WP Perspectives Issue 16: WordPress Super Solutions
In this issue I propose the idea of “super solutions” that have a lot of dynamic data features. Also in this issue, the latest content from WebTNG and some useful links from around the web.
What About Freemius?
Last August Paul Charlton of WPTuts hosted Vova Feldman, the founder of Freemius, and myself on Paul‘s livestream. Paul and I shared some long standing user concerns about Freemius and then in November Freemius released an update that addressed some of these concerns. Members of the Dynamic WordPress group asked if everything was now fixed. So, in January I tested the new version and wrote an article summarizing the issues that were fixed and those that were remaining. As a courtesy I showed the article to Vova Feldman who convinced me that Freemius has another big update coming that addresses some of the remaining issues. He asked me if I might wait to talk about Freemius again until they have had a chance to publish their update. I agreed, so there is no update from me at this time.
Dynamic WordPress: Super Solutions
All-in-One Super Solutions Emerge
Elementor became like a container or base for third party addons. Crocoblock and Dynamic Content for Elementor (Dynamic.ooo), actually released a theme builder for Elementor before Elementor did. These developers, and others, continued to add advanced dynamic data feature. There is a lot of advanced support for dynamic data features in the Elementor ecosystem and I think we could say that Elementor, plus addons, formed the first all-in-one page builder, or “super solution.”
What Makes a Super Solution?
These are the features that I’m looking at, most relate to dynamic data:
- Theme builder
- Custom field support
- Display conditions
- Support for advanced custom field types and post relationships
- Custom loop
- Query builder
- Front-end forms
- Front-end filters
- Easy to add code when needed
- Extensive CSS Options & Style Sheet Editing
There is a lot of power in the Elementor ecosystem, but it can also be a bit of a mishmash. Oxygen was the first stand alone super solution that had five or more of these advanced features built in. In addition to Crocoblock Elementor, Dyanamic.ooo Elementor, and Oxygen, over the past few years more super solutions have emerged. Bricks is the main one, but Greenshift and Cwicly are two others, and note that Crocoblock is continuing to build out their Gutenberg offerings.
If you have 5 or 6 of these advanced features built-in then the plugin, or theme in the case of Bricks, is a strong foundation for building sophisticated sites. In my mind, the newer super solutions are superior to those based on Elementor because there are more advanced dynamic data features in their core.
Custom Field Providers
What about custom field providers? We have ACF free and Pro together with CPT-UI for custom fields, registering Custom Post Types, and creating Gutenberg blocks (ACF Pro). There is Pods, which is also a good option for providing custom fields and registering Custom Post Types. We have Toolset, which could perhaps be considered as a super solution in its own right, if it hadn’t stopped new development for two years. We also have Meta Box and Crocoblock. These last two are pretty interesting because they do more in addition to providing custom fields and registering Custom Post Types.
Meta Box provides custom fields and the ability to register Custom Post Types. It also comes with wide third party page builder support, Meta Box Views for working with code, the ability to create front-end forms, the ability to save data to custom tables, and the ability to create Gutenberg blocks.
Crocoblock JetEngine has a raft of features. There is the ability to create custom fields, Custom Post Types, custom taxonomies, save data to custom tables, front-end forms (with JetFormBuilder) and more. JetEngine includes Elementor widgets and Gutenberg blocks for the output of custom fields and for creating custom loop listings. The Gutenberg version has the ability to customize the query. Add JetThemeCore and JetSmartFilters and you also get a theme builder and front-end filters. There are many other components available in the Crocoblock suite. If the core super solution doesn’t come with custom fields then either Meta Box or Crocoblock JetEngine are good choices because they also bring other advanced features.
Six Super Solutions
With a super solution you start with your base, pick your custom fields option, and then fill in the missing functionality, if needed, using best of class options, such as WPGridBuilder or Fluent Forms. In many cases you will need a theme such as Kadence, Blocksy, or GeneratePress, and if the site will have a blog then you may want a Gutenberg block addon also. I’ve identified 6 super solutions:
|Bricks Builder||Cwicly Toolkit||Crocoblock & Elementor||Dynamic.ooo & Elementor||Greenshift||Oxygen|
|Advanced Field Types & Relationships||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Extensive CSS Options & Style Sheet Editing||✔||✔||✔|
|Gutenberg Content Blocks||✔||✔|
When I created the chart above I was surprised at how many advanced dynamic data features have been added to modern builders. It seems like Oxygen raised the bar and new offerings accepted the challenge. What do you think? Is the idea of “super solutions” useful?
- First Look: WordPress 6.2 Site Editor and Gutenberg Enhancements – The first beta of WordPress 6.2 was released. In this video I look at some of the new Gutenberg and Site Editor features.
- Free Plugin: Setup FluentSMTP for Better Email Deliverability – By default sending email from your WordPress site is not very reliable. FluentSMTP is a good solution for fixing that.
- Free Plugin: Edit Custom Fields – A quick look at a free plugin for deleting and changing the name of custom fields.
- ACPT Second Look: The Integration with Bricks – ACPT is a new player for creating custom fields and Custom Post Types. It has undergone a number of changes and added Bricks integration.
- Cwicly: Setting Up Fluid Typography – Cwicly has Fluid Typography features built in. I look at how to use them.
- Stackable Blocks and Cwicly Toolkit Compared: Which Should You Use? – I review and compare these two Gutenberg addons to highlight their differences and indicate the different types of use.
- Seven WordPress Predictions for 2023 – What I’m expecting to see in WordPress this year.
From Around the Web
- A Good WordPress YouTube Channel – Imran Siddiq’s Web Squadron channel has a lot of good content about Bricks, Elementor, and general WordPress.
- How to Manage the WordPress Heartbeat API – A good overview by iThemes
- Finding Tech that Works – Kathy Zant has launched a YouTube channel. So far it has covered security issues.
- Stackable Blocks is on AppSumo again – Stackable recently released two new blocks. This is a chance to get a discount on a lifetime package.
- WordPress Lifetime packages currently on sale – Here is my page with current sales and discounts.
What’s Up Next
After their next release, I want to take a look at Freemius. Also, Kadence has a new version of their blocks plugin coming out soon and Spectra Pro should be released in a couple of weeks.
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.