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Winter Update – Blocks in Beaver Builder, Future Plans, and More

Hi there! From everyone here at Beaver Builder, we hope that you've had a great start to the New Year. Lots of things have been happening around here and around WordPress since our last update post. If I am totally honest, I'm getting a bit bored of talking about Gutenberg. However, Gutenberg is still the talk of the town and we have some news and ideas to share on that front.

We also have some future plans to share for Beaver Builder and some fun projects we're working on here. Our plugs and footnotes section is well stocked this time around. We've been jumping on a ton of podcasts recently talking about everything from the future of Beaver Builder to digital nomadism! Let's get into it…

Gutenberg and Beaver Builder

So, let's get this out of the way first so we can move on to the fun stuff. Gutenberg is live! It happened. The web didn't break. Beaver Builder sites didn't break. Now we can all take a deep sigh of relief…

I've been using Gutenberg a lot recently, and I really like it! At first, the idea of each new paragraph being a block felt awkward, but the experience has significantly improved.

Can I use blocks in Beaver Builder?

When we first heard about the “everything will be a block” paradigm, we became pretty excited. I think blunt honesty might be a recurring theme in this post. If I am honest, widgets and shortcodes are pretty clunky. They're not a great experience, so the idea that they'll be replaced with blocks is pretty exciting.

Sadly, when Justin and the dev team dug into bringing blocks into Beaver Builder, things got hairy. Really hairy. To work with blocks, the entire Gutenberg editor and its dependency stack need to be loaded. As it's written, blocks just can't exist outside of Gutenberg.

Our team has been chatting and contributing many ideas to the discussion around Gutenberg phase two (more on that later). When we read into this Github issue, we got excited… See the line that says, “Reusable BlockEditor component that can be embedded in several screens.” That's it! That's essentially what we need to bring blocks into Beaver Builder. It looks like the core team is working on this, so working with blocks in Beaver Builder might be a possibility.

So, what's next for Beaver Builder?

We have some exciting plans cooking for Beaver Builder and Beaver Themer! First, we met the team from BigCommerce at WordCamp US and we're pretty blown away with the work they're doing. BC is a headless eCommerce CMS. They've been around for a long time, but they're just getting into the WordPress space and doing so with a splash.

We use WooCommerce. We're pretty happy with it, but it's definitely caused some headaches as our store scales. When people ask whether to use WooCommerce or Shopify for a physical goods shop, we have a hard time not recommending Shopify.

We anticipate BigCommerce quickly becoming a major player in the WordPress eCommerce space. Beaver Themer has tight integrations with WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads and we're woking on an integration with BigCommerce now too!

Module Overhaul

After we overhauled Beaver Builder's UI in version 2.0, we've been putting our focus towards improving what can be built with Beaver Builder. We're hoping to continue this push with a module overhaul.

We're still working out the details, but we're planning to reexamine our module offerings and the settings available within those modules. We'd also like to explore some new module ideas too like social sharing or a search module.

If you’d like to help, we put together a quick survey to get some feedback from you all. Thanks in advance for taking a few minutes to fill it out.

Footnotes and Plugs

WordCamp Europe and Bangkok

We've been planning our WordCamps for 2019. Justin and I are going to hit WordCamp Europe this year in Berlin. Also, in just a few short weeks, I will be attending WordCamp Bangkok in Thailand.

Which Page Builder should I choose!?

When it comes to picking a page builder for WordPress, there are many options out there. Admittedly, we're slightly biased so we figured that it’d be best to refer to more neutral sources. WP Buffs recently published a comprehensive review of several page builders and WP Beginner recently updated their page builder breakdown for 2019.

On a similar note, our friend Oliver from WebMastros posted a theme performance audit: What’s the Fastest WordPress Theme for Your Page Builder?

