, now going to play his little game of pretending that it is somehow not valid for anyone to discuss your product in anything other than fawning language?

          At no point have I said that your plugin is bad, or that the free versions were better, that was merely implied by George Burley’s nutty little rant. I merely responded to the first poster’s comment about all the people pushing your product. Then I agreed with a comment suggesting the pricing was pitched a little high (and, yeah, from conversations I’ve had since then, $200 is the sticking point for a lot of developers). Then I made a comment on differences between premium and Open Source generally, and even finished by mentioning what I saw as your product’s “killer feature”.

          If George Burley chose to interpret all that as me slamming the plugin itself and saying that the free options are better, well, that is his own deranged business, I am no more responsible for what he says than I am responsible for a schizophrenic shitting on a police car.

          Being in on the beta gave me a preview of the plugin itself and, as it happens, your plugin is good and I have made suggestions, that you have responded to, on your forum. Being on the beta does not, however, remove my rights to free speech, don’t try to spin it that way.

          • Carl Hancock
            By Carl Hancock on 31 August, 2009

            Donnacha, I am in no way trying to sling mud or start a war of words.

            You made the comment that it remains to be seen if the plugin was good and that a glossy site and a video do not mean the product is good. You seem skeptical.

            I simply pointed out that you were provided with the plugin via the beta releases so you should know if the plugin is as good as advertised because you were privy to the beta releases. So since you have used it, i’m curious as to why you are displaying so much skepticism over the quality of the product. You should have an opinion based on hands on knowledge of the plugin as to it’s quality.

            You just said the plugin was good but you had issues with the pricing, fair enough. I’m glad you liked the plugin and i’m sorry you don’t like our pricing.

            Don’t attack me for comments made by others.

  4. Adam Taylor
    By Adam Taylor on 26 August, 2009

    I would feel a developer version, WITHOUT support, would surely be able to be priced cheaper, and would be more appealing to me at least. I don’t think I would pay $200…

    I can get the whole thesis theme for $150 or so.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 26 August, 2009

      “The whole thesis theme” though it’s a great product, has less functionality and backend work done than this plugin has. If this is not for you: fine. But this is not something you can easily replicate for a couple of hundred bucks, it has saved me, even while in beta testing mode, literally days of development on client projects.

    • George Burley
      By George Burley on 26 August, 2009

      Why would I want to buy a food processor when I can get an Xbox 360 instead?

      You are comparing apples to oranges.

      Thesis and Gravity Forms serve two very different purposes.

  5. jdk
    By jdk on 26 August, 2009

    Is it possible to call a JavaScript function when the form was submitted or to redirect the users to a special page? I did not find an answer for this on the page.

    • Carl Hancock
      By Carl Hancock on 27 August, 2009

      Yes, you have the option of displaying text or redirecting to a URL when the form is submitted.

      The submit button has an action hook on it so if you know how to use hooks you could use this to fire javascript when the form is submitted.

  6. David Bell
    By David Bell on 27 August, 2009

    Thanks for sharing this plug-in, exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’m happy to pay for this kind of functionality especially if it means the developers will keep supporting it and adding new features in the future.

  7. Wannes
    By Wannes on 27 August, 2009

    I think free alternatives (CForms, MM forms) can deal with a lot of needs for the amateur user. But when you want to go pro with the content and the audience of your website, you have to go pro with your gear too.
    Knowledge/Services do cost you money.

    If everything should be for free, how would anyone live?

  8. James Morrison
    By James Morrison on 31 August, 2009

    As a user of this plugin, I can fully justify the price considering the high level of features this plugin has but more for the amazing support Carl has offered.

    I’ve tried using “free” plugins which offered similar functionality but none have come anywhere near close to the features here, and have you tried getting support from the author??

    It’s like comparing the e-commerce and Shopp plugins – e-commerce is free but near impossible to use whereas Shopp has a dedicated support team willing to help at all hours.

    For those who are on the fence give it it try – have a look at these examples:

    @donnacha | WordSkill – you’ve judged a book by its cover – if you’re not willing to give it a try don’t knock it!

    • donnacha | WordSkill
      By donnacha | WordSkill on 1 September, 2009


      I wasn’t judging a book by it’s cover, I have used the plugin – it is good – but I was advising other people to be wary of the hype surrounding ANY plugin or theme that gives big kick-backs to WordPress bloggers. Affiliate commissions do not necessarily mean that a product is good or bad, but it is something that a smart consumer needs to be aware of, precisely because you want to avoid “judging a book by its cover”.

      What really counts is the extent to which the product continues to improve and be supported long after all the hype has died down. You have received good support from Carl and that is a promising sign, precisely the sort of thing I am talking about. Gravity Forms is a brand new product not one of the bloggers currently evangelizing it or any of the people who, like me, were on the beta, can actually predict how it will mature i.e. whether or not it is a good long-term investment.

      None of what I am saying should be considered controversial, it is just common sense, never invest time and money into a software product without doing proper research and, no, reading blog posts based upon a kick-back does not count as proper research.

      • James Morrison
        By James Morrison on 1 September, 2009

        I completely agree with you about hype surrounding new paid products and being sold a lemon – from your previous post I was under the impression you haven’t tried the plugin but had a negative opinion of it. Now I understand your perspective.

        Even if support suddenly dried up, the functionality of the plugin is exceptional and I could get by without Carl’s help for about 95% of what I require from it.

        I would happily recommend this to anyone needing advanced form functionality.

  9. donnacha | WordSkill
    By donnacha | WordSkill on 31 August, 2009


    I wasn’t attacking you, I was just exasperated that you seemed to have accepted someone else’s deliberate misinterpretation of what I’d said; there is a big difference between “it remains to be seen if the plugin is good” and what I suggested, which is that it remains to be seen if the product will be good in the long-term i.e. if it will continue to evolve and be supported for years to come. It doesn’t matter how good your plugin and your intentions are at the moment, there are certain things that only time will tell.

    I also stand by my assertion that “a glossy site and a video do not mean the product is good” – seriously, that is just common sense, not skepticism.

  10. realistdreamer
    By realistdreamer on 31 August, 2009

    I’m in need of this functionality in a current project.

    Looking at
    and as alternatives. Is this better or are these others failing in some way?

  11. Jeff Starr
    By Jeff Starr on 1 September, 2009

    I think the plugin is a good idea, but not necessary by any stretch.

    It won’t be long until someone releases something similar for free.

  12. NY Themes
    By NY Themes on 22 October, 2009

    I would like to say that Yoast is not kidding, if any of you guys are not using Gravity Forms, you are missing out on what might be the best commercial plugin out there.

    GF is worth getting because:

    * it will save you time making forms because it is so easy & intuitive (just drag and drop like widgets)
    * it will save you time because it works flawlessly
    * it comes with phenomenal support
    * you can make all kinds of cool forms not just contact forms
    * when you use GF, especially the first few times, it it will make you say WOW, this is so COOL
    * it might spark your imagination & creativity
    * it is very powerful but not overwhelming


    as a user of GF i recommend it to everyone and suggest you HURRY and grab it NOW,
    because i don’t won’t you to come back crying to me later on and asking why i didn’t tell you about it sooner.

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