DIVI and What It Means to WordPress Developers
DIVI is great. We could probably even say DIVI is awesome. In a world where automatizing WordPress has been a desire for 10 or so years, the release of DIVI theme and DIVI builder was huge.
I was there at the beginning, 12 years ago, it was summer 2003. I remember the limitations of WordPress. It was horrible. I never would have imagined then that it would grow into a powerful and very usable tool as it is today.
If you weren’t there and you don’t know let me try to describe the original WordPress to you.
You would install WordPress, setup a username and password, then log in. Once inside, you would ask “why”. All day. Everyday. We were perplexed. A designer I worked with was fresh out of college and chomping at the bit to do creative and challenging work. I, on the other hand, had already put in 6 very long years of html coding by hand and teaching myself everything I knew without using any builders like Dreamweaver. I was pretty much anti at the time towards any time of sitebuilder software. I didn’t want limitations (or maybe I didn’t want to learn something new when I knew that what I was doing had worked for me up to that point).
So, here we are, told that WordPress is the next great thing for editorial and emarketing. A Blog. No one really knew why they wanted or needed a blog for the business, they just knew that needed to write something everyday to look ‘active’. They all wanted Blogs. Blog Blog Blog….. really, if you asked anyone why they didn’t know. Maybe they saw it on the news that morning or in Entrepreneur magazine. Who really knows but one thing was clear, we had to learn WordPress and make a Blog.
So, this is where Web 2.0 comes in. It was foreign. The idea that you could write something and push a button and it would post automatically. Interaction with a website through the browser. Logging in. Editing. Control. People could write comments. Mind boggling.
Yes, we installed WordPress and we logged in and we were mad. Furious. On fire. How dare these non-IT people tell us that this is what we need to be doing. Our creativity was out the window. Why? WordPress 2003 was completely locked down.
In the present day WordPress realm, you have glorious freedom to touch, edit, change, and develop anything as you see hit. 10K plugins at your finger tips. Code editors in the admin panel and a ton of easy to use admin pages for the plugins and theme. It is hard to stop and reflect on WordPress 2003. Wow, I wish I had a screenshot!
All you could do was write a post, add a tag, add a category. The layout was a blog online, no theme choices to create a CMS website. You could not add plugins, this was pre plugins. There really wasn’t much a web design could do after installing and setting basic options like selecting a color or two.
The internal customer would ask us to tweak things. We couldn’t. We would try to break in to the code and it was encrypted. We were not meant to be inside. I will never forget the frustration.
Over time, a few plugins were available. Eventually “Pages” were allowed and soon followed themes that were sculpted to make a blog have CMS appeal. A true homepage.
With all of this said, it has been a long journey for those of us who have been pecking away at WordPress for 12 years. From blog only to some crappy hacks for CMS, from no plugins to 10K and growing, from no support to a very active community, and last but not least, from manipulating every action/page/post/plugin/theme/css along the way to the DIVI ‘drag and drop’ builder, we have come a LONG way.
It brings me great joy to see how DIVI has taken off. I know I use it a lot because it is a great visual tool. I can actually just tell a client now to ‘draw what you see’ and then i can quickly create all of the placeholders in DIVI within a matter of minutes. Miraculous really.
BUT (there is always a but), there is one drawback. I have known about the drawback for awhile but I really don’t care, I have drank the DIVI kool aid clearly.
The drawback to DIVI is that if you decide to leave the DIVI theme or builder plugin, there is no way to export the data and keep your page. Once you turn off ‘divi builder’ all of your page content goes with it. I have not crossed the line yet in which a client wants off of DIVI but I am sure it will happen one day (especially if a better builder prevails).
It is late and I know that this is poorly written compared to how I may passionately write when a bit more awake but do know this – all you need is DIVI to create your own small WordPress business. You do not need 20 years of coding experience like I have. You do not need a degree. All you need is a passion to learn something new and time to develop your DIVI specific skills. The more you use DIVI, the more you know. And the more you know, the faster you can work. DIVI is the first product (outside of the Elegant Builder which is a predecessor of DIVI) that truly helps you automate your WordPress building process.
There is no doubt in my mind that if I just started working with WordPress today and had developed the understanding to install and configure WordPress then install DIVI, I would be able to learn DIVI within a couple of weeks and launch a web design business. So, if you are that person reading this, it is really possible.
I, personally, want to know how to do it all. I don’t want to be caught mid project and not understand a basic component of WordPress and lose a ton of time troubleshooting. The more you know the more power you will have over DIVI and WordPress.
In summary, DIVI has revolutionized how we be web design. It has given non designers an opportunity to live the dream quick, fast, and furious by skipping over a ton of classes about code. The awesome thing is, there is a large amount of info available on DIVI now to help any novice achieve their goals.