Set Default Gravity Forms From Email

On rampages we only have the ability to send out emails from rampages.us addresses. This caused a bit of confusion for me when our Gravity Forms email notifications stopped working.1 It seems like Gravity Forms now defaults to send emails from the form admin’s email address. In our case, that’s a vcu.edu domain . . . . which causes the emails to fail. You can see that when you go to Settings>Notifications for a form. The From Email now says {admin_email}. We have Gravity Forms network activated on rampages which means it’s live on all 17,000+ sites. Granted, I have no real idea how many people use it but I didn’t relish the thought of how many questions this might cause. Luckily, Gravity Forms has a way to take care of this and I was able to write a tiny, little, itsy, bitsy plugin to set the from email for all our sites. Problem solved. 1 Tim, from the ever-reliable Reclaim Hosting guided me back to sanity after I tried to make this much harder than it needed to be.

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Password Protect Posts Created via Gravity Forms

A quick little plugin that sets the password for posts created via Gravity Forms. This came about as the result of a faculty request today. In this case it’ll grab the first form field and use that for the password. You could hardcode it into the plugin itself but I thought this gave a bit more flexibility. With this option you can make that field something that the user could set or you can make it hidden and set it consistently for all submissions. Simple but maybe handy for someone else.

Post Documents for Student Comments

Students writing short papers and posting them for comments from other students is a fairly common pattern among VCU faculty. It’s a nice entry point because it doesn’t require any radical rethinking but still starts to expand the audience for the work, has possibilities around peer review, and is a possible gateway to writing on the web more natively. There are lots of ways to do this. I’ll break down one option path here. The faculty member wants students to keep writing in Word. There’s no immediate interest in writing in WordPress or in Google Docs. The goal is to have comments made by other students on the document as a whole (not specific to words/phrases/sentences/paragraphs). Initial Setup – The Form We setup a Gravity Form to create a post with a document embedded in it using Google’s document viewer. You can explain it as mail merge into a WordPress post or if that doesn’t help you might show them this image as most people have been on the failure end of a mail merge attempt. You’re probably want a minimum of three fields for the user to fill out and you’ll have two that are invisible to them. The three you’ll need for the student are their name, the title of the document (the post will get this name […]

WordPress for Syllabus Submission

This post is specifically about addressing a syllabus submission problem but it’s worth thinking about more broadly. It should be pretty applicable to any structured data entry problem you have. These are often administrative chores (like this one) but could also be about cataloging grave markers or indexing resources or Collecting the syllabi for their department is one of those miserable things department chairs often have to do. They then need to store and reference those syllabi for a few years.1 The normal pattern is to ask people to email the syllabus and there is usually some desperate plea for a common naming convention.2 This plea is followed by ~2 people. People are bad at directions (giving and following). Email makes this basic flaw 20 times worse.3 This particular pattern for misery incarnate is repeated over and over at VCU and across universities everywhere. I recently met with a faculty member who’d at least been asked to submit the syllabus to a shared Google Drive folder but he was having issues because of directions and Google’s interface for this kind of thing being not what it might be. The department chair was also stuck with the naming convention falling apart already and they only had about 8 syllabi in there. Please don’t do that. It’s best to avoid directions as […]

Gravity Forms + FacetWP = Gravatar People

Having just finished presenting1 at NMC. I said we all need to document more, to show examples and explain what we did. Making the notes for the presentation last night and being able to use the blog posts I’d already written really showed me the value of reflecting on little things in an ongoing way. It’s amazing how much stuff I do that I completely forget even happened. So this is how you’d make a gravatar people browser based on information submitted via a Gravity Form.2 This image above shows the basic setup for the Gravity Form. Form fields essentially get combined with some HTML in the post body field. It’s pretty simple but it might help someone. This is the basic setup in FacetWP that generates the query and the display code. There are two elements. Element one is the query which tells which pieces of content you want. The second part is the display which shows the content that you’ve retrieved in whatever way you define. The text version for the FacetWP template is below. There’s also a dab of CSS. 1 Or at least talking in a room with humans in it. It was not of enough quality to justify the term presentation. I need to figure out why that felt so bad. 2 Could also do […]

Faster Faster NMC Notes

I’m doing Faster Nyan Cat!1 Build! Build! tomorrow at NMC so . . . I’d better get moving on linking all this madness into some sort of coherent story with examples. So take a deep breath and . . . go look at another webpage. This is going to be long. Consider it something between speaker notes, reference links, and that scene in A Beautiful Mind2 links everything together with string.3 Once Upon a Time There was a guy who didn’t know how to program but who had quite a few needs and even more odd dreams that he wanted to come true. He was from Alabama which made it perfectly acceptable to make things work with a combination of duct/duck tape and bailing wire (even high tech things). This is the story of how to do stuff like that. It isn’t best practice.4 It may not even be good practice.5 It is simply a way (that has worked) to get lots of work done quickly within the narrow confines of my skill set. Keep in mind, I did a presentation for NMC previously with Jim Groom entitled Nonprogramistan and with the URL /ihatecode.6 There’s also some SPLOT-ish connotations to some of this stuff- just making a one purpose tool that allows users to do one thing with no usernames/passwords […]

