My Take on Bricks Builder for WordPress
Bricks Builder is a new WordPress Page Builder. It caught my attention recently as I was looking for a solid Page Builder for WordPress. Most probably you already know that page builders save you a lot of time building WordPress websites with ready-to-import features, templates, and various other functionality.
I am going to write about why I am interested in Bricks Builder rather than explaining its features. You can check out the features on their website.
Why Bricks Instead of Elementor?
You might be asking, why do I care for this when there are already a lot of other page builders available. Specially, you are pointing at Elementor – one of the most popular page builders available right now.
I get it. Elementor is huge and loved by a very large number of people. I think it is very useful and saves a lot of time building a website. However, I am not a fan of it.
I find Elementor to be slow. Both while using the builder and when the page is live. It is a common factor that page builders are not known for their clean codes. However, for Elementor sites, it is way too much for my liking.
Bricks on the other hand had very less page builder-related markup from the beginning. With its latest version, 1.4 (while I write this article) has made things even better. Plus, the builder interface is very fast. Typically loads in 1-2 seconds.
Page Speed Score
I often create my own WordPress theme from scratch for getting the best possible page speed score. Some may argue that it does not affect a website too much, but it is often the first requirement from my clients.
As an example, this site scores around 98-100 on both mobile and desktop on the Google Page Speed Insight tool.
It is always best to custom-build a theme for a particular project to get the best page speed score. However, when you build a theme from scratch, you will have to spend more time getting it how you want it to be.
As I have discussed earlier, I prefer cleaner markup so, I don’t use page builders as long as my client specifically tells me to.
Now that I have bricks available in my arsenal and it generates clean code (for a page builder), I can certainly make good use of it to save a lot of time building quick WordPress websites.
You can learn more about the performance of Bricks Builder here.
Do I still Prefer Gutenberg?
Previously I wrote the article Gutenberg: Why the Hate? explaining why we should welcome the Gutenberg editor. It is going to stay and since I have written that post, it developed quite a lot too. Gutenberg is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get lean markup. However, it lacks something that I wish it had.
I believe Gutenberg can potentially compete against any other page builders once it goes frontend page building. To me, that’s one of the most important things for a page builder or editor right now besides the generated markup.
Web design has evolved a lot from barebone HTML sites to highly customized designs. Page builders are allowing users to visually create a web page without needing to do the guesswork. With the positive change that Gutenberg brought to the core already, I hope it gets to the frontend part soon.
With these taken into consideration, my preferred builder/editor will be Bricks Builder when I want to design sites that have a complex design and need to finish faster.
However, when I need a customized site that needs to have the leanest markup and needs editing ability, I will still prefer Gutenberg over anything else.
Brief History of Me with WordPress Page Builders
Our go-to theme at work was Enfold, which we used for nearly 8 years and still providing support to clients for that theme. It was perfect for SEO, page speed, and development. Enfold has its own page builder called ‘Avaia Layout Builder‘. It is good but I don’t really prefer backend edits as you have already guessed.
If you are using Enfold Theme and like to know some quick ways to improve your workflow, check out my post – Quick Snippets for Enfold Child Theme
8 years is a long time but if you have worked for a web design firm, you will know that people like to stick to the thing they do better. Our team was the same to do so. However, I personally did not stop looking for something new and better.
I have tried almost all popular page builders. Starting from Visual Composer to Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy, Oxygen, Divi, Avada, etc.
Some of them looked good some of them I did not even bother testing a bit more. My first front-end facing page builder was Visual Composer. It was a mess but still, it was so easy to make changes.
I was impressed by the capabilities of Elementor. The frontend editing experience got improved a lot from Visual Composer styled editors. Workflow got faster, complex designs got easier to be built, and much more. Then again, it had a huge drawback of bulky markup and a slow website which I could not ignore.
Later I found Oxygen Page Builder. It looked good, produced lean markup, and page speed was nice too. Like it was going to be perfect… but not so much. The UI I could not get used to. The fact that it is a plugin and a theme can not be used was weird too. However, the most complaint about it is the slow backend performance. So, no luck.
Oxygen recently released version 4.0 with a lot of updates and changes to the UI. Hopefully, it will be easier.
And then, here I am many years after the beginning of my quest to find a suitable page builder, writing about Bricks Builder. I actually learned about Bricks Builder from the Oxygen Users Group on Facebook.
Here are some other page builders that I would want to quickly share my views on.
Brizy was looking very nice. Its user interface might be the best I have seen on page builders. It seems the developers of Brizy are more focused on Brizy Cloud than the Brizy Page Builder. I also felt it lacked the flexibility I prefer.
Divi gained a lot of popularity when it came out with a front-end editor. The UI was much cleaner than Visual Composer but it also had bulky markup, slow response on the editor, and various other issues. Never like how slow it was.
|Fast Page Speed (out of the box)||Yes||No||Yes|
|Frontend Editing Ability||No||Yes||Yes|
|Ease of Developing Custom Widgets||Medium||Easy||Easy|
|Number of Third-Party Extensions||High||Very High||Low|
|Ease of Workflow||Medium||High||High|
|Ease of Customization Without Coding||Low||High||High|
|Ease of Use for Beginners||High||Medium||Medium|
|Ease of Upgrade||High||Medium||High|
Although it is fairly new, I have already started using Bricks theme on few of my projects. It has a few things missing but, most of what I miss are on their public roadmap (very cool!).
I am going to release some tutorials based on Bricks Theme soon on this site too. So, if you are interested as I am, be sure to keep your eye on this site or on the Bricks Community group on Facebook.