Formidable Pro is a plugin that really boosts productivity

Formidable Pro Plugin for WordPressCredit: Javrsmith

The WordPress content management system is great at organizing information into pages and posts on Internet web sites. Unfortunately, the system is not very good at interacting with site visitors. It does support the entry of user comments but little else. If a WordPress administrator wants additional functionality developed, such as a user survey form, the standard WordPress system needs a lot of customizing.

The Formidable Pro plugin is available which adds HTML form building support to the standard WordPress system. The site administrator is given a form editor that allows standard HTML elements, such as text entry, to a newly created HTML form. In addition to text entry fields, Formidable Pro supports 22 other input types. With these, most any form can be created based on the needs of the administrator. Amazingly, the forms are created automatically, without any programming effort on the part of the WordPress administrator. This is quite an advance over other form building efforts in WordPress.

HTML forms have been around for years but they have always required substantial amounts of hand crafted programming, especially when used with WordPress. The administrator would have to create an HTML file with codes to establish the form. To this, various input fields would be added. Radio buttons, check boxes and many more types are supported by HTML. Each of these require specialized commands to be included in the HTML file. By itself, the HTML file is not very capable, either. There is no HTML support of storing the user input in a database. HTML cannot spell check any entries nor validate data. For these functions, additional programs, written in languages like PHP or JavaScript, are required. To use these HTML forms with standard WordPress, the site administrator needs to understand modern program modularity techniques. It can be done but it takes a lot of labor.

Contrast the standard form development process using HTML, PHP and JavaScript with form creation with Formidable Pro. The WordPress site administrator creates a form in the builder tool. The form is given a name. Input fields for text, select boxes and more, are added to the form. Special options, like automatic email support, is added to the form with simple clicks of options. Complete forms are built using Formidable Pro in seconds or minutes, not hours like in years past.

The Formidable Pro plugin for WordPress takes the great content management site and greatly expands its functionality with easy to implement user interaction forms. Where WordPress was previously only able to request simple comments from the site visitors, Formidable Pro allows the creation of any type of input form. Now user surveys can be developed in minutes by site administrators, without any programming. Advanced status report forms can be created as well. There is literally no end of form creation options given to the WordPress site by the Formidable Pro plugin.

After a WordPress site administrator gains familiarity with Formidable Pro, they will find many uses of the form building tool. In addition, free add on elements are available to further extend functionality. Automatic user registration, PayPal interfaces and custom email list handling can be attached to WordPress with the Formidable Pro plugin.

Since Formidable Pro is a WordPress plugin, any site administrator wishing to use the custom HTML form building features must have a working WordPress site. Formidable Pro is installed from the plugin menu on the site dashboard. Forms are then built using an editor available from the WordPress dashboard. 

Formidable Pro comes with a "Contact Us" template in both the free and premium versions. This template allows standard contact forms to be built in seconds. Viewers enter their name, email address and any comments that they wish to record. The template includes a CAPTCHA anti-spam block which helps reduce problem comments. Responses are stored in a database but they can be emailed automatically as well.

The premium site license version of Formidable Pro adds several additional template types. These help in the quick creation of problem response forms, real estate listings and more. While these are very helpful for WordPress administrators who want to create such forms, they also serve a valuable educational benefit. Each of the forms created with the template can be examined to show how they are established. The knowledge gained can easily be applied to other forms required by the site.

Templates may also be created by the WordPress administrator as well. Once a Formidable Pro form has been developed, that form may be used to create a custom template. Future forms can then be created based on this form. As usual, this type of automation saves the WordPress administrator a great deal of time and is implemented without the need for custom programming. Templates can even be transferred from one site to another. This allows administrators to build test versions and promote them to production systems when they are ready.

A comparison of HTML form building on a WordPress site recently found the following time estimates to build a working customer lead generation form, one with Formidable Pro and one with custom programming:

Task Description

Development Effort with
Formidable Pro

Development Effort with
Custom Programming

Build a new form 5 minutes 30 minutes
Customize the form 5 minutes 10 minutes
Store Responses
in a database
n/a 1 hour
Email responses n/a 5 minutes
Incorporate minor
form changes
5 minutes 15 minutes
Incorporate major
form changes
5 minutes 1 hour
Use reference
database tables
5 minutes 45 minutes

While many of the programming times are actually difficult to estimate, the overall picture is clear: Formidable Pro saves a great deal of time when administrators create HTML forms on the WordPress platform. The actual time savings with Formidable Pro is likely significantly better when you consider that errors are much less likely with Formidable Pro compared to custom programming.

WordPress is a great content management system but it is not a great user interaction system. Not without the Formidable Pro plugin, that is. Formidable Pro takes standard WordPress and extends the functionality, making created sites extremely capable of fully interacting with site visitors.