Semi-Programistan and Other Conundrums

I can create basic child themes. I can make some low level plugins. I can take themes and plugins as they’re given and live with the shortfalls. Lately I’ve become (more?) interested with the space between those two options. Can I use one or two plugins to create the equivalent of on-the-fly-child-themes? Can I teach other people who aren’t interested in making child themes how to do it? How replicable are the design/building patterns? To parallel that line walking, I’ve repeatedly tried to deal with the example/tool/tutorial structure in a way that might get people curious. Building lists of tools doesn’t appear to have advantages long term. I’ve done that too many times. Plus it puts the focus on the wrong element from the start. At the same time people need to see the association between tool and possibility.1 For this to ever really work well there has to be a fairly tight entwining of tool, possibility, and example. This site is supposed to show examples by discipline, tell how to make them (tutorial/FAQ), and add in other interesting and useful elements. It may be this matters more to us internally. It’ll help provide a quick way to find examples in the moment of need when talking to instructors and provides enough documentation for most of our internal people to […]

Gravity Forms: Exploring a Design Pattern

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by clement127 One of the things we use a lot is what I’ll call templated submissions using Gravity Forms. It’s a solid performer across a variety of activities, disciplines, and instructor technology comfort levels. Costs/Benefits The content is guided/scaffolded so you get consistently constructed products (core elements are there and presented in a consistent manner) in a way that never quite works out with free form entries.1 Want to make sure students apply four lenses of analysis to a website review and end up with consistent titles and formatting? This is the type of construction where forms really help. Often this pattern is used as a way to get the advantage of creating web content without having to give students their own usernames/blogs/etc.2 It does reduce that overhead and makes good sense in situations where a full blog or authoring rights to a common blog may be overkill. One of the main advantages of this type of pattern is ending up with a visible, interactive, and useful aggregation of content. Make that matter. When these assignments have a larger purpose and audience things get far more interesting. A Few Examples These are live classes so please don’t submit entries at these sites. PSY 323< - focused on student submission of video/presentations […]

Gravity Forms Black Magic

Gravity Forms makes my list of Non-Programistan tools. I haven’t seen quite enough posts celebrating the fact that Gravity Forms can do magic. The key feature at the moment that is kind of blowing my mind is the ability to use modifiers on the submissions fields— the ability to have the label (what the user sees/answers) be one thing and the value be something entirely different. It has the potential to enable some SPLOT like activities without the coding on the tool maker end1 . . . I know that sounds like nonsense but just follow me a bit . . . It’s easy to miss the checkbox that turns on the values. You can see it in the fairly annoying GIF above. The cool thing is you can put virtually anything in the value field- images, HTML chunks etc. This plus the ability to create content templates2 gives you the ability to have user form interactions create some fairly sophisticated content.3 In this example the user selects “Awesome” as the answer to a question and the form would record that AND the following HTML (stored as the value for that answer) The part where this starts to come together is in the construction of a post using the content template option. You get options detailed in the image below. […]

Pre-Filling Forms via URL

I have to figure out a rather unpleasant and boring thing. I am, however, learning some fairly odd and interesting tricks as a result. This is one that might be useful to someone. Google Forms You can pre-fill Google form entries with a URL. That might be useful if you had 720 students in groups of 6 reviewing one another but didn’t want to build a form with 720 student names or build a 120 forms with 6 student names. I don’t think I’m going to end up using this for this purpose1 but maybe it’ll prove useful to someone else and it’s dead simple. Step one – Build your form. Step two – Go to Responses in the Form Editor view and select “Get pre-filled URL”. You then fill out the form the way you want and it creates the URL. In this case, I’m filling out a multiple choice question and a free form text entry. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1P5_6vTv53MEKCEjd87xecI483goNqDg1-nPlFH84Mz0/viewform?entry.1615031756=Bob+Smith&entry.1012634392=I,+for+one,+have+always+admired+the+number+two. Now, you might wonder what would happen if in the URL you set a multiple choice answer to something not available as an option- like ‘Freddy Kruger’ for the first field in the form. I wondered that. It just comes up blank in the spreadsheet.2 Sadly, as I mucked around I couldn’t come up with a decent way to hide the […]