Letting go of Gravity Forms

I've been following several threads relating to pricing plans for WordPress plugins and the arguments as to what's the best way to go. At the forefront of these threads is Gravity Forms and their annual renewal format. While I applaud anybody who can make a buck selling a paid-plugin built on top of a free platform like WordPress ("WordPress is free?" Yup.), I'm not planning to renew my Gravity Forms license when it expires tomorrow. Here's why:

It was a couple of weeks ago that I got an email from rocketgenius (the makers of Gravity Forms) reminding me that my license renewal was 15 days away. To be honest, I didn't recall there even being such a renewal and so was somewhat taken aback by the implications of it. "You mean... I have to pay for this thing EVERY year? Yikes."

In my case at least, the decision not to renew Gravity Forms simply boiled down to just how much I had used the plugin. In short, not so much. Perhaps if I was a WordPress power user, it would make more sense. Then again, I generally prefer coding/finding my own solutions if I can and while it may come as a shock to some, making forms is not something unique to WordPress (there are plenty of DIY solutions in Perl and PHP for anybody wanting to roll-their-own).

Perhaps I'm of a different mindset altogether when it comes to subscription models, because in general, I don't like them (take Cable TV for example). On the other hand, I understand why software developers do - it's renting a product over selling one. From the developer's point of view, there's more money (lot's more!) to be made renting year-over-year to a solid customer base than there is on one-off sales. That's the catch and again, I understand where Gravity Forms is coming from - they'd like to stay in business. I wish them luck, as the competition in the forms space is fierce.

Especially so now that Google has entered it with their Google Forms. No surprise either that a plugin for WordPress already exists - Google Forms - and on top of that, it's very highly rated (5 stars) with 123,000 downloads. If history is any indication of how things go with Google, Google Forms is only going to get better and more competitive. One need only look at how far Google Docs has come in just a few years and what that has done to Microsoft Office to see the writing on the wall.

UPDATE 12/12/16
Well it's been a couple of years since I wrote this post, so thought I'd revisit it to announce my latest find. Concrete5 - and specifically the awesome form builder that comes with it. With Concrete5, I was able to quickly put together a registration form that matched any that I had ever made with Gravity Forms. So if you're looking to ditch Gravity Forms, check out the free and open-source CMS, Concrete5!

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