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The end of ‘wow, wow, wow’ in the ‘Beaver Building’ playing field?

The end of ‘wow, wow, wow’ in the ‘Beaver Building’ playing field?

It has been a great year of excitements in all aspects of the ‘Beaver Building’ playing field. For sure the arrival of Beaver Builder 2.0 will end this year of great new stuff, speed and features. Combined with Beaver Themer, nobody could ask for more. Right? My personal feelings.

Yes, there is (some?) competition from Elementor and Divi and maybe some others. The BB team looks very well at them and without copying the most obvious features, the team works hard to stay ahead of the rest of the pagebuilder arena. And in my opinion they do succeed very well. But for me it is for certain a question how this will continue in the year to come.

The balance in tools

The BB team has 3 major products in their portfolio. The BB theme, The BB plugin and the BT add-on. They will have to divide their skills and time between the three. And I don’t mind that we (still) don’t have a theme version 2.0 (whatever that should contain). But in the variuos BB related facebook groups I do see people searching and shifting between the BB theme, GeneratePress and the newly arrived Astra theme. And that is interesting.

In my opinion the BB pagebuilder plugin handles 95% of all creative and content elements on every page on a website. What is left for a theme? Well, in traditional WordPress structures that will of course be the header and the footer and in certian cases the sidebar(s). Is there more?

I saw the many questions around requested features for the header like responsive bahaviour, transparancy, ‘stickyness’, handling logo placement and a couple of other header aspects, which could make a difference compared to what the base BB theme had to offer.

And here it comes to a strange kind of choice. I did see many very enthousiastic developers, creatives and builders going for Beaver Themer. Did they do that for the things they missed in the BB theme, or did they choose Themer for example for their great field connections to be able to develop real database publishing solutions with the BB playing field? My personal use of Themer is aimed at higher-end applications. And to be honest, the header tools in Themer are fine, but I don’t care that much.

The Beaver Themer position is in many cases confusing for the ‘lower’ end developers

The base of Themer’s funcionallity

If money plays the major role in making choices, Themer has a (relative) disadvantage of being priced at 147 US$ with a yearly renewal fee at 40% of that price. Many could find that a ‘bit high’ for ‘just’ improving the header (which in their minds should be in the BB theme). Because of that argument (and maybe not undersatanding the full power of Themer), a shift to themes like GeneratePress or Astra (from Brainstormforce, the developers of the BB add-on Ultimate). They both offer a free version which go (far?) beyond the ‘header level’ of the (paid) BB theme. Yes, that could have been a marketing mistake of the BB team, not noticed while being so busy with their 2 main great products, BB plugin and Beaver Themer.

The free versions of GeneratePress and Astra were smart choices of their developers

However with both paid add-ons I had the feeling to be overloaded with settings in the (in my opinion) not so friendly WordPress customizer. Maybe I am not such a styling guy, who needs to set every detail in color, fonts and sizes. But with both GP and Astra (in their pro-variants), I do just spend to much time in doing things I don’t want and/or need. Yes, I am NOT a designer.

Back to the real needs

If I sit down and start thinking about the real needs for my customers, for sure I will position Beaver Themer in the higher end of the market of real database publishing applications in WordPress. Together with Pods and the Pods Themer connector I can make a huge difference compared to anyone ‘just making’ websites for saying ‘hello, here I am’.

What is the future of Beaver Themer anyway? Is dedicated plugin support the way to go? I doubt it. I think support for custom fields in a more general way would be great……..

I have about the same feelings with all the creative modules from the two very popular BB add-ons PowerPack and Ultimate. Both develop their products and they are getting closer together. Yes, there are many very nice modules in both of them. But how far should these two add-ons ‘grow’ in terms of both creativity and functionality? It is a matter of personal taste in place of the customers needs. And I don’t have many customers who go for ‘fancyness’ in the first place.

The end of ‘wow, wow, wow’?

Looking in the direction of 2018, what can we expect? I personally think the ‘wow, wow, wow’ factor will eventually(!) phase out. The tools to be able to build more effective websites in a less time and with all creative possibilities are all there. The end of ‘this is a typical WordPress website’ is already way long behind us. Yes, the BB team will still improve many things in their product portfolio and the PP and UABB add-ons will for sure even become more fancy and play a role in creative trends. But ‘the rest’ the job seems to have been done. For me the Pods integration in Themer was the big ‘wow, wow, wow’ for this year. I would be surprised if 2018 would bring me another one.

