ExpressDB for WordPress Shortcode

The new ExpressDB Shortcode plugin for WordPress lets you easily add data capture forms to your blog or website. The plugin is available in the WordPress.org repository at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/expressdb-shortcode/.

What you’re seeing below is a live example from our blog.

And this is what it looks like in the WordPress editor:

shortcode in editor

The shortcode inserted in the body of a post

In the WordPress blogging and content management system,  a shortcode is a placeholder for a bit of content that will be generated dynamically. Some WordPress plugins use shortcodes to let you insert a database report or a list of headlines from a web data feed. The ExpressDB Shortcode plugin takes the data fields you specify and creates the HTML for your form. Fields are rendered in the order text, textarea, and then checkboxes. The plugin provides some default styling, but web designers can also modify the styling to be applied by adding their own Cascading Style Sheets code.

The idea is to automate the creation of the form in much the same way ExpressDB automates the creation of an online database. ExpressDB is a product of Caspio, the cloud database company. ExpressDB offers a 14-day free trial. Once you create your account, ExpressDB provides a simple 2-step process for creating a database, which will then capture any data you post to it — without making you fuss with database configuration or database table design. You can also elect to receive an email notification whenever someone fills out your form.

The ExpressDB setup wizard generates an application key you use to connect your form to the service. If you were coding a form manually, you would take the entire <form> tag code and paste it into your HTML. With the ExpressDB Shortcode plugin, you copy just the action parameter and add it to the [expressdb] shortcode as shown above.

Form activation key

Copy the form action attribute from ExpressDB

Why use ExpressDB with WordPress? There are plenty of other WordPress plugins for contact forms and other types of forms. Some just send you an email notification, while others log the form submission to same database that powers your WordPress blog. But as a cloud database service, ExpressDB offers some key advantages:

  • ExpressDB is simpler than any other web forms and data capture solution you will find.
  • The ExpressDB service is operated by Caspio in professionally run Internet data centers. Because online database services are Caspio’s sole focus, the service is highly reliable, maintaining over 99.99% uptime for the past 5+ years.
  • ExpressDB is scalable, running on a load-balanced cluster of database servers. If you are running a small business website, you may have your own server (but probably only one). If you went with low-cost hosting, you are more likely to be sharing a server with dozens of other websites. If you are lucky enough to generate a large response to a marketing offer, you can be confident that ExpressDB will log all the customer inquiries, whereas a form that posts to your own server could easily overload the database.
  • If you need more sophisticate online database services, you can graduate to Caspio Bridge, which provides visual web-based tools for creating databases, forms, reports, charts, graphs, and other interactive database apps.

Download the ExpressDB Shortcode plugin now and let us know the great things you do with it.

Bonus: when used in combination with the Facebook Tab Manager plugin, the ExpressDB Shortcode provides yet another way of adding data capture forms to Facebook (see also: The Simplest Way to Add a Customer Contact Form or Sales Lead Capture Form to Facebook).

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