For the September 2020 Meetup, we hosted a ‘Battle of the Builders.’ We pitted Beaver Builder vs DIVI vs Elementor to see who would reign supreme.
Matt Graham (@themattyg) represented Beaver Builder while Michelle Frechette (@michelleames) defended DIVI. Rick Rudy (@thezenmonkey) rounded out the pack representing Elementor, while Shanta Nathwani (@ShantaDotCa) kept the peace and moderated the panel. Occasionally, she’d throw in some stuff about Gutenberg.
We started out with a open question defining the terms page builder, content builder and blocks. The panel’s consensus was a page builder is a (often WYSIWYG) tool that lets you lay out a page a design in WordPress. The Block Editor (Gutenberg) is a Content Builder since it lets a user manipulate content. Blocks, finally, would be components of the previous two.
What’s your Builder and Why?
Matt chose Beaver Builder because it’s easy for him to make custom sites using only BB and their ‘Themer’ plugin. He also mentioned clients can easily pick it up and run with it.
Rick chose Elementor because of it neutral and unopinionted style. This lets designers easily restyle it using it’s own tools or CSS so that each site looks unique.
Michelle chose DIVI because it was the first builder she ever used, so there is there is a certain amount of speed that comes from knowing a tool well.
Do you switch tools or just use one?
All three panelists agreed they use their page builder with the block editor. The page builder for pages and the block editor for post content. They also advised against mixing page builders on one site because of the inherent bloat it creates.
Do you have to use a page builder with their themes?
All three are usable with most themes in the repository. The only caveat is you may lose your ability to customize headers/footers.
Is the block editor enough?
Michelle the block editor is enough for posts, but doesn’t provide the customization needed for pages.
Rick felt that the future of page builders is the block editor. Page builders will become block vendors once some more flexibility is built out in the editor.
Matt felt that the UX of the block editor makes difficult to build layouts now. But it’s getting there.
If you had to use another builder which would it be?
Matt (Beaver Builder) would chose DIVI because he does have some familiarity with it.
Michelle (DIVI) chose Elementor because she has more familiarity with it.
Rick (Elementor) chose Beaver Builder because of it’s neutral widgets.
When choosing a page builder what considerations do you make?
Michelle recommends DIVI to new users because she can provide support and help them out. She also mentioned all three have large support communities.
Rick looks at page speed, clean markup, and default widget set. He also mentioned its almost more important to build a workflow around tool once you select it. That way you know where pitfalls may be on a project and how to get around them
Matt said when choosing page builders the learning curve is much shorter than using the block editor. Drag and drop is an easy concept for most user to grasp.
What about WP Bakery and why?
All three panelists were against WP Bakery because of its reliance on shortcodes. Panelists also mentioned poor theme implementation is a strike against it.
What are your views on prebuilt blocks and templates?
Beaver Builder can save reusable blocks and rows. You can also make them universal across the whole site. The block editor still has UX issues in this respect.
Michelle addressed the blcok editor mentioning the block repository for the block editor is growing every day.
Elementor supports templating (as a staring point) while global templates only work at the widget level.
Should you choose a theme with it’s own plugins or should they be separate
The consensus among the panelists was that they should be separate. The block editor blurs that line to the some extent.
Should page builders remain separate from the block editor should they integrate
Michelle maintained that builders should remain separate. Rick would like to see them integrate. While Matt contented that it would be longer than 12 months if at all before the interface allows them to integrate.
All three tools provide even novice users with the ability to build custom pages. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Anyone would be a welcome addition to your WordPress toolbox.
Check out our next meetup where we’ll be talking about hosting:
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