Sooner or later, anyone who works on a WordPress site will ask the question, "What do I do to create a form?" Okay, maybe not everyone, but more likely than not, whether you are building a WordPress site for yourself or a paying customer, you'll have a need at the very least for a contact form.
Building forms is not something you can do natively in WordPress. You could go the root of coding something completely in PHP, but the amount of effort that requires is enormous. Then there's the plugin root. There are quite a few plugins out there that add a simple contact form to a website. A favorite of many I read of in various forums is Contact Form 7. I've tried it. I don't like it.
Last year I ended up purchasing a developers license for Gravity Forms. Gravity Forms is a robust form building tool. A developer's license allows you to use the tool on any website you build for your customers. What I didn't know at the time I purchased Gravity Forms is that their licenses expire after 1 year and you have to pay more to renew them annually. Not even Microsoft does that. I realize everyone has to make a buck, but a company that charges customers over and over for point releases is not a company with whom I want to continue to do business.
After my customers started asking about the persistent Gravity Forms "Your license has expired" nag screen, I decided to switch to a different tool. I tried CForms II. It's robust, but probably a little more complex than I like. Also, support for the tool seems dubious to me. The website from which you download it is all about food, Delicious Days. I don't know about you, but I don't think I want to use a plugin on my website that was built by Chef Gordon Ramsay. He may be good in the kitchen, but I don't trust him with php and MySQL.
Then I stumbled across another tool I had never heard of before called Formidable Pro. Formidable Pro is the brain child of Steve and Stephanie Wells, the owners of Strategy 11 Web and graphic design. Their website describes Stephanie as:
...a Software Architect and the genius programer who engineers all our back-end functionality to make state-of-the-art web applications do just about anything.
What Stephanie has done with Formidable Pro truly is genius; and her support is nothing short of excellent. Their claim that Formidable Pro makes it easy to build any kind of form in just seconds is the absolute truth. I have two examples of contact forms that I built and deployed in literally less than five minutes. The first is for the North Carolina Executive Roundtable. This form includes a hidden expandable area for optional information. The second is the simple contact form I use on this website and all websites that I own.
What I like most about Formidable Pro's functionality is the fact that it's easy to display the content captured with your forms through the use of custom displays. You do have to know how to code in HTML a little to create a custom display, but it really is easy. Using Formidable Pro, I replaced an old badly behaving guestbook plugin on my family's website. Not only does it capture the data and send me an email when someone submits an entry, but I also built in the ability to approve the entry before displaying it and use a custom display to show the guestbook entries under the form. My next post is a tutorial to show you how easy it is to build such a form with a custom display.
Formidable Pro is available at http://formidableforms.com/