Announcing Fillable PDFs 5.0

Karl  •    —   5 min read

Fillable PDFs for Gravity Forms version 5.0 will be available July 10th, 2024 via auto-update and for download from the Downloads page.

Version 5.0 sees us introduce some pretty significant infrastructure changes to how the product works behind the scenes that will improve performance significantly in the short term and allow us to provide even better value down the line.

With this version, we’ve fully migrated to our new API server setup, some of which you’ve already been taking advantage of for about a month or so prior to this release, but let’s break some of the main points down below.

Better performance, stability, and scalability

In April, we completed a move from our previous managed WordPress host to our new self-managed setup using DigitalOcean and SpinupWP.

Previously, both, and the Fillable PDFs API server where PDFs are generated, were being hosted on the same system. This worked well most of the time, but did add a bit of overhead to the performance of the API (and by extension the form submissions on your site(s)), as well as occasionally introducing the potential for outages of the API when we made site updates.

Now, our website and the API server are hosted separately. This alone introduces a demonstrable boost in PDF generation time performance, which in turn speeds up the overall form submission on your site(s) where you’re using Fillable PDFs.

Everything is much faster now, whether it be PDF generation (which improves your form submission time), uploading/editing your templates, loading of template page images in the visual mapper, or even accessing our website to review your licenses or our other product offerings.

Everything is also much more reliable and stable now. While our past uptime was extremely good, the Fillable PDFs API would occasionally be taken down for brief periods when we, or our host, made updates to our website hosted on the same system. These instances were infrequent and often brief, but we knew we could do better with this new setup.

And tied into all of the above (and some more fun stuff below), our setup is much more scalable to our specific needs. It is difficult with a managed WordPress host to find a hosting package that very specifically meets our needs for processing PDF generations through the product without either going overkill in another direction. Now, we have a lot more control over the various aspects of your hosting setup and can increase things individually as we monitor load on the system as we continue to grow.

As a tease for the future, these infrastructure changes will also allow us to implement a Previewer field in a future major version, something we’ve wanted to add for a while, that would allow form submitters to see a live(ish) preview of the document that will be generated with data from the form updated on the fly prior to actual final generation of the PDF.

Previously the rate limiting at our host was a big roadblock for implementing this, but under our new setup, we can now tackle it from a technical perspective. We are aiming to drop a release including the Previewer field later this year.

Fillable PDFs API Regions

With Fillable PDFs 5.0 and our server changes documented above, we’ve also implemented the ability to choose specific regions where your PDFs will be generated.

Until now, all PDF generation ran through our API server that is hosted in the United States. This often does not work to meet the needs of customers outside of the US that can’t have their data leaving their region’s borders.

When setting up Fillable PDFs, you’ll now have the option between choosing between an API server based in the United States or one in the European Union to handle your PDF generation.

All licensing data will still pass through and ping our main site based in the United States, regardless of the region you select, but nothing tied to the actual PDF generations will leave the region you select.

Further to the scalability point mentioned in the first section above, our new hosting setup allows us to easily spin up new regions in the future. So while we only are offering API server regions for the US and the EU currently, we are open to adding more. If you have a specific region you’d like to see added please drop us a line with your request.

We, however, can’t guarantee a specific region you request will be added in the future. We’d like to add a few more, but which regions we add in the future will be a combination of requests from customers and internal decision making factors. Demand from custom submitted region requests will carry the most weight.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind here with this:

Wrapping up

And that’s mostly it for this release! We’re looking forward to and excited about these changes and the value they’re going to bring overall to our product offering!

Release Notes