Theme builders are applications that work with WordPress and let you design and develop websites even without programming knowledge. Instead of writing of thousands of lines of code, you’d be designing your site on an editor that resembles your WP dashboard.
Flexibility and freedom, these buzzwords lead to the development of Theme Builders to help design your site. We all know the freedom WordPress offers the user to make your site look the way you want, but there are still some restrictions. You can tweak here and there, but the basic framework remains static.
What Theme Builders offer you is total control over the framework itself. Change the size, colour, font, reduce header, add widget… you name it, you can do it! And, what’s more, redesigning your site gets as simple as dragging, dropping and adjusting – size, colour, font, location.
Take for example one of the most popular themes – the “Twenty Eleven”. It is a really nice layout, but the header image is a hassle; and even though you might fill it with solid colour or remove the image, your site would not look good because the theme was designed for a landing page with a header image. So, what do you do? You need a theme that looks more or less like Twenty Eleven, but without the header image. Perhaps, you’d like some widgets on top instead.
Using theme builders you can tweak the header space in Twenty Eleven to give you more space for widgets right on top of your page. What Theme Builders do is this: The complicated method of designing a site has been reduced to an array of buttons, radio boxes, palettes and a drawing board. And, you can drag-drop and point-click our way to designing our site to wear a theme that is essentially entirely designed by you.
Here are some of the most common Theme Builders, each offering different levels of support and flexibility.
The Elegant Themes Builder is a plugin that provides some incredible tools for structuring the content on your page. The plugin creates a visual drag-and-drop canvas where you can add, arrange and re-size advanced elements on your page. This builder appears below the normal text editor when you create a post or page, creating a unique canvas for each. The builder allows to you quickly create columns, sliders, tabs, buttons, toggles, boxes and so much more.
The next one in the pipeline is Catalyst. We tried that out along with its child theme, Dynamik. When you get past the threshold and into the real editor, brace yourself. You are going to be in for a real shocker. Although Catalyst is real easy once you get settled, the initial moments are quite a tough hurdle. All the same, in a matter of hours you’d be playing around with ease. It definitely has more editing options than Headway. You can design every pixel of your page. It is quite hassle-free to handle and highly responsive in other devices like tablets and smart phones. Core Options do not give you much scope for creativity, but when you get to Dynamik options, there are literally hundreds of radio boxes and palettes you can use to alter the look of your site. What we found to be really striking is the amazingly developed NavBar functionality. NavBar is what helps your visitor interact with your site and it has been crafted really well with options to link your Twitter handle on your NavBar directly. Priced at 127$, it offers updates for life and a “30-day Money Back Guarantee” in case you are not satisfied with the product.
The third one we explored is Ultimatum. The theme is a drag-and-drop product. The ease of use is the most striking feature of Ultimatum. You wouldn’t be able to draw boxes, but you will be given the boxes, all you need to do is drop them into the field where you want them. And, once you drop them, the automatic prompt to customize helps you design the particular feature. You don’t have child themes for Ultimatum, but you do have Templates that you can build upon to create your site. You also have several Ultimatum-developed widgets like Ultimatum Slider, Ultimatum Twitter, and so on that you can drag-drop into your widget area. The SEO Options give you the option to tweak the site’s SEO settings and allow you to control search engines results about your page. The settings comprise – Document Title; Document Head; Robots Meta; Archives. Just like other theme builders, Ultimatum has made this highly responsive on other mobile devices. Priced at $65 for a Starter’s License that includes permission for one site for a lifetime; it costs $125 for Developers’ License for unlimited sites for lifetime with template import-export. And, here’s the biggie – $170 for a Designer’s License that also lets you sell your themes on the Ultimatum Market.
iThemes Builder lets you create WordPress sites quickly and easily by creating your own layouts.
Modernize is a new era of wordpress theme. You can discover many new awesome features in this theme. For example ‘Page Builder’, it allow you to create page easily by drag-drop module.
Visual Composer for WordPress will save you tons of time working on the site content. Now you’ll be able to create complex layouts within minutes! It’s build on top of the Twitter Bootstrap and jQuery UI framework – get the best from world leading experts!
PageLines have released an advanced version of their most popular drag and drop framework. New Pagelines Framework is now fully integrated with Twitter Bootstrap, LESS CSS processing that too live, new shortcode library, improved responsive grid system, new drag and drop sections and many other enhancements.
All in all, it differs from person to person. We felt the drag-and-drop theme builders are easier to work on rather than the Catalyst-like builders. However, they don’t give you as many options or the freedom to design extensively. Nevertheless, Catalyst is really good for seasoned programmers to have a freeway into designing, whereas Elegant Themes Builder/Ultimatum can be put to good use by people who cannot code to create lovely websites.
Finally, if you are creative and want to start designing your own site, there is nothing stopping you now. You can take a parent theme and tweak the design to suit your needs or if you are really creative, you can very well craft your very own theme right from scratch.
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