I purchased Gravity Forms a month ago for one of my more recent sites. I’ve known about Gravity Forms for quite awhile but I never needed more than a simple contact form that the Contact7 plugin couldn’t handle for me. Since my latest endeavor was actually based around front end posting, I figured it was finally time to take the plunge and try it out.

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I felt pretty confident in ordering this plugin because over the years I’ve read more praise for Gravity Forms alone than nearly all other plugins and premium themes combined. More than a few times my questions in various WordPress related forums were answered with “Gravity Forms can do that”, so it’s clear that this plugin is the de facto standard for forms.

I have to agree that this plugin is the most advanced form plugin I’ve come across and within minutes I was publishing forms with options I never had at my disposal before. It reminded me a lot like the Thesis theme where there was a bunch of simple options for customizing things that a regular user can take advantage of without getting their hands dirty in any code.

Let me preface this next part with the fact that I enjoy both Gravity Forms and Thesis, but after a lot of frustration, I’ve come to the conclusion that they are  best suited for those well versed in css and php. I’ve realized that a lot of the endorsements I’ve read have been from web developers which makes sense now.

If you do not know or understand php or css, you will be severely handicapped in your customization’s unless you plan on using a lot of the defaults. This might sound harsh coming from someone who is digging Gravity Forms so far, but I really believe this to be true. Sure, there’s some documentation on the site, but even that’s written for the individual who has a background in code.

Thankfully Gravity Forms has a pretty decent support forum with mods that go the extra mile and will take you by the hand to help you customize the basic stuff a bit. I really enjoy forums that understand their user base is not full of coding masters and aren’t stingy with sharing their expertise to get you to your end goal (or at least close).

The caveat here is that without these helpful individuals often spelling out what you need to do, a non-programmer is going to be lost, and customization help is not guaranteed either. Luckily they seem very willing to help and I have never been ignored about any question or issue I’ve had, regardless of the topic.

As the title of this site indicates, I like to hack around so I don’t shy away from having to manipulate code to get an effect I want. If your a non-programming tinkerer like me, then the Gravity Forms challenge awaits. But if you don’t understand filters, hooks, query strings, and cascading style sheets  (I don’t) and don’t have any urge to learn (I do), then you may be in for a world of frustration, forever dependent on waiting for answers in a support forum.

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