We compared the two leading form-based WordPress application builders. Read our review of Formidable Views vs Gravity View, to see which alternative is right for you.
So, you’ve successfully collected online form data. But it’s no good just sitting there gathering dust. That’s where form views comes in.
What is a form view?
Simply put, a form view is a way to display data collected through an online form.
Formidable Views vs Gravity View
Formidable Forms and Gravity Forms are two of the most popular WordPress form builders.
Gravity View is designed to display Gravity Form entries on the front end of your site, but is developed by a different team.
We’ll compare Formidable Views and Gravity View to see which is the best view builder for your project.
Let’s dive in.
Ease of use
Both view builders have a similar view building process:
- Create a new view
- Choose a data source (the form that has the entries you want to display)
- Choose how to display your data, e.g. in a table
- Format your view (this is where the main differences lie)
Gravity View layout builder
The Gravity View layout builder provides visual clues to help you understand how the page layout will display. The Top Widgets, Entries Fields and Bottom Widgets sections show that you can add elements before and after the entries.
Gravity View also comes with several presets, which help you configure your entry display based on the one you choose.
The Gravity View layout builder shows you the type of field from your form, e.g. First Name and
Formidable View layout builder
The Formidable Views layout builder is more advanced and has two big advantages over Gravity View.
- Greater design flexibility and customization options
- Live preview your layout design
Creating sophisticated layouts is a cinch with Formidable Views. Just choose the type and number of columns you want and drag them onto the canvas. Do you want 1-column, 2-columns, full-width or alternating widths? It’s up to you.
Imagine you’re building a real estate listing website and you want to display 2 properties side-by-side. Just choose the 2-column icon and drag it onto the canvas.
Formidable Views also makes it quick and easy to see how your changes affect your design. Gravity View shows you the type of field while Formidable Views shows you the actual content with a live preview.
And it gets even better. Not only can you see a live preview, but you can also see your design changes as you make them.
For example, you could select a different font style from the Typography drop down on the left. You'll immediately see what your copy will look like with this new font.
Pretty neat, hey?
With Formidable Views, it’s much easier to see what you'll get. There’s no tedious need to save and publish every time you make a change. This makes the view building process much quicker and even enjoyable.
Features In Formidable Views vs Gravity View
Formidable Views and Gravity View both offer a variety of layout formats to display your form data. From tables and calendars to grids and lists.
Table views are ideal for displaying spreadsheet-like data. The table layout works much the same in both plugins. You can add a search bar, sorting, and advanced filtering for your data on the front-end.
Gravity View also offers integration with DataTables. This adds features like exporting the table to a CSV file instead of using Gravity Forms to export entries from the back-end. Formidable offers their own table to CSV exporting as well.
Calendars work well for things like birthday lists and other WordPress events calendars to show user event submissions.
Formidable’s Calendar View and the Gravity View Calendar add-on broadly offer a similar set of features. However, a big benefit of the Formidable Calendar, is how much easier it is to create recurring events.
Unfortunately, creating reoccurring events in Gravity View is more time-consuming. You'll need to create a form entry for each date the event takes place. That might be ok if something only occurs once but imagine if it’s every week for a year!
Formidable Grid View and Gravity List View
Displaying form data in a profile-like view is ideal for information such as news items or a user directory with profile photos.
In Gravity View’s List View, you can display a listing with a title, subtitle, image, description and a link to view the entry in more detail.
This works well for a basic layout to show entries on top of each other. For example, displaying a Gravity Forms directory of staff profiles. But it’s pretty limited compared to what you can do with Formidable Views.
The Grid view in Formidable allows you to display form entries in everything from a simple list to a rich multi-column layout. It’s one of the best options when it comes to building grid-based layouts on a WordPress site.
Using just a Grid View you could create:
- A purely text-based list, e.g. for a recipe site
- A list with images, e.g. for a restaurant menu page
- A gallery format, e.g. for an image gallery
The difference between each of the web applications is just changing a few settings.
The Grid View style settings give you control over how your information will be formatted. You can set a border, a background color, the space between columns and so much more. A Grid View lets you do things that just aren’t possible without custom code in Gravity View.
Formidable’s user-friendly layout builder lets you create sophisticated multi-column layouts with great ease.
To get multiple columns in Gravity View, you’ll have to add custom CSS to your design.
Formidable’s Grid View also gives you better customization options. You decide what goes where. Gravity View is restrictive, only providing a pre-defined layout to work with.
For example, the image below shows a single entry. It has an image and description side-by-side. However, the image must sit on the left while the description must sit on the right.
The only way to place your image on the right is to purchase Gravity View’s All Access plan to access the DIY Layout.
In Formidable Views, though, you can select whether the image sits on the left side or the right of the description. Just click the plus button in the left or right column.
Custom formatting: Classic View and DIY Layout
While there are custom formatting options in Gravity Views, customization is not straightforward. Unfortunately, Gravity View doesn’t include a visual content editor. It only comes with essential formatting controls such as bold, italics and bullet points.
But simple formatting often means adding HTML and CSS. For example, if you wanted to place some text before a form label, you would need to:
- Add a Custom Content field
- Insert your form labels
- Enter the HTML code around your labels
- Save and publish your changes to see them
In contrast, Formidable’s visual content editor gives users lots of common formatting options without the need to add code. Simply switch to the Visual tab.
A Formidable View is much easier for those who don’t know HTML or CSS. And for those who want to use HTML and CSS, there’s a simple code editor.
Formidable’s Classic View
If you want complete control over your form design, then Formidable’s Classic View is the perfect layout type. It doesn’t include any pre-configured options, so you can build your layout just the way you want. It also gives you complete control over the HTML and CSS.
Gravity Views’ DIY Layout
Gravity Views, in contrast, doesn’t come with an option to build your view from a blank canvas. If you want greater control over your form design in Gravity View, you will need the DIY Layout.
Gravity Views’ DIY Layout is designed to offer more customization options. Although, it’s generally targeted at more advanced users who know HTML and CSS. A DIY Layout gives you a limited set of HTML tags to format a form label or value. If you want to use a different tag you would be back to square one, manually entering HTML and CSS.
Other vital features
In addition to the layout features mentioned above, Gravity View and Formidable Views offer a lot of common features. Some of these features are included in Formidable Forms Pro, even without Views. These features include:
- Import entries
- Export entries from the front-end
- Update existing entry
- Create a directory
- Math calculations with form entries
- Front-end edit entries with inline editing options
- Limit entry visibility
Gravity View vs Formidable Views: Which is the best view alternative?
Formidable Views and Gravity View offer a similar set of features for displaying form data.
The presets in Gravity View are useful to get started quickly. There are also a large range of plugins and extensions available to enhance functionality.
But with Formidable Views you can get more done because it’s an all-in-one-solution. You won’t need to install yet another plugin to add new features such as multi-column layouts.
When it comes to support, there's a single team behind Formidable Forms and Views, so you’re guaranteed to get top-notch support. Since Gravity View is not from the Gravity Forms team, you may find you are contacting the wrong team or run into a lot of limitations.
Here are a few of the top reasons you might want to consider Formidable Views as a Gravity View alternative:
- More features to customize your layout without code
- Drag and drop layout builder
- See design changes in real-time
- Includes basic features such as repeatable events in calendar view
- Built by the same team as Formidable Forms – seamless integration, seamless support.
- All-in-one form entries display solution
- Edit HTML and CSS if you need it
If you’re using Gravity Forms, you can seamlessly migrate your Gravity Forms data to Formidable Forms with our Gravity Forms importer.
Get started building formidable web applications today with our risk-free 14-day trial of Formidable Views.