Today we are looking at a brand new form building plugin for WordPress, named CaptainForm it is currently in beta testing phase before the official launch goes ahead. It's created a by a development team from Romania and is aiming to take on the large form plugins currently available.
The plugin is free to download and use while in Beta till version 1.0 launches, if you would like to test the plugin out download it free here. They are also offering a 20% discount when the plugin launches in exchange for your feedback, there is a link in the plugin admin area to a form where you can submit this.
- Intuitive Editor - With drag-and-drop strength, CaptainForm lets you build web forms right within your WordPress form plugin dashboard.
- Form Templates - Choose from a gallery of 30+ free form templates. CaptainForm then enables you to customize them as you see fit.
- Easy Data Management - To CaptainForm, playing with submissions and creating reports and charts is a flight in the park.
- Advanced Security - One of CaptainForm’s powers is advanced security. SSL encryption, password protection or CAPTCHA, he’s got them.
- Smart Integrations - CaptainForm works with an ecosystem of app sidekicks. Add extra gadgets to your WordPress forms for more functionality.
Using The Plugin
After you have uploaded and activated the plugin its time to get started creating your first form, to do this, visit the "My Forms" link under the "CaptainForms" menu and you will see a button named "New Form"
After clicking that, on the next page you will see 8 different form types you can create, as follows:
- Contact and Lead Form
- Event Registration
- Order Form
- Quiz Form
- Poll Form
- Blank Form
- Other Form
The "Other Form" option contains a long list of many different types of forms to choose from:
Each of the form types has a "Preview" link which will load up an example for you to get an idea of what it looks like, here is what the "Quiz" preview form looks like:
If you choose a form type to start with, on the next screen you can begin customizing it. On the left hand side you will see your basic fields you can add, things like text box, text area, radio button and so on. The form preview is displayed in the center so you can see changes to it as you make them.
To edit an existing field, you simply click it and it will be highlighted in blue and then load up the field options to the right so you can make changes to it.
Above the form is a "Layout Options" button which will open and allow you to make some changes to the whole form, from here you can set the form alignment, widths and label placements.
There is also a "Preview" button which will load up the current form on a page of your live site so you can see how it looks.
Once you are done with your form fields, you can visit the "Settings" link where you have a whole host of things you can do with the form. You have a notifications tab which is where you define the email settings, Google Analytics, Footers and so on. The "Themes" tab allows you to pick from a number of design options, add custom CSS or just let your theme handle the styling.
The "3rd Party Apps" tab is where you can connect your form up to 21 ( currently ) different apps.
The Settings are also contains tabs for Payments, Security, Rules, Translations and an Advanced area.
Once you have finished with the settings, you should save the form and then visit the "Publish" link where you have 3 options for displaying the form on your site. You can place it with a shortcode, a widget or a function pasted directly into a theme file.
Once the plugin launches officially there will be 4 available plans to choose from. The free version allows you to create 3 forms with up to 15 fields and 100MB storage, the apprentice plan is $35 per year for unlimited forms and fields and 500MB storage, the master plan is $95 per year with 2GB storage and 20k submissions per month and the largest plan is called the Hero which includes 100k submissions and 10gb storage. This one costs $195 per year and also has support for WordPress multisite and payment processors.
There is a menu item named "My Account" in the CaptainForm menu where you can upgrade your plan at any time, view transactions and cancel your plan.
Support is provided via a page within the plugin itself, if you visit the "Support" menu link you will see a form where you can submit any problem directly to their support team - I like this feature, more premium plugins should include this I believe.
There is also a knowledge base on the site with a number of articles covering how to set up your forms, form styling, payment gateways and so on.
This feels like a sold plugin so far, its very easy to use and seems to have a large amount of features which don't feel overwhelming to a beginner user. The form creation process feels good to use - I would have preferred that they stuck more closely to the default WordPress UI though as there is a little inconsistency in the styling.
Considering this plugin is still in the beta stage, they have an impressive amount of app integrations already - most of the large mailing list providers are covered so you will have no problem using this to manage your subscribers.
One feature I really liked was the option to choose a form type to create, this is a really nice touch saving you having to start from a blank form each time and they seem to have covered every possible use for a form I can think of, having a starting point and then editing it for your specific needs should save you some time.
I did notice they place a link-back to their website on forms created, saying "WordPress Contact Form by Captain Form", I couldn't find an option to disable this so this could be a concern to someone using the free plugin as no one likes having links forced on them. This could also be a problem getting approval in the official WordPress Directory.
In conclusion, this is a solid start for the plugin - with a little polish it could be a viable alternative to the big form plugins out there - please remember this review is based on the beta plugin so it could change before the first official version goes live. Download it while it's in beta and try it out for yourself.