Interviews and Podcasts

I kicked off the New Year with several podcast appearances and interviews. Matt Mederios and I had a great chat on his podcast, The Matt Report. I wandered into my first contributor day at WordCamp US and met Sarah Gooding from the WP Tavern. I did a video interview with her about our strategy in response to Gutenberg. Also, on the WPMRR Podcast, I chatted with my buddy Joe about a big life change I'm embarking on this year.

Envato Elements templates for Beaver Builder

Our friends over at Envato recently released a new tool for Beaver Builder users called Envato Elements. It's a free library of over 1000 templates that can be used in your page builds. Thanks, Envato!

Theme Customization Brainstorms

Last, but certainly not least, our lead designer, Brent, has been creating fantastic conceptual brainstorms for what theming and customization could look like as Gutenberg moves into phase two.

As always, thanks a ton for all the support and a BIG thanks for filling out our module survey. Ciao!

Robby McCullough's Bio

25 Comments

  1. Andrew on February 8, 2019 at 11:02 am

    I’m excited about the blocks gig. I have been trying to use G-berg on new sites for a while. Most of my sites have The Events Calendar and I can’t enable G-berg yet for those because it pulls all the event blocks into the content area. It’ll be awesome when I can connect a themer element JUST to the event description block. 🙂 Just one of many ‘hmm, where are we going with this’ things. I’m pumped about the module overhaul! Just submitted my survey!

    • Robby McCullough on February 8, 2019 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks so much for that! This is the first blog post on this site where I’ve used Gutenberg. I miss the tag cloud.

  2. Dean Cleave-Smith on February 8, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for the update. Survey question 2 is a bit confused. Are you asking which modules we use or which modules need an update. The heading suggests update, but the options don’t align.

    • Robby McCullough on February 11, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      Which modules you’d like to see an update to. Either because you use them a lot and would like to see more functionality, or because you don’t use them due to lacking certain functionality.

  3. Edgar on February 8, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I am still waiting for the day where we can build the graphic view of a site in PhotoShop and just connect it to WordPress and run it. I know… keep dreaming… LOL

  4. Darren Stuart on February 8, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    No news on version 2 of the theme? I’d love to see integration with themer. For example, it would be great if the templates for archives, single etc were like themer layouts. Also Header and footers as well.

    • Robby McCullough on February 8, 2019 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks for the feedback! If you haven’t already, check out Brent’s articles that are linked at the bottom of the post. We’ve got some big ideas in the theme space, but we haven’t committed to building anything quite yet.

  5. Caylin White on February 8, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Awesome article! You rock!

  6. Gerard on February 8, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    As usual, excellent news all over. The Guttenberg thing has not been an issue on our end, only because we promptly turned it off! But I know it’s not going anywhere means getting across it is a must at some point. Hearing that BB will be able to work with it down the track, is indeed good news.

    Hooking into BC too is really very interesting. Woo’s coming to a head for us, as its unruliness does not get any better (at any level) as it keeps on developing. A cleaner option is something we are really looking for.

    • Robby McCullough on February 11, 2019 at 12:32 pm

      Yes. Agreed about Woo! I remember being optimistic that it would improve after the Automattic acquisition—which it has—but it’s still a bear to work with.

  7. David Waumsley on February 8, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks Robby. I love these kind of updates where we get to see what you are considering.

    I am pleased to see you are keeping up to date with Gutenberg. My own world is now free of it.

    It took me 10 mins with the major update to BB 2.0 to realise I never wanted to go back. The opposite happened with Gutenberg. I gave it a months because I loved the overall project aims.

    That said, it is not about me rather the client’s I serve so I have been closely watching the reviews here and what is being said on usability. https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/gutenberg/reviews/

    • Robby McCullough on February 11, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      I really miss the tag cloud feature in the original editor. Other than that, I have to admit I am enjoying the writing experience in Gberg. 😬

  8. David Fisher on February 9, 2019 at 9:58 am

    New Module Idea:

    A cookie module which enables me to use cookies to determine if a viewer has already viewed a page and then divert that viewer’s second viewing to another page (or another module on a page if you want to make it complicated.)

