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GravWorks Overall Approach

Heres a (not so) brief explanation of the GravWorks approach.


All activity is by users who have defined Roles. Roles control access, available actions, authority, and level of experience or knowledge. Each user can have 1 or more roles.

Data Organisation

Even though all action is performed by users with roles, all action, history, approval or decisions are linked to an ‘Entity’ record. An Entity record might be a user record, business, group, individual (business record), event, qualification, class, breed, variety, anything really.

Separation of User from Entity

This approach provides a separation from user to everything else. Without this separation things quickly become confusing, for both a developer and for a user. Who owns what, who has authority, etc. With this approach there is a clear easily maintained distinction between who and what. This minimises confusion. But all records maintain what and who details.

Data Management

All data is kept and adjusted in Gravity Forms (GF) tables. GF is feature rich and ideal for this. GF uses the WordPress database (there are several options for this) to store the data, but doesn’t usually keep this as a relational database. While very efficient with high capacity, this is not an traditional, industrial strength, optimised, data approach. But the WordPress database is very practical, feature rich, accessible (for non IT professional types as well) and robust. WordPress held databases now hold a significant portion of the worlds data.

Data Views

Views are managed by a Plugin (GravityView) that uses Gravity Forms tables and produces viewable, editable tables, records etc. It’s also feature rich and includes filtering, organisation, restricted views, some logical coding to limit records or fields seen, sophisticated conditional filtering including entry user records, or display and in line edit controls, Maps, photos, documents.


A practical and sophisticated workflow system is provided by GravityFlow. Its features are numerous and very powerful. Using GravityFlow you can design a complex workflow including approval, action, update, loop, email notification, decision based referral group of processes using steps or Flowchart. If your unsure about the power of this Workflow solution, check out these testimonials.

Added Functionality

While GF has many features, there are some additional features many sites need. Advanced data types, data inheritance to new records, unique ID numbers, etc. Gravity Perks adds these brilliant little features that magnify options and opportunities.

How is this useful

So how does all this help? Several ways:

  • The way these plugins work, and work together in the WordPress environment, means that there is little needed by way of ‘coding’ to get spectacular results. While it’s not really simple, it does put the focus on the design and process rather than the code and efficiency. Its not 100% code free, some logic processes are needed, but principally around if then else access and display.
  • The improved functionality is rather spectacular. Apart from that mentioned above, you can get full and detailed audit trails, distributed approval and processing, notifications, emailed reminders, payment points, very much reduced administrative effort, rapid collaborative development (once your familiar), and all this in the now very familiar WordPress environment.
  • The results can be very powerful and non trivial.
  • And reusable, in many cases.


Let me provide a very brief overview to give you an idea of what is possible. I’ll use a rough outline of a distributed quality control process developed to support national standards,  overseen by multiple authorised quality agencies, with separate independent auditors, and many production and agricultural businesses growing, processing and selling certified product.

To best describe how this might work I’ll try to show what a user might see on the site.

Getting started

Every user starts by creating a site user record. The default role they get is siteuser and they can browse round the site and read up on how it all works. On their members page they see two buttons labeled:

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