The Future of Caldera Forms

By Quay Morgan

Posted On:

Find our most recent update on the conversion process here!

Caldera Forms & add-ons will be sunset/retired on 31 Dec 2021.

We’ve reached this decision after listening to the feedback provided, needs expressed, and use cases described by quite literally thousands of you, Caldera Forms customers and free users, through the course of our Customer Discovery process, Caldera Forming, and support conversations. We’ll dig into reasoning more at the end of this post, but first, here’s what to expect over the course of this year.

What does this mean for me and my forms right now?

Immediately, nothing. Your forms will continue working on your sites just as they are right now.

Support will continue, as will security and WordPress compatibility updates, through 2021.

We will be providing a phased transition from Caldera Forms to Ninja Forms over the course of this year for all those that want to make the transition. Our primary goals are to make converting as simple and painless as possible for you, while making sure that everything you have working right now continues to work uninterrupted into the future to the greatest degree possible.

What will a transition to Ninja Forms look like for me?

In brief (with expanded detail below):

  • Free Ninja Forms memberships and add-ons will be provided for all current Caldera Forms customers to make sure you can keep doing what you’re doing now at no additional cost for the first year post-transition. All free users will receive a 75% first-year membership discount.
  • We are currently building an auto-conversion plugin from Caldera Forms to Ninja Forms (projected completion end of June 2021)
  • We will be offering dedicated transition support to all, and a one-on-one, white glove conversion service for customers with more complex installations that need/want a hand making sure the conversion goes smoothly.

If you are a current customer with an active license(s), the transition will not cost you anything.

All current Caldera Forms customers will be provided, at no cost now and free for one year, a Ninja Forms membership and/or add-on(s) that cover the features you currently enjoy to the greatest extent possible. Your new license period/free year will begin on the date of your transition. Just reach out to us when you’re ready and we’ll get you set up!

Some Caldera Forms add-on integrations are not currently available for Ninja Forms. We’ll be spending focused development time through the remainder of March and April to build these in Ninja Forms. More on this below.

I use free features of Caldera Forms that are paid features of Ninja Forms… what do?

File Uploads, Form Styles, Multi Step Forms, and Conditional Logic are the 4 free features of Caldera Forms that have paid-only equivalents in Ninja Forms. Everything else you’re currently doing in Caldera Forms core can be replicated in Ninja Forms core (free). Processors, settings, etc all have equivalent functionality. You’re more than welcome to ask us how!

We love free stuff as much as you, but giving away these very popular features for free has not been a sustainable business model historically for Caldera Forms. We will not be able to continue providing these features for free, but they are present in any Ninja Forms membership at a very affordable annual cost for all users of the free Caldera Forms plugin.

You’ll be able to convert Caldera Forms to Ninja Forms with the press of a button

Our Caldera Forms and Ninja Forms developers will be working together through the months of May and June to build an auto-conversion plugin. This goal of this plugin will be a one click converter that moves your forms, processors, submissions, and all other “stock” features of Caldera Forms into Ninja Forms.

While this sounds complex (and it is, under the hood), it’s nothing new to us. We’ve done this before in 2016 when we completely reengineered Ninja Forms and had to move 1,000,000+ users from our old codebase and UI into the completely new Ninja Forms 3.x codebase and UI.

You’ll be working in a new UI, and some things may function slightly differently for you on the backend, but you’ll still be able to do most all the things you’re doing now with some exceptions we’ll address below. Most importantly, your website’s end-users will either not be able to tell the difference, or better yet have an improved experience.

Can I get *human* help transitioning? Yes!

As mentioned above, we will be offering two channels of support for all Caldera Forms users.

Have basic questions? Ask them here.

Our full support team, Caldera Forms and Ninja Forms both, are standing by now to take any questions and assist with your basic transition needs. Reach out to us here.

Have complex installations and want our direct human assistance converting?

We’ll be offering a white-glove service to complement the auto-conversion plugin once work is wrapped up on it (projected completion end of June 2021). Once this is ready, we’ll be reaching out to all customers to let you know.

I’m using a Caldera Forms add-on or integration – does it exist in Ninja Forms?