    • Robby McCullough on February 11, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      Oh, that’s a fun idea! We’ve explored that space a bit with our Conditional Logic features in Beaver Themer.

    • David Fisher on February 17, 2019 at 7:19 am

      I think it best as a module vs contained in theme.

  9. David Fisher on February 9, 2019 at 10:04 am

    What does Gutenberg do that BB’s saved modules, saved columns, saved rows NOT do for me anyway? I use those (with and without global setting) all the time and they do exactly what the Gutenberg blocks are intended to do… right?
    I can get really tricky with saved modules/rows/columns as they are very useful. So, I use “disable gutenberg” plugin and get the same functionality anyway from BB.

  10. Stephen Starr on February 9, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Great update Robby… thanks. I guess I gotta listen to the digital nomad podcast to know how you’ll work that out. But your hints incline me to say… go for it! I follow some folks on Instagram who have not stopped traveling for 5 years. Not a bad gig if you like that. I’m glad to see BB compare favorably in the page builder surveys, but that’s no surprise. Dunno why I am reminded of this, but as an old-timer, I recall when Tim Gill sold (and retired) from Quark Xpress. This gave Adobe a window to push to the max and in the course of two years Quark Xpress lost the majority market share to Adobe InDesign. So mind the shop… You’ve done a stellar job of creation and I hope to see that continue. Geez… that’s me being selfish. Do what makes you happy!

    • Robby McCullough on February 11, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      Great advice! I appreciate that. I guess it’s counterintuitive, but I find that I am more productive when I am traveling and working from the road sometimes. I’m hoping to do some extended trips so I have time to settle in and don’t feel the need to rush around and cram all the experiences into a short block of time.

  11. Ann Marie Gill on February 9, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you for all your team does to make Beaver Builder incredibly easy to use. I use nothing else to build my client sites. It is always very interesting to read what you are working on for BB. I filled out the survey but do have one big suggestion, a simple one I hope, and I put it in the survey. It would be great to have a search option for font selection in all modules and customizer. Its a pain to scroll through the fonts to pick the one I need – a search feature would be great.

    • David on February 10, 2019 at 10:35 am

      Yes… but… those are Google Fonts and Google does not necessarily use overall naming consistency at all (you cannot necessarily search on internet for “Free Font xxxx” and find the same font by the name listed on Google Fonts.

      Also watch out if you want to use those fonts in print (part of consistent look and feel) as they are not available as non-webpage fonts. You can go to: https://fonts.google.com/ and that is the same list shown on BB Modules but with some options to confine the search (serif, non serif, display, handwriting, monospace) helps to limit the list. Also you can put into the displayed sample text for each font whatever text you’d like to show to see it as it would be in your instance. You can search for a “named font” but that assumes you know the name beforehand. Also you cannot search for a font by name unless you know GOOGLE’s FONT NAME which may/may-not be helpful. Google Fonts are a proprietary collection of some 2,500 fonts that Google names to suit themselves. Although that is a GREAT GIFT by Google to providing a huge font selection for web use.

      Then you are doomed to “font-choice-overload” when your brain “fonts out” on looking at too many at a time.

      • Robby McCullough on February 11, 2019 at 3:34 pm

        Good points.

        “Then you are doomed to “font-choice-overload” when your brain “fonts out” on looking at too many at a time.”

        I’ve definitely had that experience.

        Anne Marie, I totally agree that it would be helpful. The list of G fonts is pretty beastly to navigate.

  12. David on February 10, 2019 at 10:11 am

    I forgot a new module possibility:

    A module to control BLOCK QUOTE with lots of ways to single out that text, margins, padding, choice of graphic along with its thickness and color, etc. This is really a “call out” using print magazine terminology. Nice to have control over it on page-by-page (posts also) basis. Not in the theme but as a module in BB.

  13. Ryan Cameron on February 13, 2019 at 9:51 am

    What are the reasons you recommend Shopify over WooCommerce?

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