I'm new to WordPress development and any advice would be appreciated! I have been a front-end developer for a while and have always handed off forms I created to a back end guy or gal for them to create the functionality via PHP. My knowledge of PHP is extremely lacking.

Anywho what I'd like to do is take all the info the user checked off or typed etc, and send it... (you know, like forms do) but since I created this custom form that I designed and coded in HTML and CSS, is it too late to apply a plugin? Basically, I'm wondering if since it's all already coded do I have to code the PHP myself or can I pull FUNCTIONALITY ONLY from a form plugin?


The full answer is that you could code it by hand or use a plugin. :)

Many form plugins, however, generate loads of HTML and CSS already, and due to the fact that styling forms is a huge pain (even for a CSS geek like me), you'd be writing tons of CSS overrides to overcome the aggressive coding of, say, Gravity Forms or the like. I spent a huge amount of time re-styling a Gravity Form, and probably used some foul language while doing so (that was just CSS, not HTML changes).

If I were doing this, I'd use Contact Form 7, which allows you to stick all your HTML in its admin screen for each form. You would have to learn the way to define fields in Contact Form 7, which is not hard IMO - it's way easier than raw PHP. Take a peek here and see if it looks easy or hard. And you'd still need some add'l CSS to work with Contact Form 7's CSS, but maybe not too bad.

Then again, someone may chime in with an easy way to hand-code the whole thing. Not my cup of tea, though. :)

Cheers, Dave

  • Dave - thank you for the answer. I gave that a go and it saved me a headache! I installed Contact Form 7, and I just copied my HTML into the "Form" text area. So all my CSS was still intact, I just replaced my HTML form input tags with the built-in code from the plugin. – amandathewebdev May 26 '15 at 21:17
  • Amanda, Great! I love that plugin. I've used a lot of form plugins, such as Ninja and Gravity, and I still go back to the big 7 all the time. I've donated to him, too. The only time I need one of those massive ones is for really huge forms, multipage ones, and crazy decision logic. – Flamenco May 26 '15 at 22:42

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