Add-ons & integrations with Ninja Forms counterparts

These add-ons and integrations exist currently in both Caldera Forms and Ninja Forms either as 1:1 or feature-equivalent counterparts:

New integration development upcoming for Ninja Forms

Beginning this March and continuing through April, we’ll be building out the following integrations for Ninja Forms to serve those of you that currently enjoy these features in Caldera Forms:

  • Authorize.net
  • Stripe Elements
  • CiviCRM

Stripe Elements is not a current Caldera Forms integration, but in your communications with us there has been a very clear desire for a checkout feature that does not require a redirect. Even the vast majority of PayPal Pro users indicated to us that they were using it primarily for this singular feature. Since requests for Stripe far outweigh those for PayPal Pro, we’ve made the decision to build Stripe Elements.

CiviCRM, while not an official Caldera Forms add-on, enjoys widespread use and a pretty incredible community that showed up in force during our discovery process earlier this year. We’ll be working in conjunction with their team to make an official Ninja Forms <> CiviCRM integration to make your transition seamless and keep you connected to WordPress 🙂

Add-ons and integrations that will not transition to Ninja Forms

We hate to leave anyone at all out, but there are a handful of Caldera Forms add-ons that are only used by a very small handful of users, or whose features can be easily replicated using other methods. These add-ons will not be converted:

  • Braintree
  • Divi Styler
  • Easy Pods
  • Easy Queries
  • Geolocation
  • Google Analytics
  • Members
  • PayPal Pro
  • Verify Email

If you use one of these add-ons, please reach out to us and we can recommend an alternative in most cases.

Why are we sunsetting Caldera Forms?

We know a lot of you are going to be sad to see Caldera Forms go. We’ll be sad to see Caldera Forms go. It’s a plugin with a rich history in WordPress, built by amazing people that continue to contribute in positive ways to the community.

We made an assumption.

Let us be clear: it was never our intention to acquire and then retire. For years we’ve been shaping and promoting Ninja Forms to be the easiest, code-free WordPress form solution that anyone can pick up and use with little to no WordPress experience, while still maintaining the flexibility and extensibility that developers require.

In Caldera Forms we saw the opportunity to steer heavily into a developer-centric plugin for a developer-centric community. We entered into the acquisition with the basic assumption that Caldera Forms’ user community was largely developer oriented. Folks that wanted and needed a forms plugin that made it easy to make code-level modifications to the plugin that go well beyond standard out-of-the-box use cases.

Our assumption was wrong.

After opening support to all users, observing conversations in Caldera Forming, and especially through our discovery process in which hundreds of you participated in surveys, recorded responses, and one-on-one interviews, we’ve realized we were wrong.

We discovered that Caldera Forms users and Ninja Forms users are not that very different after all. Many of you share the same needs, use the plugin to address the same use cases, and require the same tools to build forms that level up your own users’ experience on your websites.

We cannot serve you best by maintaining two plugins doing the same things in different ways.

Supporting and developing for two forms plugins is hard. We discovered that quickly and you’ve felt it. It’s worth it if it means delivering two unique products that help two different groups of people in two different unique ways.

But with the realization that users of both plugins largely need the same tools, it just doesn’t make sense for us, and especially not for you, for us to continue to divide our focus and resources. Consolidating and simplifying into one forms plugin will allow us to focus all of our attention on meeting your needs better.

That means a more stable and reliable plugin for you, better support experiences when support is needed, more new features for your forms, and most importantly, a better experience for your end users.

20 thoughts on “The Future of Caldera Forms”

    1. Thanks for interviewing and letting us know how important CiviCRM integration is to so many Caldera Forms users! Looking forward to getting the integration shored up for the future 🙂

      1. So the price tag for using the open source CiviCRM will be yearly 249$. May be it is really better to move from WordPress to Drupal with the rock solid WebForm which is really open source.
        I will be advising that to my partners using Caldera on WP.

        1. We haven’t gotten to a stage where we’re discussing pricing and what memberships the new CiviCRM add-on will be a part of, but I can practically guarantee it won’t be anything close to $249 for the CiviCRM add-on. A single site add-on license is typically in the neighborhood of $49 annually.

  1. Hi there. I paid around $500 for a lifetime deal to Josh at Caldera before he sold out. After he sold out, I received an assurance that Caldera would continue, and the deal I had would be honoured. What happens in my case now? Thank you.

    1. The Lifetime Membership for Caldera Forms will expire at the end of that product’s lifetime, 31 Dec 2021. If you would like to transition to Ninja Forms over the course of this year, you’ll receive a membership of your choice free for the first year (from the date of your transition).

      Which membership you’d want would depend on which Caldera Forms add-ons you’re taking advantage of currently, and how many sites you’re maintaining them on. If you’re interested, please us know how which add-ons you’re using and how many sites (approximately) that you’re using them on, and we will help you find the membership that’s right for you.

