Pagebuilder (Mc)Cloud, sir!

Once in a while, I wrote an article about the future of premium WordPress themes. The future, as I see it. It is my prediction and my desire for how it should be to serve better the needs of all players in the market. Vendors of WordPress plugins sell functionality. Mainly functionality only at the moment. Vendors of themes should sell designs only, right? In fact, they sell both functionality and design in one package. It does not seem right to me. Vendors of WordPress themes – designers mainly – should be selling designs only. WordPress page builders could serve as a tool for creating pure designs which “just work” when you import/activate them. Page builders should be a foundation where refined functionalities are mixed with pure design.

Why the separation of concerns matters?

The first and most important argument is it helps to avoid lock-in. A user will not be “locked” into using only specific WP theme otherwise everything breaks. The user will be using designs without fear of deleting particular custom post type or a contact form which come with the theme.

The second big thing is it helps to simplify everything, to make ‘theme’ lighter by removing all the theme-specific boilerplate code as well as creating an easy-to-learn entry point for a variety of settings which control how everything looks like. Who used some user interface once will know how to use it for the second time. Also, plugin developers could focus on functionality itself and do not worry about ‘presentational’ settings.

The third one is that nowadays, designers must cooperate with developers even if they are going to create the most straightforward WordPress theme simply because they have to go through all the steps and how-to of creating a WordPress theme. As for me, it kills creativity and raises the level of entrance into the market. It would be much, much better if designers could just create! It would end up in more diversity among designs on the market.

How could WordPress page builders help?

In my opinion, page builders should move towards creating a kind of market where designers could sell their products which are created with the help of page builders and are configurable presentational units.

For this thing to happen, two conditions must be met. The first one is the technical possibility for reliable export/import of configurable designs. The second one is the existence of the point of exchange of such designs.

The first condition mentioned above is more or less met by most of the existed WordPress page builders. The second condition is out of reach for all players on this field. In reality, only one WordPress page builder provides a sort of native cloud. It is called ‘hub’, and it gives a possibility to get templates from one central place. But it DOES NOT allow upload, therefore, synchronise your items. And of course, it does not allow selling your items.

What about third-party cloud/cloud-like page builder extensions?

I am glad you asked me this! 🙂 Yes, there are few. I don’t want to dive much into details here, and probably it is the right subject for another article. To sum up – not a single allows selling items. Most of them are centralised collections of valuable stuff conveniently connected to this or that page builder. One of them is a cloud for syncing your stuff – helpful tool, BTW.