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 this weeks plugins that have been reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #461 here.
It’s Episode 461 with plugins for Merging form data to PDF.s, Controlling your World, Exporting to PDF, Stopping the XML-RPC and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, well, first off, we have ClassicPress options. Are you still with me, Marcus?
Marcus: I sure am. Thank you.
John: Excellent. So before I dive into that, let me ask you a quick question, what is your opinion on ClassicPress and what do you think about it? Because I’ve been covering ClassicPress since – well, god, I guess it’s been almost over a year now I’ve been adding ClassicPress to it since they first came out.
Marcus: I love the idea that somebody took the initiative to fork WordPress. I think competition is critical in any arena. And I think something closer to WordPress in competition, you know, separate of Joomla and the other platforms, I think is necessary. With the change to Gutenberg, you know, it was definitely the right time in my opinion. We generally stay with both the ClassicPress and the traditional WordPress. And I’m all for competition. I own an insurance agency too. And I happen to be located in a place where there are four other insurance agencies, and you would think there would be too many in one spot, but it’s not. We end up selling a lot more being together like that.
John: Oh absolutely. I always like to ask because I’ve been covering it for a while, and my coverage of it goes up and down depending on the week. They’ve been moving forward nice and steadily. And I do have some information on ClassicPress this week; a couple of new items that I’ve picked up, and I’ve probably been sitting on for a while and I forgot I had them.
First off, what I’ve got is there is a ClassicPress migration plugin. And this, of course, has been around since the initiation of ClassicPress. It’s the plugin you use when you need to migrate out of WordPress. If you’re wanting to migrate out of WordPress nice and simple, you install this plugin, hit a few buttons, it converts the necessary files from WordPress over to ClassicPress. And if you plug into work with ClassicPress, you’re ready to go.
I remember seeing something that they added something to tell you if there were plugins that they thought might not work because they are starting to hit that fork in the road where plugins that work with WordPress don’t work with ClassicPress. And that’s because ClassicPress is still compatible only with WordPress version 4.9 or below. 5 and above, if a website or a plugin only supports WordPress 5 or better, it will not work with ClassicPress. So anyway, this is a nice little plugin. This is what I’ve used to convert a couple of sites. Go check it out. It’s a great little plugin.
Hey, the next one, I’ve got here for you, this is a ClassicPress specific plugin, and it is a fork of SEO or Rank Math SEO. Somebody forked it out, and this is a plugin that is supported by ClassicPress itself. And this is a really neat thing that’s happening. ClassicPress is slowly starting to build out more and more plugins. I’m using Rank Math on some of my sites now. I’ve been moving myself away from Yoast. And Rank Math I found to be a little bit better. If you haven’t used it and you’re looking to change, you might want to check this out or if you’re building something new, you might want to check this one out too.
So what else have I got in ClassicPress? Well, I discovered that this week here in ClassicPress, they have added three more plugins to the plugins built for the ClassicPress list. This is a list maintained over at the classicpress.net forms by Code Potent. It has gone from 52 to 55 plugins. Now, when I first started covering this, they only had 37. So it is moving forward, and that’s a positive note that more and more plugins are being developed. It will be a lot like I think WordPress was when they hit a critical mass is when it will suddenly leap forward. And that’s what they’re working towards right now.
So ClassicPress is still relevant and it still works very nicely. I have it actually running – the wppluginsatoz site is run fully on ClassicPress. So you can see a site that does actually use it. And again, like Marcus said, I’m stuck in both worlds and I probably will be for quite some time at least two or three more years, and then, I have to make a decision I think because they will separate pretty far apart in the next two or three years.
And that brings us up to the WordPress plugins, and we’re going to start this one with you, Marcus. You get to bring forward your first one.
Marcus: All right. PRO2PDF, I think is my first one.
Marcus: That is a fantastic plugin that I created going on six years now. I hope the bird in the background is not too loud.
John: We’ll live.
Marcus: Hold on, just – I created it about six years ago to facilitate doing more business in a small office with less people and more automated. It only worked with Formidable PRO, and it created dynamic PDF documents based on the input from the user in Formidable.
