This is just a quick post to share with all of my fellow WordPress enthusiasts at WordCamp Birmingham today, some of the plugins that I talked about in my presentation just a few moments ago. I will give a more in depth report of the entire event after I have had time to fully absorb it all.

Not Your Usual Suspects

The first plugin that we talked about is the best, free contact forms plugin available. It’s easy to use, and offers more functionality than you can shake a stick at! CformsII

My friend, Mitch Canter got to first introduce Flutter to you, and then I was able to back it up with a more in depth way to put it into use. Don’t worry, a full blog post is coming soon that will cover each step to use Flutter for our coveted “post types” we requested from Matt during the lunch keynote. Flutter

Finally I was able to zoom through an awesome plugin that lets you build custom Google maps right from your write post/page in the WordPress dashboard and then insert those maps with a simple click of a button with flawless integration into the published post/page. It even gives you the ability to search for directions right on the same page, without having to leave your website. MapPress

In case you’re interested, the website I was referring to a lot isn’t in my portfolio yet since we literally launched it live just this past week. It is Pasadena Symphony & Pops.

Thanks all for listening! Be sure to subscribe to my blog with the links int he sidebar so you can be sure to see more about these plugins and about WordPress. You can also follow me on twitter: there is a link in the footer and at the top of my site.

14 thoughts on "Plugins to Die For"

  1. George Burley says:

    Why would anyone still use cforms when you could use Gravity Forms? And don’t say because it’s free… if you are using WordPress for business then at some point you need to pay for quality instead of settling for free. I prefer not to settle.

  2. George Burley says:

    Yea, i’m a WordPress fan. There are plenty of good free plugins and themes, but plenty of commercial plugins and themes also that are far better than the free options. Gravity Forms is one of them.

    The demo is lacking, but I guess they are kinda stuck… if they open up the WordPress install the demo is on to unlimited access to do everything there would be problems because people can’t play nicely.

    I’m actually surprised they were able to do what they have done with the demo, it looks like they had to do custom code to do what it is doing without giving you access to the entire WordPress admin.

    What do you need your forms to do that you aren’t sure Gravity Forms can do vs. cforms?

  3. Steve says:

    @ George Burley

    Actually you raise an interesting point although I tend to agree with Tammy that their demo is lacking and quite frankly seems to be not as powerful as cforms based on the features they present.

    Since you have the knowledge of GF, can you let us know what GF has that cforms doesn’t? I’d really be interested to know more about it from someone who has experience using it in a business environment.

  4. George Burley says:

    @Tammy Sorry for the delay in responding. Here is what I know about Gravity Forms and your questions about features…

    Yes Gravity Forms Does This…

    pre-submit info from one form on one page to a new form on a new page
    use a text link like

  5. tammyhart says:

    There’s no doubt that Gravity Forms is a great tool, and ppl should definitely be using it, I just haven’t had a chance to write in the cost to any of my projects yet. I’m glad to hear that it does a lot of what I need. Alternative actions are a big one for me, though.

    As far as being in touch with the developer, Oliver and I email often. In fact, he’s even agreed to do some custom work for me for a client, that is presently flaked out. He is just a one man show, but he’s honest about that. Generally, if I need some new cool functionality, his answer is “You can already do that…” and then he shows me how. The community isn’t eally one, most of the time it’s ppl whining about their problems, and Oliver showing them which other forum topic to go to for help, or helping them directly. He’s never not answered me, not sure about other experiences.

    I also have a propensity for rooting for the underdog. In the case, it’s a win win, because I love what cforms does for me, and that it does it for free.

  6. George Burley says:

    Good to know Oliver provides good support. He seems like a nice guy. I just know that he’s mentioned several times that he isn’t really a programmer and was taken by surprise at the success of cforms.

    So for me, i’d rather put my trust in a company that has more of a roadmap and a vision for where things are going and who I am confident will still be around down the road. Because if you are using these plugins for client work, you better be sure the support will be available because the client is going to be looking at you for help… they aren’t going to care that the guy who made the plugin isn’t available anymore.

