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I auditioned MANY plugins dealing specifically with expanding User fields and related forms and display templates. All had drawbacks. I also tried using PODS, which I love and had used successfully on a prior site. But I couldn’t link a custom taxonomy to the WP “User” object, which seemed like the logical structural choice for organizing my users into groups. And several support threads related to User expansion cautioned generally about the limitations of PODS in this context, e.g.:
I stumbled on Meta Box because it kept popping up in my plugin searches. When I finally installed the free version, I didn’t even understand what it was purporting to do, since it had no real UI and involved generating PHP code online and then pasting that into theme php files. WAY beyond what I wanted to take on as far as a learning curve.
But on closer inspection, the “Meta Box Builder,” in combo with the expansive list of premium extensions, seemed to be aimed at folks like me. From the Meta Box Builder literature:
drag and drop your way to creating the custom meta boxes and custom fields in WordPress you want without any of the hassle.
Create everything you need without limitations and without having to touch a single line of code.
Perfect for Everyone
Whether you have no previous coding experience or you’re a developer who’s tired of the grind, this extension is for you.
Drag any of 40+ field types into your own arrangement and customize them to your heart’s content.
These promises were reinforced by the wide array of extensions included in the premium bundles, including several that seemed specifically targeted at my needs:
MB User Meta
MB User Profile
MB Frontend Submission
MB Elementor Integrator
So even though I had no idea if all these modules would do what I needed, it SOUNDED like they would. And with a 14 day money back guarantee, I decided to buy in to the full suite.
But now over 24 hours into my experimentation, I’m troubled by the fact that to do something even as simple as construct a custom registration form, I’m having to start with a shortcode obtained from a website (not even the admin panel) and deal with a predetermined layout (not a drag and drop interface where I select just the fields I want and in what order). Yes I can add to those default fields with a metabox, but then I have much less styling control (e.g., the label for the field group automatically appearing and not being amenable to easy Elementor styling).
As I’m digging into other specifics, I’m encountering this same problem: very little “drag and drop” visual interface and predetermined dropdown options for non coders and a whole lot of having to insert codes and READ through very dense, technical literature to even understand what codes I’m supposed to use. That is not my idea of a program designed for “people who don’t want to touch a line of code.”
I looked at this tutorial on building a User Profile and became frustrated at how much of it was devoted to reading about arcane “attributes” (whatever they are) and presuming way more knowledge about how and where to insert them than a non coder would possess.
None of this is to say that Meta Box doesn’t impress the heck out of me. I did get a custom taxonomy to relate to a user, verified by inspecting the database. And even from my neophyte perspective, it looks incredibly well engineered and thought out, particularly regarding the paradigm of inserting the generated code and then disabling all the extensions to increase performance. That’s brilliant! It’s also extensively documented (almost TOO extensively documented, leading to fatigue), and the sterling reviews are a testimonial that, in the right hands, this plugin absolutely rocks. I’m just afraid that mine aren’t the right hands.
Can you tell me if I’m missing something extremely obvious? For example, I downloaded the whole bundle in the Meta Box AIO format. Everything has check marks indicating successful installation, yet I see nothing in the UI to grant me access to a particular subset of tools (e.g., Frontend Submissions) that I can use to design a registration form in a visual, intuitive way. I assume each extension has added functionality to the integrated whole, but I just have no idea how to access it.
Sorry this got so long. I don’t even know how to succinctly ask questions because I’m not sure just how ignorant I am, LOL. But I’m trying to decide if I should get the refund or give it a bit more time. If you think the latter, please point me to specific tutorials that you think would be most helpful.
Thanks in advance.
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