John: Okay. And so does it only work with Formidable at the moment or does it work with other Form plugins?
Marcus: PRO2PDF is limited to Formidable, and it won’t be breaking out of that confinement. We did create E2Pdf. It’s its subsidiary. It is an amazing plugin.
John: Okay, well, we’ll get to that one after a minute; that one still on the list. So let me ask you a quick question, like, I’ve never seen Formidable PRO2PDF probably because I don’t use Formidable Forms. For those who do, I know Formidable is a pretty popular form plugin. That’s way too many ‘forms’ in one sentence.
Marcus: It’s growing in popularity, definitely its ability to put out views much easier than many of the other plugins.
John: Yeah, okay. So it’s a great plugin, so of course, you wrote it, why not? Well, what ranking does it have – it has over at WordPress.org? It has 4.5 rankings, but I guess you can tag it right up to a 5-Dragon rating. Off you go.
John: There you go. You got a nice dragon roar for it.
John: All right, so it does look like an interesting plugin, and it does look like a great one to convert your forms to PDFs. You said it maps the different fields. How do you get in there and map them?
Marcus: Right, so there is a screen we call the Field Map Layout, and there are two ways to do it. You can either have it do it automatically, which is a really cool feature. If you name the PDF fields the same as the Formidable, either field name or field ID or the field key, then the plugin will – when you upload the PDF, the plugin will automatically map the fields.
Now, checkboxes and radio buttons are somewhat unique, so you have to kind of go in there and tweak those.
John: Oh, okay.
Marcus: But once the field map is created either automatically or manually just by going into the Field Map and hitting Next Field Map and you just select one field in the Formidable form, another field in the PDF form, and then, that maps it. And there are some options to format if you’ve got some numbers or want to capitalize on everything in the paid version. It’s a premium so it’s available in the WordPress plugin repository.
John: Excellent. Okay, folks, make sure you get out there and check this one out or if you’re using Formidable, this might be a plugin to help you out. Okay, so what I’ve got for you today is called Advanced Access Manager. And this one I discovered while doing a site audit for a client’s site checking them all out, it was a new client. And I always look to what plugins they got during the site audit and see, hey, which ones are kind of cool I can bring over to my show. And I’d never seen this one which kind of wish I had a long time ago.
What Advanced Access Manager does for you is it’s a pretty powerful tool that allows you to get in there and manage all aspects of access to your WordPress install. You can manage the access to the content for any role, individual user, visitors, define access to all post pages, custom post types, categories, custom taxonomies, and more. Almost all the tools they have available for this come with the free version of the plugin. The only tool I saw that was a premium version was to manage access via IP address.
There’re probably others that they have, but on the whole, the amount of the stuff that they give to you that is free with this plugin along with how they work hard to protect the privacy of this plugin by limiting its – it doesn’t give callbacks. It only accesses specific areas to manage and do the things, a really great looking plugin. If you’re looking for something to manage the access throughout your website that’s a not a membership system, this might be a plugin for you to look into. So go check out Advanced Access Manager, and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
John: There we go. All right, so let’s roll on into your next plugin you’ve got for us, Marcus. What is it?
Marcus: That is E2Pdf. Now, that is our star plugin. It does everything that PRO2PDF did with the Formidable Forms, but we’ve added in not only Formidable Forms, but Caldera Forms, Divi Contact Forms, Forminator, and Gravity Forms. Even the WordPress default fields are able to merge. We are just finishing up WooCommerce fields, and then, we’ll move on to all the rest of the plugins.
John: Very nice.
Marcus: It’s the most universal PDF plugin available for WordPress ever.
John: Nice. This is one that I’ll probably be checking out because I do use Gravity Forms.
Marcus: But a lot of people don’t know – let me give you a tidbit. I don’t think anybody or a few people can find in there but haven’t figured out how to use it, you can upload a PDF to it and have your web form automatically generate.
Marcus: Yes, sir.
John: Oh man!
