Elementor has reached the pinnacle of WordPress Frontend tools – a PageBuilder become ThemeBuilder that has 10million active user websites, has just released a Elementor Cloud Hosting Service [to mixed reviews and runtime performance concerns], and is undertaking a massive shift to Flexbox CSS Framework as the core of its UI Interface. It is the move to the Flexbox interface and the widespread use of live development experiments that is the topic of interest here.
Flexbox has a 10-12 history of adapting to the needs growing needs of mobile interfaces with complex component layouts. Two impressive startup ThemeBuilders, BricksBuilder and OxygenBuilder, use Flexbox extensively in their interface designers. The payoff is threefold: easier design workflow, ability to adjust quickly to responsive layout requirements and better runtime performance with reduced CSS scripting in the DOM.
The MVP Risk of FlexBox
WordPress Software development has become ultra competitive as the WordPress Economy reaches $1/2 trillion and breakthrough developments can mean huge growth in market share. Thus WordPress software developers strife to identify the Minimum Viable Product target before releasing a plugin’s major software upgrade. Elementor has recognized this potential advantage and so it has released a developers edition of Elementor Pro with 17 active “software experiments” including Flexbox controls.
The problem is that the experiments a)can take longer than expected to smooth out for release or b)simply misjudge the target Minimum Viable product. The classic case of a MVP Miss is the Gutenberg Editor which targeted the Classic Editor as its Minimum Viable product. But the real competition was the WYSIWYG, components plentiful and styling options rich PageBuilders. The result has been the persistence of Gutenberg with dismal 2.0/5 WordPress Rating and the rise of Elementor as the defacto Visual Editor standard with 10 million active users.
Will Ambitious FlexBox Rollout be Elementor’s Achilles heel?
This reviewer has loaded up Elementor on two localhost and one cloud website. Here is a frequent result:
I have gotten some simple Flexbox controls to work. But the simple fact is that I am visiting the Elementor Academy “NoGo” page all too often.
As well exercise in the new ThemeBuilder interface or the Elementor Gutenberg Block plugin both have strange inclusions or failing styles. In the past month of constant Elementor updates, the frequency of the glitches have declined but the warning not use the developer version on production websites stands as solid advice.
So given that some experts are expecting the full FlexBox enabled Elementor to be a production-ready upgrade arriving in April/May, the question remains – will it be too soon? Attend the Elementor Changes meetup which addresses this question on March 6, 2022