Page builders discussion

#1

This is typically what happens when different developers start to discuss other developers’ software products. They talk about how they are constructed, how they perform, how they can be optimised, and can rarely see any good reason for the product to be designed the way it was.

All well and good, generally, but that’s missing the point — somebody has to use these products. And in the case of a page-builder its generally someone who can’t or prefers not to code, who typically just wants to get the job done, with the least amount of effort, and in the quickest way possible. In fact, the exact opposite of the typical developer.

The two main protagonists are coming at this from totally different perspectives, neither fully understanding the other’s point of view.

From the user’s point of view, I don’t like Beaver Builder because its slow, and only a partial solution, but I understand it writes good code. Do I care about that? Only if crappy code slows down my site or makes it less interoperable, less secure, or some other gotcha, but in general, I couldn’t care less.

On the other hand, I love Elementor, because it just works and it can do absolutely everything I want, quickly, with no fuss and almost no effort. I’ve heard the code it writes is not as good Beaver Builder, but do I care? No, you guessed it.

In my mind there is absoutely no reason at all to waste any time whatsoever on considering the technical merits of future page-builders, unless you are willing to go head to head with the big boys and buid one. Just include Elementor as the defualt alternative for users who care enough to want to excel at site-building.

Everything else is pointless, or worse, since it gets us back to a Gutenberg-type scenario, and we all know how successful that has been.

Anything other than the TinyMCE should be the plugin of choice (the users’) and not part of the package.

[/soapbox]

So if not Gutenberg then...?
#2

As mentioned by @james

There are no plans to change from TintMCE.

And as mentioned above, if we ever were to consider it then we would have to go through our petitions process before that ever happened.

This thread is to discuss HAX and its benefits but shouldn’t be confused as a discussion about switching away from TinyMCE.

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#3

Some times developers have actually a longer term POV than users, because developers are doing site development for much longer time then users and therefor are more familiar with all the gotchas that might seem like a good idea but will kill you down the road.

Page builders have their very small place as HTML design tool that a designer can use to bypass the need for a developer. This works well when the HTML being created is relatively simple and the focus is more on the presentation than the content itself.
The problem is that many times pages that were created that way as a fast dirty solution to an immediate problem, outlive their expected live span but no one converts them to a good page template.
With time there are more and more pages like that, and they have an aggregated impact on the site’s maintainability, and the longer you have them the less likely you will remember why they are there at all and will be to afraid to make any change in them.

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#4

Just to reiterate this point. This is not a thread intended to cause conflict or to even suggest “get off of Tiny and use what I’m working on”. It was more so to have a discussion about block vs non block editors, what people like and dislike about the other approaches out there, and have a better list of justifications for why / why not block editors in what your doing. :slight_smile:

I’ve already gotten great insights from this discussion so thank you.

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#5

@markkap - Yes, I’ve noticed this sort of down your nose snooty-ness with page-builders seems to be very common with developers.

Of course, I accept that developers know more, in fact, that’s the point I am making.

Developers are often so encumbered by their own knowledge they fail to grasp the immediate need of the user, and the human emotion which drives it.

I don’t understand why you lump all page-builders together (very unfairly in my view) and then claim they don’t write good code, and that developers can do better. That too is my point; developers never use them, because they can code. So the chances of them understanding the needs of those of who do, are slim to none, I’d say.

What I really don’t agree with, is your claim that “Page builders have their very small place as HTML design tool that a designer can use to bypass the need for a developer.”

What source data are you claiming to support that assertion?

Divi [https://trends.builtwith.com/websitelist/Divi], Beaver Builder [https://trends.builtwith.com/websitelist/Beaver-Builder] and Elementor alone account for around 3 million [https://trends.builtwith.com/websitelist/Elementor]. Throw in Visual Composer and that’s another 3.5 million [https://trends.builtwith.com/widgets/Visual-Composer].

So, “very small place”?, I don’t think so.

If you work in an organisation where the website lives in the marketing silo, then a page-builder can be a great asset.

