This tutorial uses a basic theme and shows how to create a one page scrolling web site. Here is my effort ( work in progress !)
So anyway, here are my thoughts on Visual Composer so far:
- Rapid development, once you get the hang of it.
- No need for CSS/HTML skills ( in theory at least)
- Good for inspiration, trying out ideas etc kind of like the ultimate mock up tool ?
- Comes with loads of neat ‘building blocks’
- It’s actually quite fun to use once you get going with it
- Very messy HTML code with inline CSS settings all over the place. This matters when it comes to trouble shooting and maintenance.
- ‘Vendor Lockin’ … if you /ever/ disable the plugin your site will stop working.
- Endless clicking and dragging and reloading( works best with two monitors)
- Documentation is not great, there are mainly just a load of YouTube videos with annoying music !
- Relies on the WordPress short code API ( Don’t believe me ?… have a look at the raw text content of a page or post) This could be slow, although cache plugins would help. The bigger issue is perhaps that short codes are just that; code not content. Mixing code and content, goes against the whole point of using a CMS
- Does not fully integrate with WordPress development ethos , e.g. PHP template replaced with custom queries .
- Inevitably when building sites for other people, they will eventually ask for something that Visual Composer can’t do… then what ? Best dig out that CSS book 🙂
Visual Composer does come with some advanced features such as custom query building and templates. If you were coding a theme you would use the appropriately named template file and build the page using PHP, which would infact be a lot easier!
There is obviously a market for this sort of plugin. I think its main strength is that developers can integrate it into their themes and allow their end user greater flexibility.
The funny thing is that the sort of user who would be attracted to a WYSIWYG Web development system is the sort of user who is bound to run into problems or limitations and not know how to fix them ! This is another area where developers can try to make money, by charging for support services I guess.