GravityView announced April 6 on their blog, Gravity Forms Entries in Excel, Brought to You By GravityView!: “We’re excited to announce that GravityView is now the proud home of the popular GF Entries in Excel plugin! This plugin provides users with a helpful way to export their Gravity Forms data into Excel, and we are so proud to be the ones to offer it.” I was able to spend some time speaking with Zack Katz about the acquisition.
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I met Zack over at Post Status when he setup a weekly Accountability Call, and was excited to hear about the purchase. Let’s get to the (edited and cleaned up) interview!
Robert: Tell us a little bit about GravityView the company.
Zack: We started in 2014 because I had been building a bunch of Gravity Forms add-ons and whenever I was doing client work and a client had a need, the first plugin I installed then, and still nowadays is Gravity Forms because it’s the entry way to functionality and when they said, “We want to connect to Constant Contact,” we developed a Constant Contact add-on. When they said, “We want to connect to Mad Mimi,” I developed that.
When they said, “We need a directory that’s powered by our website and not some third party tool,” I said, “Well, I know where the starting point is. It’s Gravity Forms.” Because you submit the data for a directory and then what though? There was nothing there. There was no directory tool that could take those entries and show them on the front end. I developed Gravity Forms through a directory add-on that has become GravityView and yeah, we’re nearly seven years in.
Robert: How big is GravityView?
Zack: We have a team of five, which includes a support team of two, a developer, a content writer, and myself.
Robert: What does GravityView do for the uninitiated?
Zack: GravityView makes Gravity Forms plugins that add essential functionality to Gravity Forms, including for displaying entries, editing entries, importing entries, and with this acquisition, we now offer the best choices for exporting entries. With the acquisition, we rounded out the toolkit that we offer to our customers.
Doeke Norg, who created the plugin, had been working on a pro version when I found out about the plugin. I saw how much people loved the plugin and how they were really using it to enhance their Gravity Forms. I saw what cool things he had planned for the pro version and I really wanted to be part of it, so I reached out to him to talk about a possibility of acquiring it.
Robert: What attracted you to the Gravity Forms ecosystem?
Zack: Gravity Forms is nice because as opposed to building on top of another plugin, people who paid for Gravity Forms are paying for quality. They’re paying for good support. They know that they want things that work and they’re willing to pay for it. That’s a really good customer to work with and say like, “Okay, here’s a premium plugin called GravityView that integrates with what you already value.” Gravity Forms has been a wonderful ecosystem to build on top of as well. And WordPress, I just love to pieces.
Robert: How has the birth of Gutenberg affected not only your development, but how you see Gravity Forms and we’ll call it the Gravity Forms ecosystem changing?
Zack: There are some Gravity Forms 2.5 previews. Check those out because they are not using Gutenberg as their form builder, but they are using the block concept and the look and feel. They’re modernizing Gravity Forms in the backend to behave as users would expect and take the concept of a block, each block, having its own settings and the settings, having a sidebar and the sidebar configurations and hiding much of the complexity.
You can really focus on the content if you don’t want to worry about each block setting. I think that Gravity Forms is taking those lessons and they’re not using the Gutenberg code base, but they are using those concepts. Each field now has its own settings on the sidebar.
Robert: Now, for GravityView, since you’re more on the export/display side of it, is that also the same thinking or are you going full blocks?
Zack: We are making a transition and I’ve been making this transition internally in my mind since 2017 when we first saw the Gutenberg project. I really want to move to the block concept and it’s taken a lot longer for it to reach acceptance in the WordPress community than I thought it would. Honestly, our customers are not clamoring for it. They like our editing experience, where we have a drag and drop editor where we have field settings that open in a modal instead of a sidebar.
We have the functionality that our users are wanting currently. That being said, I do want to move to Gutenberg as the view/editing experience, but it’s not something that our customers are really asking for right now. But we are in the next big update where we’re going to be adding block embedding to our next update. Right now, we only embed using a short code and we want to make sure that we integrate deeply and well with Gutenberg. But in terms of the editing experience, it’s just people aren’t asking for it.
Robert: Everyone always hates this question, what were the terms of the acquisition?
Zack: Those details are confidential.
Robert: Fair, and expected, when did the process start?
Zack: I reached out in mid-January and said I was interested in discussing and he hadn’t been thinking about selling. He was looking forward to the process of releasing a pro version. We went back and forth and we came to terms of agreement that were mutually beneficial.
Robert: Any changes in the near future?
Zack: We’re going to be selling it standalone, the pro version. We’re also going to be keeping the free version on wordpress.org because our goal isn’t to reduce functionality of Gravity Forms. It’s to enhance it. That’s the plan.
Robert: Thanks so much for the time and details Zack!
Zack: Well Robert, thank you. Good talking to you.