Custom Blocks and Themes: Why Bother?
Custom Blocks and Themes: Why Bother?
Since I started making videos about creating Custom WordPress Blocks and Themes with Pinegrow, I’ve seen question after question from WordPress developers who are having trouble understanding how Pinegrow, and the Native, portable, and custom WordPress blocks and themes it creates are different from using the page builders they are familiar with.
The WordPress landscape
The WordPress landscape is overflowing with page builders, themes, and block plugins. Some of them are amazing, while others leave a lot to be desired. Even the most well-built components, however, struggle with one simple problem, complexity. You see, for the plugin, theme, or block to be commercially successful, it needs to fit the needs of a lot of customers. And to do that, it needs a lot of controls and options to meet everyone’s diverse requirements.
We know our tools, our customers shouldn’t need to
We, as WordPress designers and developers, are familiar with our tools, and we quickly learn our way around them. Our clients, on the other hand, get a little overwhelmed when they see an options panel overflowing with controls and choices. And, when they aren’t overwhelmed, they are devising ways to take our carefully crafted designs and turn them into something resembling a bad Myspace page.
Stability is always a factor
On top of the complexity problem is the issue of stability. Those multi-purpose commercial products are constantly being updated to fix bugs, address security concerns, or add new features so they can stay competitive. All this leads to an increased risk of something breaking every time that component gets an update, or when another component updates and breaks some dependency you have in place.
Custom blocks and themes to the rescue
This is where custom WordPress blocks and themes really shine. They are one-trick ponies that only have the code needed, to look and behave the way they need to on the site they were designed for. They don’t need hundreds of controls to change the way things look, and they only need options to edit the pieces that your clients should be editing. They are simple, fast, effective, and easy to maintain.
How we used to do it
Pinegrow changed the landscape
Pinegrow has had advanced features for years now, such as loops, queries, conditionals, animations, and other things that the most advanced WordPress page builders are only now starting to implement. And best of all, nothing you make using Pinegrow depends on Pinegrow to run, modify, or maintain. Of course, using the Pinegrow editor to make your changes is the quickest and most efficient way to work, but it is by no means a requirement.
The upcoming Pinegrow WordPress plugin
Even the upcoming Pinegrow WordPress plugin behaves this way. It simply writes your exported custom block plugins and themes directly to your WordPress site instead of to your local file system the way Pinegrow Desktop does. This makes maintaining your custom themes and block plugins even easier since you can make your changes directly in your web browser rather than having to work on your local computer and then transfer the exported themes or block plugins to your website.
Will it replace page builders?
Hobbyists and small business owners typically don’t have the time or interest in putting in the effort to learn these things, and most WordPress agencies are so busy cranking out websites that they just want something that lets them move on to the next project. For agencies like mine, however, where we pride ourselves on robust, sustainable solutions, Pinegrow is a perfect balance between a time-consuming manual development process and the speed of a page builder.
If you have any questions about Pinegrow or how we use it, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. And, as always, if you found this video helpful, please give me thumbs up, leave a comment, and subscribe to the channel.
Using Sass with Pinegrow
I recently had someone ask whether Pinegrow supports Sass, so I thought I’d do a quick video demonstration. In this demo, I show you how we activate our Sass stylesheet and how we can use a simple Sass variable to change the color of a heading.
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