a generateblocks experience.
sorry in advance if this is getting a bit longer, but maybe it might help someone to make some decisions… if it is out of scope, Tom, please delete it simply
after a lot of fiddling and playing around with GB free and pro, just went on to rebuilding a site that was constructed with elementor and a bunch of custom code and helpers initially… always were bothered because this felt not right. too much overhead for a (in principle) simple site, still too much that was needed despite elementor etc.
so how to build this with GenerateBlocks? of course we would need toolset for custom archives and grids. so the latest TS release for blocks came handy. what could be done via GPP and GB went into that territory, TS only where needed.
to sum it up: it went practically without any hassle, to my own surprise! Yes i had to fiddle around with quite some things but that was mostly due to the fact of still lacking WP block editor practise and the still new GB thingy. but never thought that might run that well.
of course elementor still is much more comfortable to work with compared to the block editor. no doubt about that. but there was nothing i couldnt rebuild to have the whole site work and look the exact same way (which was the goal).
in contrary: some things went even much more better (surprisingly also). eg. the overall layout with full screen parts and such and tweaking of custom things. especially the latter was more than a breeze! where there was more than one plugin needed before to get custom grids look and work as intended, it was no prob to get it done sleek and easy with GB and TS - code output very nice, DOM reduced by more than over 50%! i guess theres still more possible.
theres no regret within the change to GB at all.
all in all i ran into remarkably less problems than i do usually while building a site with elementor… !
- resuable blocks cant be converted back to normal blocks (currently cant determine why).
- reusable blocks are hard to impossible to change afterwards. gb items arent editable again, no settings panel in the right.
- sometimes not able to save edits in editor.
(all of that might be due to something i cant determine the time being - all in all doesnt seem to GB related…)
what i love.
- the blocks a well thought construction. the container and grid concept ist simply great. loving the grid especially, more and more. great concept for achieving even complex layouts with no headache. far superior to the elementor possibilities (astonishingly).
- code output. super sleak (unless one fiddles much with nested containers )
what i’d like to see.
- global settings option for buttons (space in between, colors etc. for all buttons of a block like for grids).
- global settings that apply throughout generatepress and generateblocks (resp. wp-editor). fonts (wp-editor still does not recognize custom fonts…), colors (!), button settings etc. → my biggest whish so far.
- at least em settings for fonts thoughout GP and GB (see before).
- a place to organize and edit reusable blocks from outside the block editor (likely wp-territory?)
- dynamic features. what a breeze it would be if we could have those grids dynamic!
- better integration of toolset (or vice versa). currently all GB blocks within a toolset view get stripped of their css … big downside. //edit - o.k. there seems to be a solution meanwhile, but why not inbuildt?//
what i dont love (so far).
interestingly hasnt much to do with GB… (remember toolset)
but the editing experience from the wp editor is still far from superior. drag&drop is a ‘drag’, especially with that annoying scrolling thing - rearranging items by that is kind of trial and error. just strains nerves.
the (native) tool items are far too big - yet great for those with inferior sight, but still too big. covering content too often or just exceed the screen.
visibility of used items isnt given at all - too hard to determine which is which upon editing. without a tool that at least gives the ability to make them recognizeable on hover this is no fun. nearly the same for mobile editing - editor looses focus and settings panel states etc. still a lot to work on.
real wysiwyg is not a real strenght of the block editor too. mobile editing, preview for custom choosen breakpoints, theres still a lot to polish i suppose.
GB has the ability to shine where EL simply cant - in simplicity. no tons of (mostly unused) widgets that are partly even bad maintained, no blingbling and fancy overdose of all kinds… no. just what you need basically to build most of all this by yourself (if wanted).
some things that i still would like to see within a ‘Generate’ solution would e.g. be a simple form block thing (+90% of all websites dont need any fancy there…), a lightbox solution maybe too.
so far i simply love the concept of NOT having a lot of premade (and even prestyled) blocks or widgets - but to have the tools to make them by myself. and i pray that this concept will be well developed and maintained.
the biggest question and concern (to me) was: is there a more native alternative to pagebuilders -namely elementor- for the future? will there be a solution that might compete with the abilities of e.g. elementor without those downsides that it brings along meanwhile? will there be enough dynamic abilities too?
the answer seems to be… YES.
and while EL (and others) still might be more comfortable and easier to handle, and yes, have more possibilities - GB brings some other advantages that are more valuable and more appreciated (at least by me) than all those ‘unlimited possibilities’ of pagebuilders at first glance:
far better and leaner code output, less data load, sleek DOM - better loading times, better scores (for those who are concerned with that).
so the generate-combo already seems to be able to cover most of the (my) needs without the more and more annoying overhead and additional downsides of common pagebuilders like elementor.
in my particular case the initial page load was reduced from 1300 to 690kb, DOM reduced in average by over 50% throughout, resulting in far better load times and significant better scores over all major speed tests - especially recognizeable for mobiles. the latter also very obvious in real life. LCP issues with elementor are gone completely.
all that refers to the identical content and identical optimization of the page compared to the one with elementor! just the build is different.
further on in summary 3 plugins could be completely ditched off. nothing to regret here. just the other way round. if i had to make a comparison table, there wont be much green check marks left on the elementor side.
what i do meanwhile is, is to give the whole site a global page fade in. otherwise the content change is mostly too fast for the eye (for me).
still have to make far more experiences with GB, but the start is great. more than that: its a new hope ;).
things have to mature a bit more (especially the block editor itself!) to fill the gaps, but i have hardly any doubt that this will be only a matter of time on both sides. yet, it might be for sure faster to come true than for elementor to solve even the simplest things …
so while theres hopefully still a lot more to come - i’ll be there