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Here on the WP Minute, Eric Karkovack asked, “Can Gutenberg and WordPress Page Builders Coexist?” his debate has been raging ever since the Gutenberg project launched.

I used to fall into the “page builders will crush Gutenberg” camp. Elementor, Divi, Beaver Builder – they were just so far ahead in terms of features and flexibility. Meanwhile, it felt like Gutenberg was being forced on us with no shot to lead the pack.

There’s more advanced developer plugins like Bricks, that has all of the same enthusiasm & momentum I’ve seen in the space for the last 15 years. The best, most advanced, powerful, efficient tool you’ve ever used for WordPress.

I saw it with the Thesis theme.
I saw it with Pagelines builder.
I saw it with Genesis framework.
I saw it with Elementor.

But with the introduction of the Twenty Twenty Four theme, and brining the block & site editor together in a better paint job, I’m excited for the future of the core WordPress experience. The editor has come a long way . Default themes like Twenty Twenty-Four are built for blocks and look great out of the box. You can absolutely build full websites now without touching a page builder.

As much as I try to restrict myself from posting hot takes on Twitter, I had to take to the welcoming social platform to tweet out my current thinking about new exciting builders like Bricks, and how this whole ecosystem comes together.

When the argument for “which page builder is better?” comes up, I think it’s important to frame it like this:

  • Block editor + site editor is made for 10’s of millions of users. It’s shipped with WordPress by default!
  • Elementor/Divi/Beaver Builder are made for millions of users. Want more powerful building workflows and also solves a “webmaster + user” relationship.
  • Bricks/Breakdance are made for 100’s of thousands of users. Advanced developers and designers that require to build WordPress sites at scale.

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So while WordPress itself has taken massive strides, we aren’t quite at a fully featured website builder yet. The ecosystem’s extensibility is still crucial.

I also think that these more advanced page builders are taking hold because WordPress nobodies from 6 years ago have leveled up. Instead of learning code, they used Elementor. As they started getting more familiar with WordPress and coding, started tackling larger projects, they leveled out of a powerful builder and into an “advanced” builder.

What will be interesting to see is how much further advanced builders can push the envelope before they force the user to go full circle and bust out an IDE and coding environment again 🙂

Which brings me to the old argument that page builders “lock you in.” Well, doesn’t relying on a patchwork of Gutenberg blocks/patterns/plugins present similar risks? Like I mentioned before, I’ve seen page builders and their high promises come and go in the WordPress space. Something better and faster hits the market, users flock to it.

At the end of the day, it comes down to user experience and meeting needs. Power users with demanding requirements will likely stick to their Beaver Builders and Elementors. Average users will happily embrace the core WordPress experience and the ecosystem that comes along with it. Many advanced builders will seek through the outer boundaries for the more advanced “stuff.”

And you know what? That array of choice perfectly represents the WordPress way. We can extend the software to suit our individual needs and preferences. Diehard page builder fans shouldn’t feel pressured to give them up. Nor should Gutenberg evangelists need to compromise.

The takeaway? WordPress by nature supports coexistence. We’ll certainly see page builder usage shrink some. But as we surpass nearly 60% global web CMS market share, there remains more than enough room for diversity to thrive.

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