Woocommerce : reasons for choosing additional field plugin

Developping additionnal fields for woocommerce products can be done using custom fields, but this method is not user friendly for the ecommerce administrator. There are many plugins for wordpress that enhance this feature, and we will start comparing the two best known plugins : Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) and (Custom Field Suite) CFS. These two plugins are not specific to woocommerce : they are designed to work for any  custom post type, including woocommerce products.

Popularity

popularity is the first relevant  indicator for the choice of a wordpress plugin, for many reasons : when a plugin is used by a consistent community, you can safely rely on it for the present and medium term future : you have less chance that it will be abandoned, amount of users  gives a good idea of how the plugin will be maintained in the future. Security is a  big issue on wordpress and active plugins are more subject to attacks, and as such more subject to receiving security patches in time.

As of today, the biggest difference between ACF and CFS is their popularity : ACR has been downloaded on more than 1 million active installs, while CFS ranks 30000, which is not a bad indicator, but largely below ACF, the community preferred custom field plugin.

Features

Basically, all you can do on CFS can be done with ACF, with one big exception. the CFS plgin page itself mentions : "This plugin is a free, lightweight alternative to Advanced Custom Fields."

both plugins have basic field types : text input, date input, wysiwyg input, relationship, file  upload. While ACF offers more diversity on the selection of input types, CFS has a big advantage on its free version with the repeater section that is only available in the premium (paid version) of ACF.

Admin Columns

the ability to display products in a single list is a basic operation that any wordpress data type provides, and products in woocommerce obey to that rule. The possibility to include custom fields in the list can be implemented via specific code (ACF / CFS). For those who do not want to code, or if you want an easy to use interface, Admin columns (premium version) do the job and integrate very well with both ACF and CFS, with the problematic fact that you would have to renew your license every year if you want updates.

Method for choosing

First thing you should do is plan : make a list of fields you will need for your products. If you do not plan to make purchases soon, and if you require the repeater field, then go for CFS : its simple API will let you work with custom fields very quickly. On the other hand if you plan more advanced features like color chooser, google map location chooser, then go for ACF.

Other extensions to watch

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