025: Becoming a Plugin Developer with Stephanie Wells of Formidable Forms

Stephanie Wells is the founder and CTO of Formidable Forms. She was a Registered Nurse, then became a self-taught developer when the first little bundle-of-joy came along in 2007. Now she is running a full-time business with several employees.


About Stephanie Wells:

Steph Wells is the founder and CTO of Formidable Forms. She was a Registered Nurse, then went self-taught developer when the first little bundle-of-joy came along in 2007.

Find Stephanie Wells: Formidable Forms | Twitter

025: Becoming a Plugin Developer with Stephanie Wells of Formidable Forms

 
 
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Show Notes

Stephanie started her career as a nurse and went on to found Formidable Forms, a WordPress form builder plugin to create contact forms, surveys, quiz forms, registration forms, payment forms, purchase forms, email marketing forms, calculator forms, and just about anything else you can imagine. With over 300,000 downloads of the free version, Stephanie is one of the few female developers with a leading plugin on the WordPress repository.

She started coding plugins for clients long before custom post types and other advanced to WordPress that made managing content for the end user easy. This need to create a simple interface to manage front-end content and avoid editing complex single pages gave rise to what is now Formidable Forms.

It started with a simple need a client had to manage listings of staff members. Another client wanted events entry, front-end journaling, and more. She started to use this beginning to Formidable Forms to provide for her clients’s unique product needs over time. She ended up with a product she was using on every freelance site she started. Her cousin launched PrettyLink and PrettyLink Pro, and he showed her the code for licensing and encouraged her to release her plugin to the public. She released the free version in December 2010 and the paid version in February 2011. In the first month, it brought in $2,000.

She started doing support in the comments section of a blog post.

Angela met Stephanie at Salt Lake City WordCamp in September 2014 and was blown away by what Formidable Forms could do. Tracy has been using Formidable Forms since 2013.

She has had to deal with growing pains as a business from hiring employees and developing processes as she has consulted with Syed Balkhi (with WP Beginner) about her business. She started by hiring people who could self learn, so she could stay in her developer box. In the last year, she has been paying a lot more attention to every little tasks she has to do and write them out and figure out how to eliminate it, how to automate, how to get rid as much off her plate as she can, what should she be doing, which should not be done at all, etc. As far as plugin releases go, she wrote a BASH script that she keeps in the plugin now to perform the commits, creates a release in github, minimizes the Javascript, creates the language files, and lots of little tasks that used to take an hour happens instantly. Now she can pass off to someone else more easily.

(T-shirt idea for this episode: “I Love to Automate.”)

She’s had to come to grips with the fact that she has to let go of the developer role and instead focus her energy on running a company. There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. They have over 20 add-ons to the main plugin.

On the horizon is a total overall of the Views functionality for Formidable Forms with more of a designers touch.

Articles by Stephanie:

Also find Stephanie here:

 

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