8 Comments

  1. Matthew Granat on September 29, 2017 at 17:03

    Great article, Peter.
    I’m among those that are getting more curious about possibly using different theme is for the following reasons. Here’s what I use (and also would like to see):
    – Set global fonts (headlines, text, color)
    – Set global button colors
    – Set General Responsive styling (would love to have 3 sections for each of the general media queries)

    A comment about the headers… I am starting to use primarily beaver themer for header and footer creation, but I often have some issues with responsive styling. The theme headers have less choices, but they overall work flawlessly.

    What I would love is to be able to choose from a library of header and footers that have been pre-designed and tested for mobile. Would happily purchase this library…

    thx again for great article

    -matt

    p.s. one last rant (sorry for long comment LOL).. Would love Beaver themer to work on more connections such as video and other media, as well as work on a more elegant post grid (not 3rd party).

    • Peter Luit on September 29, 2017 at 17:34

      Thanks Matt for you comments. For sure your row of global settings requests make sence. The whole CSS ‘thing’ is confusing anyhow, with style.css in childtheme, css in customizer and various places in the BB plugin……

  2. John on September 29, 2017 at 23:34

    Peter, awesome article. I know you really wanted to highlight seeing updates to the theme. But honestly, one of the recent reasons I moved my entire agency over to the Beaver Builder world VS going into Divi or other builders was simply because it is great to see how little they push out huge theme updates. I am very active in the Divi groups and I can’t even begin to explain how many times I see entire sites getting destroyed by their very often updates. Overall, really looking forward to 2.0. I think the biggest updates to see from the BB team would just be improving general speed and the feel of the builder as well as improving the handling of fonts.

    I’m looking forward to trying out the Pods integration. Have been very active for Advanced Custom Fields, so it will be a decent change.

    • Peter Luit on September 30, 2017 at 08:40

      Thanks John for your comment. ACF has been great for me in many applications, but getting into more relationals stuff just brought me to Pods and the Themer connector.

    • Bernhard on September 30, 2017 at 10:16

      yep BB does a very good job at keeping things working – and great move for pods ^^

  3. Bernhard on September 30, 2017 at 10:14

    That’s an intresting discussion

    The real game changer was Themer and I’m not aware of any other plugin coming close to it’s functionality – of course it needs more educated users that are aware of stuff like wphierarchy.com or custom fields / custom post types – things like my pods integration just built on that to display “stuff” without writing any (php) code.

    Themer sort of cuts into stuff previously reserved for the Theme and even improves beyond that. Once you start to use Beaver Themer extensively the role of the Theme more and more diminishes, most php templates can already be replaced by themer. Or it’s easy to have different menus on different pages just using themer. It adds all the options for conditional layouts/parts/header/footer to *do stuff without coding*!

    All depends if your modules fulfill the job you need.

    The majority of BB users, I guess, is more from the Designer/DIY corner and hence the Theme is at least currently more important to them. They might not need the advanced options that that themer provides because to be honest there is no real need on a simple site – or – as it’s a bit harder to understand Themer – don’t see the Power behind it.

    In my eyes this leads to the “battle of themes” you described for *non-themer-users* and this battle is – currently – clearly lost for the Beaver Theme as it’s less feature rich and more expensive – if I would start today I might not pick it – I just used it to ensure compatibility and might continue to do so. To be honest I’m currently a bit overwhelmed by all the “Framework/Page Builder/Beaver” Themes currently advertised – no idea what to pick instead of Beaver … not even started testing 😉 and maybe Justin & Robby & Billy (sorry felt the need to tag you :P) and all the great staff behind them surprises us with the next big idea – who knows!

    For me the next big thing would be stuff Matthew Granat mentioned a bit more global options / preset

    That’s just my point of view – puh got quite lengthy ^^
    PS: I avoided to talk about performance / db / code as for BB Users it would be a bit pointless as the theme if properly done won’t be the issue 😉
    PPS: btw thx Peter Luit for the wow for my integration

    fire free 😀

    • Peter Luit on September 30, 2017 at 10:26

      Thanks Bernhard for even more clarification on this subject!!

  4. Nik Hudson on October 9, 2017 at 10:53

    I would suggest as a marketing guy, that they worked on a solution to automatically convert inline css into global, to minimise page weight, added user-role levels of editing to avoiding clients ‘breaking’ layouts and essentially locking down some elements after post-live. Other features that would improve the product include additional modules that have been tried-and-tested with the suite – i notice events and other modules are set for inclusion in v2, so maybe this is a way forward – an entire suite of tools that work together?

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