MultiLayout Themes: WP-PageBuilder Framework

MultiLayout Themes are changing profoundly how WordPress Page and Post Designs are done. This website has covered the trend and our companion Web Development site has recently looked at some of the major players. This review  of  WP-PageBuilder Framework will be the start of an ongoing set of reviews about MultiLayout Themes [ML-Themes] as they appear on the marketplace.

But first let us look at some of the key features we are seeing in ML-Themes:

  1. The ML-Theme should work with any PageBuilder – some ML-Themes are tied to a specific PageBuilder
  2. The ML-Theme controls the appearance of header elements, footer elements and/or sidebars  on a site wide basis or on any page/post
  3. The ML-Theme controls the width  dimension plus fullwidth vs boxed settings of the body container on a site wide basis or on any page/post
  4. The ML-Theme  controls  the colors, typography,  and spacing  settings on a site wide basis or on any page/post
  5. The ML-Theme controls the appearance of header fields like menu, logo, ad banner, social media, search bar, website title, etc on a site wide basis or on any page/post
  6. The ML-Theme  controls the appearance of  page/post content  fields such as title, author, publish date, visit and comments count, tags and categories, etc on a site wide basis or on any page/post
  7. The ML-Theme controls the use of topbar,  breadcrumbs, mega menu plus sticky,  transparent and/or vertical orientation of header attributes on a site wide basis or on any page/post
  8. The ML-Theme controls  the  triggering of  popups or slide in sidebars by  scrolling position  or on page mouse movement , hovering  or clicks  on a site wide basis or on any page/post

Note the “or on any page/post” condition – this means for any page, post or custom post type, users can  decide the listed settings. This gives developers total command of the themes layout and design. In effect this takes theme customization to  new level of  capability. This is a formidable list of  ML-Theme features . Also note that some ML-Themes come with a favored  or exclusive PageBuilder. For example,  Total , which currently leads in  delivering many [but certainly not all  of customization  features.] comes with a custom copy of Visual Composer.  So lets see how WP-PageBuilder Framework performs.

What WP-PageBuilder Framework Delivers

After installing on a localhost development machine, WPBF => WP-PageBuilder Framework displayed our test graphics with aplomb:
This is actually a good test because many “pseudo” ML-Themes flunk this first test because they have a favored slider and even positioning of the slider on a page. SO WPBF start off well. And the customize command shows a list of site wide settings:

  • Color settings for accents, sidebar background, buttons including hover state, background color or image;
  • Container width in pixels and boxed or full width;
  • Sidedbar left/right/none  and ReadMore text/button settings;
  • Blog Listing/Single Post/Category/Archive page visible/hidden setting for  title, featured image, metadata,  categories, tags,  ReadMore button, comments;
  • Header settings for background color, Logo/Title position and text color, menu left or right and text color, search field/none; submenu width, background color, text color,  positioning and padding; Mobile menu icon, and size, color position;
  • Topbar presence and size, background color, text size and color;
  • Footer background color plus text size and color;
  • Scripting to appear in head block, at start of body, in the footer block either CSS or JavaScript.

WPBF works with any PageBuilder but does not control site wide appearance of header or footer nor  typography or spacing values. Nor doe WPBF allow control by scrolling or mouse of popups or slide-in sdebars. In sum WPBF site wide controls are above  average for ML-Themes and as we shall see below the Pro edition helps to fill in the blanks.

As for Page and Post specific settings, the good news is that WPBF supports custom post types. However,  WPBF has some settings that apply to pages only as shown below:

  • for specific  pages or posts  one can setleft/right/no sidebar, fullwidth or boxed content;
  • for specific pages or posts once set title or no title but thatis the only Page and posts meta data users can trol on specific pages;
  • for specific  pages only one can set header/no header, footer/no footer.

WPBF does not have a lot of page and post specific settings. Again there is no control over scrolling or mouse control of popups or in-sliding side bars. There is minimal control of header, footer  and content page attributes. Likewise there is no page or post specific settings for colors, typography, spacing etc; but many of these features can be set by the PageBuilder being used with the WPBF theme.  And there is  a number of premium features available from WPBF for $58US/year for use on unlimited website and $198US for unlimited websites and lifetime updates plus support :

  • header stickiness and transparency
  • menu variations, mega menus, and mobile menu variations
  • hooks and shortcodes for finer control of header and footer content such as social media and metablocks
  • breadcrumbs through Yoast plugin or PHP code change
  • Custom fonts and custom menus extensions in PHP
  • Export/import theme settings

Lets look at the  hooks and shortcodes feature because WPBF already provides a very helpful map on any page thru the WP Adminbar command Display Theme Hooks:
This makes it a lot simpler for PHP coders to add the shortcodes to provide additional capabilities to WPBF. Yes, I know this goes against the  PageBuilder ethos of “no coding required”; but developers will see opportunity to provide added multilayout features.

Summary

WPBF – WP-PageBuilder Framework is a good and free introduction to what is possible with a MultiLayout Theme. I like that WPBF is not tied to a specific PageBuilder and has fairly simple controls, especially for page and post specific layout designs. If you are just getting started with MultiLayout designs, try free WPBF with any of 3 free PageBuilders –  Beaver Builder Lite, Elementor, or Site Origin. Its a great intro to rapid WordPress UI Design.