The Best and Worst Things About Builder Theme
Builder Theme is a premium WordPress theme foundation or framework by iThemes. iThemes Builder Theme launched on December 16th 2009. From the moment I saw the Builder theme (which was just before the launch during a preview webinar), I knew that I had found the last WordPress theme I would ever realistically need. Granted, Builder is not really the only theme to ever consider, it just happens to be one of my favorites. (Check out some of the other great themes available from WPMUdev as well.)
The Best Things about Builder Theme
iThemes Builder makes creating page layouts quick and easy. With Builder, you can make your own page layouts in seconds and without touching any code. You even get a little visual wire-frame type picture depicting the layout as you are building it. You can create as many webpage layouts as you want. This means that you can have a different layout for each page of your WordPress website if you wanted to.
The power of Builder starts in the layout editor. To build each layout, you simply add elements, called modules, within the editor and save. Your wire-frame image is instantly created as a layout that you can assign to any post or page. Once you have the layout assigned to your post or page, you are ready to go and place your widgets into any of the widget areas you added to the layout. OH, did I mention that you can have an unlimited number of widget areas within your layout too? You do.
Here is another cool thing about Builder. Builder is designed to be used with a Builder child theme. A Builder child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of Builder and allows you to modify, or add to, the functionality of Builder. So, what exactly does that mean? It means that you can keep your sites more secure. You can keep your site intact and easily be able to upgrade your theme framework (Builder) when the improvements and changes occur and NOT have to worry about overwriting the tweaks you had made to the style (the child) to get your site looking just the way you wanted it.
Author Caveat – Those of you who know me already know how much of a Builder advocate I am. For me, it is hard not to be when Builder is one tool that I feel is a must-have for my business. But, I need to remove myself from my opinion and remain objective for this next section. Nothing in the world is perfect, Builder theme included. It is only fair to expose the other side of things.
The Worst Things About Builder Theme
Although Builder theme IS designed to be able to create layouts very easily and without knowing code, there is a HUGE benefit to actually knowing and using code within Builder to get the result that you expect.
Because Builder is a foundation, a framework of sorts, it is not always pretty out of the box. The child themes DO have all of the style built in however, that can change depending on what functionality you add to your site via plugins. Plugins can sometimes make the margins and/or padding not quite line up the way you would want, or perhaps expect it to. This can be especially frustrating for those that want to be able to “plug it in and have it work”. That is not how Builder is designed.
There is also a pretty steep learning curve with Builder, especially you are learning Builder and WordPress at the same time. Builder takes advantage of a lot of what WordPress has to offer. Because of this, and even though WordPress is still relatively easy to learn, it makes an in depth understanding of Builder somewhat difficult. An obvious added element to this difficulty, is the concept of child themes. The concept of child themes for some, seems to be difficult to grasp.
What is Included With a Builder Theme Purchase
Builder Theme is a premium WordPress theme available for purchase from iThemes. iThemes offers two license options for the Builder theme, a Builder Foundation license and a Builder Developers license.
Builder Foundation license includes Builder Core and the Foundation Child Theme Series. The Foundation Child Theme Series comes with 5 child themes and gives you some great color palettes to work from right away. When you purchase any Builder license, there is no limit to how many sites you may build and develop using the Builder Theme.
Builder Theme Developer Pack includes the Builder Core (parent theme), All Builder Child Themes, All new child themes released for one year, Builder Style Manager Plugin for tweaking your design without digging into the code, LoopBuddy to add even more functionality withing your content areas and one year of support and updates.
For additional details and pricing please visit iThemes, the independent developer’s website.
Since I began using Builder, I have said, “Builder is the first theme that every WordPress developer should want, and the last WordPress theme WordPress developers should ever need.” Even so, Builder’s strengths can also contribute to its weaknesses. This theme is designed with developers in mind and may not be the best option for someone who is only in need of building themselves a single WordPress website. Builder is much better suited to website developers who know code or are willing to learn a little code. Either way, iThemes Builder theme is a fantastic foundation to creating pretty much any website that you can imagine.