      Reach out here and we can get started helping you figure everything out: https://calderaforms.com/transition-assistance/

  2. Have you identified which Ninja Forms version the Caldera Forms paid versions will be transferred to?

    eg: Toolbelt >> Personal

    The number of allowed licenced sites differs greatly between the packages and will this change to meet the licence that I purchased yesterday?

    Toolbelt = Unlimited Sites
    Personal = Only 1 Site

    Will my licence be transferred to allow unlimited sites?

    1. Which membership you’d want would depend on which Caldera Forms add-ons you’re taking advantage of currently, and how many sites you’re maintaining them on. If you’re interested, please us know how which add-ons you’re using and how many sites (approximately) that you’re using them on, and we will help you find the membership that’s right for you.

      Reach out here and we can get started helping you figure everything out: https://calderaforms.com/transition-assistance/

  3. Credit to the team for handling the sunset like this. Instead of just pulling the plug, we are given more than 8 months to switch to a different free solution or pay a reasonable price for an automatic conversion to Ninja forms. That is totally fair in my book.

    Many free plugins are just abandoned, and that’s a risk you accept when using free software.

    And thank you Caldera for offering a great premium featured plugin, for free, for years. It’s been great, pushing it to the limit with crazy js calculations.

    The best to all of you.
    Bjarne

    1. Thanks for the kind words. More than anything we don’t want to leave folks high and dry with no reasonable path forward (or no time to find it in). We really hoped we could maintain Caldera Forms in its own unique niche, but there’s just too much overlap with Ninja Forms to warrant maintaining both. Thanks for understanding and let us know if there’s any questions we can help answer for you.

  4. I use multi-part forms in Caldera. I understand that this will not be free in Ninja (and the price difference, for me, is significant). Assuming that I’m willing to pay for the feature in Ninja, will the one-button conversion also convert a multi-part form?

    1. It’s our intention that all add-on features (or core > to add-on) features will auto-convert, yes. Back when we did this for Ninja Forms codebase transition that was the case, and I do not see any technical (or any other) reason this cannot be the case this time around. Great question!

    2. I have just checked and, it turns out that Forminator from WPMU DEV actually has multi-page forms in its free version. I was not aware of that before I started using it and am genuinely stoked to know that. It also has conditional logic and integration with third-party services such as Google Sheets built in. There is a Pro version, but it seems to be more for all of their plugins than just Forminator. Might be worth checking out.

  5. I presently use the free version of Caldera. I love the Google sheet and conditional processors. After 12-31-21, what happens if one chooses not to transfer over to Ninja forms? I assume the Caldera plugin continue to work as usual, right? It will just not be supported and slowly depreciate over time?

    1. Ninja Forms can connect to Google Sheets as well via Zapier: https://ninjaforms.com/blog/wordpress-google-sheets/

      For form logic + Google Sheets, your best avenues would likely be the Personal Membership + Zapier, or the Professional Membership.

      We’re not ‘breaking’ Caldera Forms after it’s deprecated. You’ll be able to continue using it past that point but, as with any software that stops receiving updates, the odds of compatibility and security issues grow over time. Even if you’re not a fan of Ninja Forms, we’d strongly recommend you lock in an alternative form solution before then.

  6. Hello,
    when will the 75% discount be available for free users?

    We want to start migrating now. No need to wait for the auto conversion.

    Thanks,
    Adrian

  7. Thank you for this time in which making forms was so easy … we will miss the plugin, I wish you success

  8. The post states that: “Beginning this March and continuing through April, we’ll be building out the following integrations for Ninja Forms to serve those of you that currently enjoy these features in Caldera Forms: CiviCRM”
    As it’s now late May as I write this comment, can I assume that this integration is up and running, and as I’m just starting on a new site that the way to go is to install Ninja Forms and the included CiviCRM integration?

    1. I’ve been meaning to write another update for weeks now, sorry. I need a clone. In brief, the Ninja Forms CiviCRM plugin has been passed to the CiviCRM team (the folks that built the CF<>Civi integration) as a release candidate. They’re in process of testing with a small subset of folks now, and then will be providing feedback. We’ll then make improvements and launch to incrementally broader audiences from there. I’ll update more thoroughly soon; it’s important that this is built collaboratively and not just in a vacuum by us and the incremental process allows us to do that. In an ideal world we have both the Civi integration and the CF > NF converter (in progress now) ready for full release around the same time.

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