There are plenty of businesses and web developers out there who have the need to showcase a certain type of directory listing on their sites. Be it to show all the cars on a car dealer’s website, or to list job posts, or even to just display your forms’ entries in a simple table style, you will need a plugin that can make it easy and efficient.
GravityView does just that. GravityView is a plugin developed by Zack Katz at Katz Web Services, the developer behind the original Gravity Forms Directory add-on plugin. After deciding to improve on his directory plugin, he came up with this – an easier to use and more powerful version.
Now, for all those who use the directory plugin and are worried about switching over, don’t be. Your form entries will work on GravityView as they did on the directory plugin, just better. Below I’ll be going over the main features of the plugin, discussing the premium extensions available, and giving an overview of my short experience with GravityView.
Given that, in all honesty, I haven’t been around WordPress as perhaps many of you out there have, the ease with which I got to grips with this plugin was quite pleasing. Besides having an easy to understand and easy to use interface on the WP dashboard, its ability to guide you from the first step is something I found really helpful.
Before getting started, it’s important to note that GravityView only works with Gravity Forms installed. This should be obvious to most people familiar with WordPress, but for any beginners out there, it is important to understand this before purchasing the plugin. Both plugins are premium plugins, meaning they come at a cost, but trust me when I say that they are worth the investment. The countless raving reviews they both have are testament to this.
The installation of GravityView is as easy as you’d expect it to be. Once you download the .zip plugin file, you just visit the plugins link in the admin menu, Add New and Upload the file from your computer. Once you’ve hit install and activate, the new menu item Views will appear on your sidebar.
You’re welcomed by a message encouraging you to get started on your first view. If you have any existing forms that you wish to add views to, you can do so with ease. However, you don’t necessarily have to create a form to start creating a view. GravityView will do that for you.
Once you get started, you’re asked whether you want to Start Fresh, or use an existing form. Starting fresh will create the form for you itself, which you can find in the Forms section of Gravity Forms. And to top it off, it even guides you to what type of layout you will need for your view.
You’re given a choice of View Types, each focusing on different listing types. As you can see from the screenshot above, as you move your cursor over each option, you have a select button as well as a link icon in the top right corner. What this does is it takes you to a demo version on the plugin’s website for that particular type. This helps give you an idea of what you can create with each and every option without having to personally try out every single one for yourself.
Should you already have an existing form, you can select it from the drop down menu. Once selected, and before you start to edit the view, you’re given another choice. This is the choice between a Table View or a Listing View. The choice is all yours, but should you select a listing view, and later decide you’d like to change that to a table view, be aware that you will be given a warning that you’ll have to reset your field configuration, and saving the view will make all changes permanent.
Building your Views
Once you’ve selected everything I’ve mentioned, it’s time to work on the layout of your fields. Whichever type of view you select, or even if you start one from scratch, you have an extensive amount of options. As soon as you start, you’re given a layout with the configuration of your view.
Within this configuration window you have two tabs: Multiple Entries and Single Entry. Multiple entries is the layout that will show on the frontend for the entire listing, while single entry is what will be visible when a particular listing is selected and opened in a new window.
The main difference between the two is that in the single entry you have the option of additional information. For example, if I were to create a job listing, the multiple entries will show a basic description of each job, while each single entry will have further detail about pay, location, requirements, etc. Multiple entries also has widget areas above and below the entries fields. These can be used to add pagination information, page links, or a search bar.
Finally, the right sidebar has some basic settings for you to play around with, including the number of entries per page, lightbox for images, and others. Under the Publish tab you’re given the shortcode for your view which you can embed in any post or page. However it’s not necessary to stay copying this, because on your Posts and Pages tabs, right next to the Add Media button, you’re given the Add Form and Add View options. Just click, select your desired option, and it’s there.
Some other nifty features in GravityView include the possibility of User Edit, whereby a logged in user is given the ability to edit his/her entry that they had previously created. A very useful feature in case a user makes a mistake or his/her details change in any way.
Another little detail is the ability to change the title of the page when switching between multiple and single entry views. It’s not something you might consider overly important, but GravityViews has given you the option right there on its UI.
Below is a simple view I created with a very basic form for job-seekers to post their contact details and a short bio. It took me all of a few minutes to create, yet it does the job and looks good doing it.
Included in the Interstellar or Galactic Licenses you will find some premium extensions that do various tasks.
First of all there’s the Advanced Filtering extension. It controls what entries are displayed in a View, depending on the values of the form entries. Basically it works like Conditional Logic does in Gravity Forms, whereby you can show only those entries that were created by a particular logged-in user, or entries that match a search value, or more. The amount of conditions you use is completely up to you.
Secondly, you have DataTables. GravityView has deeply integrated with DataTables, whereby you can use its script to work with your tabular data; browsing, sorting and filtering entries on the go with live updates. You’d have support for DataTables extensions such as Scroller, TableTools, FixedHeader and FixedColumns.
Lastly is the Visual Composer extension. You will have the ability to ember GravityView using the popular Visual Composer plugin. A GravityView element will simply show up in Visual Composer and you can add and configure it as you’d like.
These are the three features currently available, however they won’t be the last. The extensions page on GravityView’s site shows at least five other extensions that are currently in development, namely Featured Entries, A-Z Entry Filter, Social Sharing, Schema.org Markup, and Ratings & Reviews.
There is also one more called Premium Maps View, that will only be available with a Galactic License, and will basically allow you to display entries in a “listing + map View”. Similar to what you can find on Yelp.com, your entries will be displayed as “pins” on a map.
Prices for the GravityView plugin are split into three packages: Sol, Interstellar and Galactic. With Sol, the one site license, you will not have any extensions available, nor Premium Views, however you will have one year of support and updates.
Interstellar is the middle-ground license, offering all extensions and the one year support and updates, but with Premium Views sold separately.
Galactic is the most expensive and hence most inclusive license, including all extensions and all premium views, besides the year’s support and updates.
All licenses come with a 30 day refund policy, so if you’re unhappy with the plugin, the developers have given you that option too. Upgrading from one pricing plan to another is also possible, with the price of the license you purchased being deducted from the total price; fair enough.
I must remind you that in order to actually use GravityView, you must also have Gravity Forms installed. As the developers at GravityView themselves put it: “No Gravity Forms? GravityView does nothing. With GravityViews? Beautiful things happen.” Before making your choice of purchasing, you can visit the demo site and check it our for yourself.
Opinions & Recommendations
Having installed and used GravityView for the first time just a couple of days ago, I can assure you it’s as easy to use as they say it is. Just a simple user interface that does exactly what it says on the box, and it does it well. You can get to grips with it very quickly and get the most out of it for your site without having to obtain any coding skills beforehand. The great reviews I found for it have been spot on.
Yes, it does come at a price, and it might not be the cheapest plugin you will purchase (besides purchasing Gravity Forms first, or course), however it’s worth the money if you need a good, reliable plugin to do what GravityView does. It’s seamless integration with Gravity Forms, even though both are created by separate companies, is a major plus point. Don’t hesitate to give the demo a go, at the very least, and check it out for yourself.