- Native placeholders — This prevents nasty label hacks people have been doing for years.
- Granular control of complex fields — Name and Address fields have much more granular control now.
- Save & Continue — A huge win for complex forms, Gravity Forms now supports the user's ability to save a form for later, email it to themselves, and generally be able to walk away and come back without losing form progress. This will definitely make Gravity Forms more useful for certain types of customers.
I've been using the beta of 1.9 for a while. I still have things I'd like to fix about Gravity Forms (like how many assets they load on each pageview — something Carl Hancock tells me they're happy to explore improvements on), but it's still the most powerful form options out there, and this is a nice release.
Carl also told me that the 1.9 cycle was really long because it has a lot of architectural improvements that required significant testing with third party add-ons. He expects that 2.0 and 2.1 will be considerably shorter cycles.
A final item to note is how they're rolling out updates. They're only doing manual updates for now so that they can catch other bugs before pushing the update notices to all installs. Also, the plugin now has opt-in ability for enabling auto-updates in the future — a welcome feature by me.