Marcus: And check this out. If you go into your PDF form – in my case, I was in insurance we have some that have – one of them has over 700 fields. And I went in and I put in the name that I wanted the field to be in Formidable, but you can also do it with Caldera and Gravity. But I put with the field names that I wanted it to be and I uploaded it. It took 2.7 seconds to create a web form with 700 fields.
John: Holy, now, there is a timesaver for you.
Marcus: There is no better timesaver. Now, it’s not full-proof. There is an issue with radio fields and dropdowns and checkboxes. You’ve got to go in there and individually name those options.
John: Even if you have to go through and do that, that’s still faster than creating every single field by hand.
Marcus: It’s phenomenal. And when there aren’t those factors, it’s instant.
John: Nice. Okay, now, you got me. I’m going to have to try this one on my next one. I’ll give that one a shot for sure. So of course, what you are going to rate this one at?
Marcus: Come on, this is a 5.
John: Yeah, it’s absolutely. There you go.
John: That’s definitely a 5-Dragon rating. All righty, yeah, okay, folks, and there is one that’s not only a great-looking plugin, but one that will save you time if you’re building forms from already preexisting PDF documents, and that happens a lot. I’ve had to do that a lot. Here is the document, I need a form, great, manually build it, but if you could import it, oh sweet. That would just save tons of time.
Marcus: More now than ever, with COVID, it’s people working from home and they need to do that. You know we’ve seen a triple in the usage of both PRO2PDF and E2Pdf. So the demand is high, but its usefulness is underused. People don’t realize it. We need to go out more I think with the help on that, but we’ll be working on that too.
John: Absolutely. All right, well, the next plugin I’ve got for you, the final one we’ve got for you here today, this is called Simple XML-RPC Disabler. This is a brand new plugin I discovered in the WordPress repository. For those of you out there that understand a bit of coding, disabling the XML-RPC is an important aspect on many WordPress websites. The XML-RPC is a security risk. Unless there is a specific reason that you need it for your website, it is always best to turn this off. And there’re not a lot of reasons that it is needed. And the vast majority of the websites don’t need XML-RPC.
Now, to get rid of XML-RPC is relatively straightforward if you understand a bit about code jumping into the wp-config and the htaccess. You got to dump a couple of lines of coding to disable it. Simple enough. But if you’re not comfortable with code or you’re just learning or you’re new, it’s easy enough to break things when you’re into wp-config or the htaccess.
Or even if you know how to do it and you just don’t want to be bothered going into to write the code, this is a simple plugin you install and activate, and it completely disables the XML-RPC. A very simple plugin, very straightforward, does one job and one job very well. Go check this plugin out. And it is, as I said, brand new. I think they put it in the repository a week ago. So go check it out. Other XML-RPC disablers don’t always do a complete job. This one actually does. So go check this plugin out, the simple XML-RPC disabler, and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
John: There we go. So that’s our plugins here, and real briefly, this show is still brought to you by…
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John: Absolutely. And as I’ve mentioned many times, I’ve been using CMS Commander for about 19 years now. Great plugin. I’ve been using it since it was new, it’s grown up quite nicely and strong. And please use the links in the show notes. It’s an affiliate link. They don’t actually pay me for that ad, but I do make a few bucks off of it, so go check it out.
All right, and finally, we don’t have any listener feedback this week, unfortunately, and this is where I said it’s been a slow week, so I look forward to you, the producers out there, send me some listener feedback. Let me know how the show sounds, what you like, dislike, ideas, information, tidbits, tips, anything that helps the rest of the people in the community out.
And finally, I do have a contest this week. And the contest is powered by the Simple Giveaways Plugin who was kind enough to provide us with the premium version of their plugin for our giveaways, a really great plugin. Another one I’ve been using since it was a brand new plugin, and it’s grown up quite nicely over the last. I think they’ve been around for about three or four years now, and it just keeps getting better month after month.
And the new contest is, of course, to give away for the Event Espresso license. And it’s a big thanks back to Martin who won this license but couldn’t use it and donated it back to the show, and it is a license valued at $300. This is for Event Espresso everything or the Event Espresso Developer License.
