Beyond Simple Contact Forms: Collecting Data with Gravity Forms
WordPress is a great web publishing system, but when it comes to collecting user data through a web-based form you’ll need to turn to a plugin to extend the core WP system. If you just need a simple contact form there are many good options to choose from, including CForms, Contact Form 7 and the Dagon Design Contact Form.
Frequently, though, you need more functionality than a simple contact form plugin provides. You might have more sophisticated data validation requirements, or maybe you want to allow users to upload files, or you might need to schedule your form to only accept submissions during a limited timeframe. While most competent web developers can easily create scripts to meet these requirements, let’s face it — it’s tedious work. Fortunately WordPress developers have a new power tool at their disposal: Gravity Forms.
Gravity Forms (affiliate link) makes the creation of complex data collection forms easy. Not only that, it also manages the submitted data for you.
In this tutorial I demonstrate the Gravity Forms plugin by creating a moderately complex job application form. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is.
If you just need a simple contact form, then Gravity Forms probably isn’t for you. It’s a premium plugin — that means you’ll have to pay for it. If, on the other hand, you have even slightly more advanced needs, then Gravity Forms will pay for itself in the time you save by not having to build custom data collection forms.