Transcript of Episode 214 WP Plugins A to Z Gravity Forms PDFs, Front End Tools, Disk Space Usage, Form Signatures, Media Library Exports and Auto Post Loader

All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #214 here.

It’s episode 214 and we’ve got plugins for Gravity Forms PDFs, Front End Tools, Disk Space Usage, Form Signatures, Media Library Exports and a neat new Auto Post Loader. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Episode #214

John:                All right, the first plugin I’ve got this week is called User Front End.  This one here is a great plugin that is an easy way to help keep users out of the admin area of your website.  What it’s great for works is it with any theme on your website and it creates a specific profile page for your site that users, unless they have admin access, will be directed to.  This way, they’ll never see the back end of WordPress websites.

I know even still when I sign up with different websites that use WordPress by themes and other things, I still end up sometimes into a pseudo-admin back end, which is the user admin back end, which is always easy for me to understand.  But I find a lot of users don’t always comprehend that when they get back there.  They need to be kept inside the theme itself for all of their profile updates etc., and that’s what this plugin does.  It’s the simplest way I have found in quite a while to make that process for you.  So check it out, it’s called User Front End; keep them out of the back end of your site, and I gave it a rating of 4 Dragons.

Marcus:           Very nice!  Yes, that is something I am definitely going to try out for a site that I have that has a number of different back end users that I’d love to keep as front end users.  You don’t actually want them to get backstage, so a very nice plugin.

Now John, I’m gonna start things off here with something that I know you’re trying out as well, so I’m looking forward to your review probably next episode.  This one is called Disk Usage Sunburst, and this is a very interesting plugin.  It shows all the files of your WordPress installation all at once in a cool Sunburst chart format; a bunch of different curves and arcs and things that go around a central circle.

Each arc within the content is designated as either a directory or a file and all you have to do is hover your mouse over one of those arcs and each one of those represents a file.  So you can see the entire size of the file or directory within your site.  Obviously, the bigger that the arc is, the larger the file or the directory is, so it’s a good, useful tool in determining which are the largest files and directories within your website, all in one place.  Very handy tool, very well put together, and I gave this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, it’s a very nice plugin and I do have a review for it, which will be coming next episode.  It’s always kind of funny how great minds always think alike and end up with the same plugins.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                But yeah, it’s a really great one.  I’ll discuss my review on it in the next episode.  But yeah, check it out.  It is very useful.

Marcus:           Great.

John:                All right, the next one I’ve got here, this one came about due to some research and from a client who recently came to me through the show.  Thank you out there, you know who I’m talking to.  This one here is called Gravity PDF.  Now one of the things that I was looking for here was the best way to generate PDF files from your Gravity Forms and have them submitted via email to both admin and to the user after they have filled in the form.  I know you get the usual email, but sometimes it’s better to have a PDF because you can then organize that documentation into an electronic filing system.

This one — I tried out several others before I remembered, oh yeah, Gravity Forms has add-ons for someone like me who has purchased the advanced license, and one of them is the Gravity PDF add-on.  Hold up — this is a different add-on.  My brain is slipping into Never-Never Land.  Don’t worry about it.  This is a separate plugin produced by Blue Liquid Designs.  I’m sorry.

Anyway, this plugin here was the easiest of the PDF plugins that I used.  One of the things it does is it allows you to have the PDF emailed using the standard form that is filled out from Gravity Forms as the submission.  It’ll email that as a PDF for you, or you can go in and create a customized template and insert specific fields from your Gravity Forms into that customized template.  That takes a little bit more work, but the basics of it were quite simple and you can connect it all up and then have it emailed out to both the administrator and/or the user.  And you can also determine specifically which forms get mailed where.

You have to do a little bit of work.  It does require a little bit of going into and tweaking in the functions file for the plugin, but it’s not that hard and they have some really good instructions on their website on how to do that.  So all in all, it was the best PDF creator and sender that I used.  Check it out — it’s called Gravity PDF and I had to give this one a top 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Interesting.  And is this a paid plugin or is it free?

John:                No, this is a free one out of the WordPress repository.

Marcus:           Oh!

