Hi @1stepforward thanks for the added info. I had my dev look at it and he is of the opinion that the issue is a coding error involving a missing “addAction” function in the Divi/includes/builder/orig-frontend-builder/assets/backports/hooks.js file.
Suspecting that this file was the cause of the error, he we took an entire “frontend-builder” directory from a slightly older, working version of Divi (prior to the creation of the back ports mechanism, added sometime between 3.20 and now) and moved it to the current version of Divi. With this change, the Visual Builder loads without any issues.
To explain – the back ports mechanism checks for WP pre-5.0 and if it finds that it’s an older version, it adds the React bits that are native to WP 5+ that Divi’s Visual Builder needs to run on pre-5.0.
We took this information to the Divi support team and offered them a fresh install of WP 4.9.11 with no activated plugins and Divi’s most recent version so they could test, and their consistent response to us was “Update WP and then we’ll look at it.”.
Obviously if I update WP to 5+, the issue goes away.
I spoke with 4 separate Divi support people and repeated my findings multiple times, and none of them are willing to look at the issue.
I also asked them: “If you’re not going to support the Visual Builder on WP versions prior to 5, please remove the capacity to switch to the Visual Builder.” Then, at least I can keep my clients from trying to use something that’s broken… but no.
The final words from them on this topic were,
“I am afraid we can’t provide support for outdated WordPress as we keep our products compatible with the latest version of WordPress so we can’t guarantee support for older versions.”
On WP5+, they have created their own “Classic Editor” switch in Theme Options that allows you to disable Gutenberg without needing an additional plugin. When I asked them how long they’d support that, they answered:
As long as WordPress provide this feature, Divi will be compatible with it and will give you the option to disable the Gutneberg either via theme option or this plugin.
In all my digging around, I did see that the WP Classic Editor Plugin has changed their language slightly:
Classic Editor is an official WordPress plugin, and will be fully supported and maintained until at least 2022, or as long as is necessary.
Small consolation, since WP may deem it no longer necessary at any time…
The whole thing is very reminiscent of Yoast’s insistence on updating WP, and I suspect that at the core, $$$ is behind this too. It’s very upsetting.
I use Divi because I am a designer, not a developer. Divi allows me to focus on design and takes 90% of the struggle out of building a website for me. It also allows me to build sites affordably for small businesses who otherwise would either DIY it or hire some hack. It’s powerful, versatile and (up 'til now) stable.
I love what I do and I love the business owners I work with, but not one of them could afford to hire me if I had to hire a developer to implement my designs from scratch; nor could I afford to continue to earn a living by only earning the “design” portion of a site build for these little guys. I’d be forced to leave the businesses who need my expertise the most and go after bigger corporate and government contracts…
I’ve been there/done that and although the money is nice, there’s little joy in it. I wouldn’t last.
This is the core of why I became involved with ClassicPress to begin with – I saw the writing on the wall for small businesses and my passion for the underdog brought me here. I know a lot of people here are anti-page-builder and that CP isn’t headed down that road… but I am hoping that along the way, I’ll find a way to continue to help my micro-businesses with a solution based on ClassicPress.
And… KUDOS to anyone who read this far.