If your team is constantly A/B testing, updating user workflows and stories, and adjusting layout, then a page-builder (in the right hands) is going to be the least expensive and most efficient way for your team to rapidly make changes.

Or, if you can’t afford to hire a designer to fix or alter your small business site, then the right page-builder is going to provide a very welcome solution.

The only question is, which one?

P.S. If you haven’t checked out Elementor yet, you should do. Here’s a real-time video of a designer taking 23 minutes to build a complete Digital Agency marketing site from scratch https://youtu.be/n5zNGFB1VB4

#6

@TerenceMilbourn it all depends on what is it that you are using wordpress for. If you are using it because it is a convenient tool to get a 10 page site running with little effort, then, by all means, use a page builder if you like using them.

OTOH, If you use wordpress as a CMS you are going to care much more about the semantics of the content than about the representation as part of the point of having a CMS is to be able to produce the same content in different forms when needed.
With page builders, you just have a flat content with no semantics in it. There is no way that given a link to a facebook page you will be able to conclude based on the HTML itself if it points to the author’s page or not.
It is not a problem with a specific tool, it is a problem with the concept.

It is not like you can not try to structure the HTML the page builder generates, but the whole point of using them is to avoid the effort of properly structuring the data. A quick example from gutenberg land. Let’s say you need to show a warning in red and bold. You could develop a block for that have the semantic meaning in the HTML comments, but since it gives you the ability to just set any text to bold and red, why would you bother?
Now two years later there is a regulatory change and now you need to display the same message in italics and blue, how will you find all the places that need to be changed? What could have been solved by investing an extra 2 hours of developer time to properly structure things, become a full day project of hunting for all the places in which a change needs to be done.

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split this topic #7

A post was split to a new topic: ClassicPress Governance Discussion May 2019

#8

You are right and you are not really that confrontational. But still, the fact that 98% want something do not indicate that it is good for them
Actually, that 98% do not care at all about how the page is created, but they do care about the perceived cost of creating it. By using a page builder they are reducing the cost by cutting out the designer and developer. Some times this may work, but many times the result will look bad and behave badly, and worse, it is only cheaper if their time is worth nothing.
Think of fixing cars. There is very little IQ required for that and you can do many fixes yourself, but you are mandated to have a pro certify your car once a year to be road worthy.
You need a pro to certify your changes if you want your car to be roadworthy and if you want your site to be secure, responsive, accessible and easy to maintain. It is just that you are less likely to go to jail if you mishandle your site than if you mishandle your car.

I once had to fix manually the content of what became (at the time) a top 4k alexa site because of all the hardcoded HTML and styling in the content, just to be able to switch themes. That fix obviously was a total waste of money as it added nothing to the content itself, and it could have been avoided if little care was given when the content was created to make it portable.

But then, maybe those 98% do not aspire to be top 4k alexa site, and that is totally cool, and as long as they keep in mind that if they will scale they will have to redo their content and lose 90% of their plugins there is no problem with that.
The problem is that things like page builders and “there is a plugin for that” are advertised as a proper solution to a site development problem with no one telling the inexperienced site owners that those solutions just do not scale.

From your position of knowledge you couldn’t possibly understand why the diffentiation you are describing is a complete nonsense

This is obviously wrong. All developers were inexperienced at some point and thought that there are fast solutions to problems. It is just that long stressful nights with too much coffee and piza taught them that there might be actually something right in what the elders of the trade are saying ;).
We do understand very well as to why people find those solutions attractive. Personally, I stopped fighting the tide and I employ one of the only super powers a freelance got, the super power to not care about things he is not paid to care for. If a client creates a messy site with elementor I tell him this is wrong and move on to focus on what he pays me to do.

As for how CP is managed, I am not a member, I just follow the discussions here, so this might be better addressed by @james (sorry, you are the only one that I remember being on the board)

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#9

@TerenceMilbourn I’m splitting the governance discussion to a separate thread. Thanks!

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