Grids is a layout builder for WordPress, entirely based on the new Block Editor, that’s now part of the platform.
Before its adoption in Core, WordPress has relied for more than a decade on what we now call the Classic Editor. The Classic Editor delivered a basic writing experience and, frankly, it always fell short at creating anything more than flowing text.
That’s how page builders were born: they were created out of necessity to fill a gap between visual mockups and the actual, finished website.
We’ve built one ourselves too! It’s called Brix, it’s still alive and well to this day, and has helped us creating beautiful themes and completing numerous client projects.
It has been an amazing journey, that enriched us on so many levels, and deeply taught us how to manage layouts in WordPress.
Yet, when the Block Editor was released, we felt like it was time to try and do something new. So, with the knowledge that we acquired through the development of Brix, we decided to take the leap of faith of creating something on top of the Block Editor, React, and all that jazz.
We’ve released Grids on the WordPress plugins repository for a variety of reasons. We’d like to single out two of them:
- We wanted to create a tool that could work perfectly together with all the other plugins that are being developed and released for the Block Editor.
- We wanted to get some feedback out of our efforts of diving in this new world of opportunities made available within WordPress.
Point number 1 hides probably the primary reason as to why Grids came to be. No matter how well designed and developed, page builders always end up locking users in, and the more you use them, as a web agency, or as a final client, the harder it gets to potentially stop using them one day.
Grids only takes care of the page layout – sections, columns, margins, etc. – but consciously chooses to keep away from the actual page content.
One may think of this as a weak point, but we think it’s actually Grids’ biggest strength because it enables the plugin to look beyond its horizon, and fully unlock the power of having a vast ecosystem of plugins working in the same direction, on the same platform.
In this context, both end users and developers win.
A bleeding edge foundation
Grids leverages the power of CSS grid.
CSS grid still sounds like a new, relatively known concept, but if we reverse the arrow of time for a second, we will find out that it’s actually been out in the wild for a good while.
In the beginning there where tables, then it was the time of floats and then came Flex, which enabled a whole series of visual controls that simply weren’t possible before.
With CSS grid, we’re now in a place where support is good enough to be actually implemented on real websites. And, for a tool as flexible as Grids aims to be, this changes the rules of the game completely.
Grids is able to compose visually complex layouts with ease and with as little HTML and style as possible. More so, we feel that Grids is able to give us a sense of control over our design that no builder could ever do.
Choosing CSS grid isn’t about wanting to use the latest cool thing available, at all costs: it’s simply about choosing the best tool for the job.
Education isn’t something you can finish.
– Isaac Asimov
The best thing that you can do right now is download Grids and give it a try.
It’s been regularly updated, and with the ever-growing amount of blocks made available from other plugins, chances are you won’t be bored at all exploring the possibilities that the Block Editor puts at your disposal.
Is Grids the definitive layout builder for WordPress? Oh, it would be so nice to say that about Grids, but we’re not that presumptuous. One thing is for sure, though: we’re working towards making it better and better, adding just about the right features, and making it as compatible and widespread as possible.
There will always be room for improvement. Just like the quote from good ol’ Isaac at the beginning of this chapter, a good product isn’t something you finish, either: you build it over time, with ideas, hard work and listening to your people.
Is Grids perfect? Of course not! But you can make it better by testing it, using it and, why not, suggesting new features yourself.
It’ll be great to have you on board for the ride!