And Event Espresso is quite the system for having conferences or online community or online events. Not only online but offline selling tickets, selling addons, selling all kinds of things that go with your events, really great plugin. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I used it years ago back when it was brand new and it was pretty good. Then it went through a phase where they tried to pivot, and it became hard to use. I came back to it last year when I had to build out a conference website, and that was a plugin they chose to use. So that’s what I used, and it turned out it was so much better than I had remembered it the last time I used it that I could actually recommend it now.
I got a great interview online with Seth Shoults from Event Espresso. I’ve actually got two interviews in my archives; one recently with him and then one about seven years ago when it was brand new and developing this plugin. You might want to check those out for a comparison. But go check it out. Sign up for the contest. All we need is your name and email address. Share it out with people. Get additional entries into the contest. Win yourself this, go check it out at wppluginsatoz.com/contest for more information on it.
All right, and that covers up. We’ll just real briefly, Marcus, before we close out the plugins we covered, I would like to thank you for coming on in this show as challenging as it was today for getting your technology to work.
Marcus: I thank you for your patience and for inviting me.
John: Yeah, not a problem. I would love to have you on the show again another time, and we’ll be a little bit more prepared for it. We weren’t overly prepared today, but hey, it’s fun to do things on the fly.
Marcus: It is.
John: Don’t run away – with me after I hit the credits per show notes, I just want to have a brief chat with you after the show.
Marcus: Oh sure. And don’t settle for just the free version. I’m going to send you a product key.
John: Hang on to a product key and we can enter it into a contest too.
John: There we go.
Marcus: One for you and one for the contest.
John: There you go, folks. You got a little sneak preview there. We got another contest coming down the line. All right, so we covered up in this episode, we covered up the Formidable PRO2PDF plugin, which you gave a 5 to. The Advanced Access Manager, which I gave a 5 to, the E2Pdf Export to PDF tool for WordPress, which I gave a 5 to, and the Simple XML-RPC Disabler, which we gave a 5 to.
And real briefly, a couple of quick reminders; the WordPress Meetup that I was going to do online tonight I’ve decided to cancel mainly because I didn’t have time to properly prepare for it. And actually, I would rather be out in my garden anyway this evening. So that’s where I’m going to head. But there are two more that are scheduled; one for June and one for July. While they’re not actually scheduled to be online meetups or actually give information, they were just social events.
We’re going to see if we can figure out how those events would go forward now that BC has opened up its restaurants for meeting people again. Maybe the group levels will increase by the time we have this. Right now, you can currently go out in groups of up to six. So go out to dinner, have fun, meet people. So the world is coming back to some semblance of what we used to do. I hate the words, normal and new normal. They just don’t fit my vernacular for some reason. But I will do some other things for the online meetups. I just got to figure out how I am going to do it as things change and get better for it. So stay tuned for more information coming from that. I just wanted to let everyone know that has been canceled.
I do have interviews that I haven’t published yet. They will get published. I finally got myself some additional help in my office again. I’ve got an office assistant right now who thinks she is going to take over my business. We’ll see about that though. So at any rate, the new interviews will be posted starting next week. And if you want to be interviewed for a show in a separate interview, than here on the podcast itself, the interview show is more in-depth, just sign up for the interviews at wppluginsatoz.com/interview.
If you want to know more about me and about why I’m in my garden, go check out theroguestavern.com where I’m posting all my videos about how I’m converting a backyard from a big patch of useless grass into an edible urban forest garden. So it’s starting to come along quite nicely. You can go check me out when I’m out on the gun range. That’s pretty much all
I’ve got for you today. So I’m going to wrap it up and let my girl take us on out of here. Oh, there I am forgetting my tequila shot again. She gets mad at me when I talk over her.
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Thanks for listening to the show. This show is copyright by JohnOverall.com. So until next time, have yourselves a good morning, a good afternoon, or a good evening, wherever you happen to be out there on the globe today.