Add Web Forms to WordPress

Use the Formidable Pro plugin

Formidable Pro Plugin for WordPressCredit: Javrsmith

The standard WordPress content management system is great at organizing pages and posts but it is fairly light on user interaction. Site viewers can read but they can't provide much feedback. There is a rudimentary commenting system built in but it has many limitations. Web forms coded in HTML can be added to the platform but they are cumbersome to use due to the large number of program lines involved. If you want the form data saved to a database, HTML needs to be coupled with extensive PHP programs or similarly complicated programming languages. WordPress administrators truly need help if they want to incorporate web forms into their sites. Luckily, Formidable Pro is available as a plugin that greatly enhanced WordPress by adding fully featured forms.

Formidable Pro is available as a free plugin that allows HTML forms to be created on WordPress sites with several HTML user input fields. Single lines of text, paragraphs, drop down select, radio buttons and CAPTCHA spam control can be used with this version. Administrators can build fairly sophisticated user interaction forms with these controls. In fact, the free version of Formidable Pro comes with a template that uses these input fields to build a user comment form in minutes, with no programming. The form is quickly built and added to a page or post anywhere within the WordPress site. The form asks for the user's name, email and comments. It also includes a CAPTCHA spam blocking question. This is quite an amazing feature to include, more so when you consider that this user comment block is totally free.

Consider what is involved in web form programming on WordPress without the Formidable Pro plugin. In order to match functionality of even the free version, the following features would have to be implemented with the indicated technology:

  • Single line of text: HTML input field
  • Multiple lines of text: HTML paragraph input
  • Select an entry from a list: HTML drop down select
  • Select one of a number of items: HTML radio button select
  • Set a yes/no option: HTML check box
  • Prevent spam entries: Add CAPTCHA interface

All of the above are easily used with Formidable Pro. Without this plugin, the WordPress administrator would have to spend a great deal of time, likely hours, hand crafting the necessary HTML code. But that's not all. Formidable Pro also stores user entries in a database. It also emails the responses, (if desired), to the site administrator, provides a template for ease of form creation and much more. Quite simply, the amount of work performed on the behalf of the WordPress administrator is astounding. All of the required HTML functionality can be implemented in minutes, without any coding.

Now while the free version of the Formidable Pro plugin installs an impressive number of features on the WordPress platform, the site license version triples the utility's functionality. In addition to the free features, this version gives the site the ability to automatically validate user entries, again without any programming. The entry of numbers, dates, times and more can be specified. Imagine building a web form that asks for a phone number from a visitor and that's all the can be entered into the field? In the traditional world of programming, such validation of user entries would entail the writing of quite a lot of lines of code. With Formidable Pro, one click and the validation is done.

Data field validation has always been something of a problem for web programmers. HTML doesn't contain any features to handle it. That meant that web forms needed to be supplemented with additional programs that could handle validation. Code written in PHP or JavaScript was often required. These languages do have features available that help validate data. A small program would take the data supplied by the HTML form and check it. If the data was supposed to be a number, a numeric check was performed. If the data was supposed to be a date, time or other value, different checks would be applied. Failed checks caused the data to be rejected and a message displayed to the user's browser. For a large number of fields on a form, there could be many checks, each requiring similar, but slightly different, program codes to review the data. With the Formidable Pro plugin installed on a WordPress site, data checks require no programming.

Programmers know that data validation is a necessary part of many HTML forms. They also know that it must be implemented in PHP or JavaScript, normally. The many data checks must be organized and prioritized. Small errors can accidentally be introduced in the validation checks. These must be found and corrected or the operation of the form could be adversely affected. These are complicated steps that have accompanied HTML forms from the beginning of the Internet. Formidable Pro corrects the problem.

Another impressive feature available with the premium is the ability to validate data based on table entries. This enables a form to ask a viewer for their state of residence, for example. Rather than allow the person to enter the data by hand, Formidable Pro allows the WordPress administrator to display the states in a drop down list. The viewer simply selects their state from the list. No errors can be introduced into the form by the viewers and it is quicker as well. Ordinarily, of course, such drop down lists, populated from database tables, would require a great deal of programming, none of which could be performed with simple HTML. Rather, more PHP or JavaScript code would be required. With Formidable Pro, no coding is required to implement this very helpful feature into an HTML form. The time it takes with Formidable Pro is mere minutes. With PHP or JavaScript, hours. Many hours if the programmer accidentally introduces subtle coding errors. Additionally, the programmer would need to define the required database tables using PHPAdmin and lookup queries using SQL. These steps are performed automatically by the premium site license version of Formidable Pro.

WordPress and Formidable Pro form builderCredit: Javrsmith

As WordPress administrators will quickly notice, the Formidable Pro plugin saves them time when they want to implement HTML forms. Even a simple user comment form built by Formidable Pro will save the administrator more than a little time. When the full suite of features is applied by WordPress administrator, they will find that countless hours of difficult coding is saved, in favor of greatly increased productivity. Formidable Pro is a great WordPress plugin.