Custom Fields
Support Meta Box Builder Is Meta Box (with premium extensions) Too Advanced For Me?

  • Creator
  • #18892
    Resolved Elizabeth Lowrey

    I'm a non-coder building a website for a personal project. I have a few WP website designs under my belt and basic understanding of HTML and CSS (no javascript or PHP). The current site will feature a lot of user-submitted content for which I'd like to design custom forms (registration, then custom user profile fields filled in/edited after registration.) I want to style all of these using Elementor Pro.

    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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  • Author
  • #18923
    Long Nguyen

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Thank you for spending your time to use the plugin Meta Box and Extensions.

    This plugin has been developed over 8 years ago, it has a lot of functions (APIs) to help the user creates the meta boxes and fields. It supports a little UI to create the Post types, Taxonomies and Custom fields if you do not want to touch the code but if you want to get more options/customizations, you have to know a bit of code to use the API.

    After activating the plugin MB AIO, you can check the available extensions in Admin Dashboard -> Meta Box -> Extensions and almost of it does not have the UI, just manipulate by the code.

    Regarding the registration form, it is the prebuilt form with the shortcode to show on the front and we can change the fields with shortcode parameters. And you can use the CSS code to style the elements inside the form as well.

    Thank for your understanding and let me know if you have any questions.


    I hope Meta Box continues to put build out more features within Builder as it has so much potential for non-devs.

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