WP Perspectives Issue 12: Beaver Themers Fifth Anniversary and the Rise of the Theme Builder
In this issue: Beaver Themer kicked off a revolution. Also, the latest posts on WebTNG and some useful links from around the web.
“It’s not about being the first to market; it’s about being the first to get it right.”Benny Xian
Beaver Themer Got it Right
Five years ago, on the 1st of May 2017, Beaver Themer 1.0 was released. This was a revolutionary tool that gave site builders the ability to use Beaver Builder drag and drop to create theme layouts. An exciting Beaver Themer feature was that you could use dynamic data, called “field connections,” in your templates to pull in standard WordPress variables and custom fields. You no longer needed to hand code PHP templates to provide a layout for your Custom Post Types that included custom fields. Beaver Themer ushered in the age of creating content templates for post types, as well as headers and footers, using a page builder.
Of course Toolset had the ability to create content templates prior to 2017 and Toolset was pretty popular, but Toolset required being a power user, working with code and shortcodes, and had a reputation for being difficult to use. Themify also had its Post Type Builder that lets you create a Custom Post Type with custom fields and create templates for it. Themify has a reputation for doing things their own way, and surprisingly it never caught on. Beaver Themer wasn’t the first solution to market, but it was the first easy solution that caught on.
Several months after the release of Beaver Themer I published my first article looking at creating single and archive templates for Custom Post Types. Since then I’ve created more than 2 dozen articles and videos on the topic. Here is a list of the options I’ve covered. The year next to the tool is the approximate year the theming functionality was released.
- Toolset Classic 2012
- Themify Post Type Builder 2015
- Beaver Themer 2017
- Dynamic Content for Elementor 2018
- Crocoblock JetEngine and JetTheme Core for Elementor 2018
- Oxygen 2018
- Toolset Blocks 2019
- Divi 2019
- Elementor Pro 2020
- Meta Box Views 2020
- Brizy Pro 2020
- Thrive Theme Builder 2020
- Zion Builder 2021
- GeneratePress Pro theme builder 2021
- Bricks 2021
- Kadence Pro theme builder 2021
- Cwicly 2021
- Full Site Editor and Stackable 2022
- The Plus Addons for Gutenberg 2022
- Crocoblock JetEngine and JetThemeCore for Gutenberg 2022
Five years ago there were not many options. As the above list makes clear, the ability to create templates for Custom Post Types is now ubiquitous. You can find solutions everywhere. Beaver Themer’s field connections were accessed via a database icon, which when clicked opens a popup list of fields. This easy to use technique has been adopted by most builders.
Co-occurring with the “rise of the theme builder” is the more wide spread use of dynamic data. Today, Oxygen is the most powerful and flexible builder for working with dynamic data, but you need to be a power user to get the most out of it. Beaver Themer, on the other hand, is relatively easy to use yet has a good range of basic and advanced features for working with dynamic data. An indication that a product got it right is that it stands the test of time. On its fifth anniversary Beaver Themer still hits the sweet spot between powerful features and ease of use. Congratulations to the Beaver Builder team!
- First Look at the Spectra Beta and Pro Version News – Brainstorm Force prepares a beta for a big update and also news about an upcoming pro version.
- The Plus Addons for Gutenberg and the Nexter Theme Builder – The maker of the popular Plus Addons for Elementor brings dynamic data and a theme builder to Gutenberg.
- Crocoblock JetThemeCore Adds a Theme Builder for Gutenberg – Crocoblock continues to add support for Gutenberg. Here is a walk-through using their new Gutenberg theme builder.
- Kadence Blocks Home Run: Three New Blocks, Flex Layout, and Meta Box Support – Kadence continues to release new blocks and feature updates.
- Second Look at the Zion Builder Is It Ready? – In the first look at the Zion Builder I didn’t think it was ready to use. There were some big updates so I took a second look.
- OlympusWP Theme, Pro Addon, and Blocks Plugin – OlympusWP is from the same team who brought us the OceanWP theme.
- First Look At The New Kadence Map Block – Kadence adds a Google Maps block in the free version.
From Around the Web
- Spencer Forman suggests that we would be better off with a unified base framework for Gutenberg than hundreds of niche block themes.
- David Waumsley has done a very nice walk-through of Microsoft Clarity.
- WPCodeBox – This is a good code snippets plugin with a number of advanced features. I’m using it on my sites. Use the coupon code WEBTNG for 25% off.
- WordPress Lifetime Deals Currently on Sale
What’s Up Next?
I’ve been waiting on the Bricks Builder to add display conditions and then I’d like to take another in-depth look. I’m also planning to dig further into Cwicly.
Thank you for reading. I’d like to hear what you have to say about the newsletter content and what you are excited about. Feel free to comment or send me an email through the contact form.
May 2, 2022