John:                I believe they had a paid version but I didn’t test that.

Marcus:           Hmm…very nice.  Very nice.  All right, this is a very handy plugin — the next one I’ve got here.  It’s called Download Media Library and plain and simple, this plugin lets you download your entire media library as a zip file.  So your options allow you to designate to download via post type, post name, media type, file extension, or all of the above.  And really all you do is go into the plugin, you designate what you’d like to download.

If you want to download say, all your image files in one zip file, this lets you do it, instead of just one at a time or trying to find them within your uploads directory in the content area.  So this is very nice.  It allows us to grab everything all at once.  Really helpful when it comes to migrating sites or maybe you just want to copy and clone a site to somewhere else.  Or maybe you just want to have a backup of all of the images.  This one works quite well.  So it’s called Download Media Library and I gave this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Funny — that one there is a great plugin.  I was also prepping that one up for review on a future show, too.

Marcus:           Beat you to it.

John:                Yeah, that’s all right.  I’ll still bring it forward.  It’s always nice to get a second point of view.

Marcus:           That’s true.

John:                All right, the final one I’ve got here, this one here goes hand-in-hand with creating PDFs of your forms.  And one of the things that is becoming more and more commonplace today is electronic signing of documents.  I know that my office is about 98% paper-free and when people send me documentation that I’ve got to sign, I’ll convert it to a PDF and ship it to my iPad and sign it and send it back.

But one of the great things that Gravity Forms has — this is the thing I was confusing before — this is an add-on that is available from Gravity Forms.  It’s called Signature Add On and what it does is it’ll actually create a box in your form that people can use, either with their mouse or on a tablet device and use their finger and actually sign that form with a real signature.  And then it preserves that signature as a .gif file with the form and then it’ll convert it to a PDF and send it all as a unit for you, so you have it all gathered together.

This is a great way to get that official signature, have a legally binding contract, and it works like a hot damn great plugin.  Great add-on for Gravity Forms.  Check it out: Gravity Forms Signature, and I had to give this one again a top 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very good!  I like that and that’s something that I’ve seen through paid versions of Form Creator that usually goes onto Salesforce.  It’s called Echo Sign and it’s an Adobe product, and that isn’t cheap, so this is a good way to do it yourself without having to go through that external party as far as having someone sign it and accept your agreement.

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           Very nice, very nice.  All right, let’s end things off here with a bang.  This one is called Auto Load Next Post.  And what it does is as you are looking at one particular post, as you keep scrolling down the page, it’ll actually load the next post for you.  So what it does is it reads the post navigation in your theme and at the end of its post, it will collect the post URL.  With this it asks WordPress to do a partial content load and the Java script then places that content right underneath the parent post.

What’s cool is it also updates your web history in your browser, at least the site viewer.  It does this by manipulating the web address and the page title, so if you were to hit Refresh, you’ll actually be taken to the post you were viewing last, not the original post.  So you’ll find it when pressing the Previous button in your browser, it goes back to the previous post.  It doesn’t just scroll down forever in some infinite post thing and when you hit it back, it goes back to the very first post you were looking at.

That’s the key right there is that as they keep scrolling down, it actually counts as another page view on a totally separate page and it changes the address bar on top.

John:                Wow, that’s nice.

Marcus:           Yeah, so this is a pretty revolutionary post.  It’s something that would probably add to your site views and page views.  I am still testing this within Google Analytics, but thus far I have found that this is a fantastic plugin and I’ve rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                That’s got some serious potential to get people reading down through post after post and they don’t have to keep reloading the page.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                That’s very nice and especially if it’s tagging it as new fresh page views for your analytics.

Marcus:           It is.  Yep, it’s just a new way to I guess — it’s a clickless, click-free environment, as far as getting to the next or previous post.

John:                Very nice.  Well, I covered up in this episode the User Front End, which I gave a 4 to, the Gravity PDF, which I gave a 5 to, and the Gravity Forms Signature Add-on, which I gave a 5 to.

Marcus:           And I discussed Disk Usage Sunburst, which I gave a 4 out of 5, Download Media Library, also a 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Auto Load Next Post, which I gave a 5 out of 5.


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