Turning GravityView into a Powerful PDF Builder Tool

Featured image for the "PDF for GravityView Add-on Launch" blog post
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Gravity Forms HQ in Virginia Beach for their annual Christmas Party. It was there I officially met Zack Katz, the co-founder of GravityView (now GravityKit). We’d conversed online before but, for me, when it comes to getting to know someone, that is a poor facsimile for real life (or “RL” as the kids say). It turns out Mr. Katz is incredibly tall!
One of the discussions we had was the potential of using Gravity PDF to create documents based off a View – instead of a standard Gravity Forms entry. GravityView has an intuitive Drag and Drop View Builder, and the idea was certainly intriguing. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the resources to dedicate to such a project, and the idea was shelved.
Over the years I revisited that idea, but the timing never felt right. That all changed this year when a Bespoke customer reached out and requested that exact functionality. They were using GravityView to create complex personalized reports, and didn’t want to reproduce all that logic for the PDFs. I like to call that situation a twofer, and so I dusted off the original idea and got to work.
A working prototype didn’t take long to build: the customer was only using the Table View Layout and Custom Content field types. However, if you’ve ever been in the digital product business, you’ll know that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can’t release a half-baked product. Well, technically you can, but you aren’t likely to be in business very long! To actually turn that prototype into a sellable product took three months, 99 individual updates, 10 internal releases, and a lot of user testing.
Thus, in April 2023 the PDF for GravityView add-on for Gravity PDF was born!
At its heart, PDF for GravityView generates PDFs which automatically reflect the Single Entry View layout you create using the View Builder. There’s support for all GravityView layouts, including List, Table, Datatable, Map, and DIY. You can add a PDF view/download link to your View, let users email the PDF to their friends/family/colleagues (or themselves), and style and customize the PDF to suit.
Towards the end of the development cycle, I reached out to the wider GravityView community for help with testing. The feedback received was invaluable (and those people scored themselves a free one-year license key to the add-on). One of the suggestions was to exclude specific fields from the PDF, or only include a field in the PDF.
A 30-Minute Deep Dive of PDF for GravityView
If you enjoy product unboxing videos without all the marketing fluff, then you'll enjoy this 30-minute product walkthrough by Gravity PDF Founder, Jake Jackson.
First Look
On its surface, that feature request felt like a minor change. And in developer hours, it absolutely was. But it unexpectedly transformed GravityView into a quasi-PDF builder tool. How? Well, the new visibility settings allow users to add fields specifically for the View, and a completely different set of fields for the PDF. The possibilities become endless when you combine this with advanced conditional logic, GravityMath, GravityCharts, and/or the Multiple Forms add-on.
The flip side of releasing underbaked software is never ending scope creep. You need to strike the right balance. For that reasons, I drew a line in the sand around PDFs of the Single Entry View Layout. Anything outside that realm got punted.
That’s why at launch there isn’t support for Multiple Entries Layouts, Google Maps, or even other Gravity PDF extensions, like Watermark or Enhanced Download. That will all come in time. But PDF for GravityView is useful to GravityView users right now! The idea conceived many moons ago shouldn’t sit on a dusty shelf any longer. I see its potential, but necessity really is the mother of invention, and I’m excited to offer it to the world and see what you build.
Happy PDFing Everyone!
Turn GravityView into a Powerful PDF Builder!
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