    Underdog? LOL cforms isn’t the underdog. cforms is at version 11? With probably hundreds of thousands of downloads? cforms is the top dog, not the underdog.

    One thing to keep in mind is Gravity Forms is at version 1.1 so they are just getting started.

  7. tammyhart says:

    What I mean by underdog is that they are contested a LOT. Even Matt Mullenweg himself asked me to stop using cforms. He told me to use Contact Forms 7, which doesn’t compare by any stretch of the imagination.

    I appreciate your advice, but when it comes to a client that just wants to receive an email message from his site, cforms does that, and it’s one less thing they have to pay for. For the more complex things, I might consider GF the next time around.

  8. George Burley says:

    Sad to see Matt pushing his own agenda once again. He has a habit of doing that just because he has a beef with the developer and how they do business, or how they license things.

    Matt doesn’t understand that users don’t really care about licensing, etc. They don’t care if a plugin is GPL or not. What they care about is FEATURES, SUPPORT and STABILITY.

    I’m not going to use an inferior plugin just because Matt likes it.

    Good for you for sticking to your guns and using cforms instead of Contact Form 7.

    1. tammyhart says:

      because it’s free 🙂

      No seriously, I predicated my presentation with something like “Gravity Forms looks cool, I haven’t had a chance to really use it yet, it does cost, so the perfect free plugin is…”

      cForms has never not worked for one of the many different things I’ve needed it to do. The demo GF gives you is so lacking, I can’t really tell if it will do everything I need or not. Just because something has a fancy ajax UI doesn’t mean the functionality is better.

      I have also heard ppl that market or promote non Open Source CMS platforms say the same hing about “paying for quality”, but you seem to be a WordPress fan to me.

  9. Steve says:

    The one thing I really enjoy about cforms is the ease with which I can deploy the same form across a number of product pages and I’ll know exactly which page it came from. Contact form 7 couldn’t do that (or if it can the number of questions requesting it that are going unanswered are astonishing) .

    Unfortunately got GF, as I see it, is that right now they are not demonstrating the capability to do anything that can’t be done by cforms. I can’t speak for support because I’ve installed cforms on 20 sites and never needed to ask a support question – the interface is easy and just works.
    GF probably just needs more folks out in the marketplace using it in ways that will showcase the capabilities it has that free versions don’t.

  10. George Burley says:

    @Scott You can easily deploy a form using Gravity Forms on any post/page you want using shortcode or function calls. It also logs which page/post the form was submitted on with the submission data. So yes it does that.

    Last I checked cforms can’t create posts from form submissions. That is one feature that Gravity Forms does and does very well. You can easily create posts from form submission data, including post images and custom fields. Perfect for user submitted articles.

    The UI for Gravity Forms is also much better. Cforms is clunky. Gravity Forms has an intuitive user interface that is consistent with the rest of WordPress so when doing client work it is easier for the client to pick up and learn because the interface is similar to how you manage posts and pages. There is no comparison between the two when it comes to UI.

    Gravity Forms also has easier automatic upgrades. Despite the fact it isn’t hosted int he repository (like cforms) you can still upgrade automatically like you would with other plugins from the repository. Cforms doesn’t do this and requires manual upgrades by uploading files, etc.

    1. tammyhart says:

      >

      • Multi page forms
      • alternative actions
      • custom item id’s
      • pre-submit info from one form on one page to a new form on a new page
      • use a text link like “Email Joe Blow” from one page to take the user to a page where “Joe Blow” is already selected as the recipient
      • multiple recipients
      • hihglight required fields when i try to submit without filling them out
      • hide form with a thank you after it is submitted
      • limit submissions
      • have a start and end date
      • optional redirect to another page
      • custom captcha image settings
  11. I’ll say that Tammy has some very valid points about cforms and it is probably the most widely used forms plugin around. I’ve used cforms as well as Contact Form 7 and both have their uses depending on what you need them for. If it’s something more advanced def go with cforms. If it’s more simple Contact Form 7. This is based off of my personal exp using both of these. GF i’ve never checked out at all so I can’t comment on that one. Kudos on a great article Tammy.

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