I have been evaluating block-based themes and builders over the past couple of years and trying to move away from Avada, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t. Out of the box, Avada provides so many useful features that require a lot of extra work in other tools that I just end up gravitating toward “easy.” For a newcomer, Avada is probably not easier than any other tool, but once you are familiar with it, the path to completion is so much more streamlined.
My new site, FlyingW Creative Services, is my entry into the world of an agency site supporting WordPress. Using my experience in government focused on accessibility and plain language, I hope to contribute to other government organizations, small businesses, and non-profits. If all goes well, this will become a full-blown agency providing all of the services you would expect — design, development, and management — with a target staff of no more than twenty.
Gutenberg wherever possible
Like this site, the new site will use Gutenberg and blocks where ever possible. I am using Wicked Blocks Builder and Pinegrow to bring some custom blocks to this site and the new site. Gutenberg is the future, and I suspect it is only a matter of time before Avada will adapt or a new “Avada” is released to take its place. I hope for the latter so all the legacy features needed for backward compatibility can be jettisoned. Using Gutenberg instead of builder features for the basics minimizes the technical debt when it comes time to move on.
The builder dilemma
As I mentioned at the beginning, I am using Avada for this new site, but that was after a rather long period of evaluating other tools. I was leaning heavily toward using GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks, but it lacks so many basic things that I do not feel like developing. Additionally, I looked at Bricks Builder, Breakdance, Core WordPress, Kadence, and GreenShift all of which have their strengths, but their weaknesses are why I am back to Avada.
What Avada offers that others don’t (yet)
- Familiarity with the builder. This is the primary differentiator.
- Custom font management – while not ideal, it is built in and works
- Adobe font support – this is new but needed
- Social sharing – needs work
- Variable support
- Unlimited global colors (GeneratePress and Bricks do this better)
- Table of contents – this feature is available in other tools, but the new implementation is quite nice
- Off-canvas builder
Where Avada is lacking
I can’t write that Avada is perfect, nor is it the solution to every website project, as there are some key limitations and missing features. This is my latest top 10 list, including the builders that do it better.
- Support for Gutenberg blocks (GeneratePress)
- The legacy container and column approach is too limiting (GenerateBlocks or Bricks)
- Support for CSS Grid (Bricks)
- Background images and gradients (all other builders)
- Font management needs enhancement and needs to support variable fonts
- Global color management (GeneratePress and Bricks)
- Modern CSS values and variable support (Bricks)
- Better support for the Events Calendar (Avada coming soon)
- Enhanced query loop (all other builders)
- Ability to name all containers, columns, and blocks in the navigator (Bricks)
In the spirit of openness, I am building the site in Bricks as a parallel initiative to teach myself the ins and outs of the builder. My familiarity with Avada makes me more productive, but generally speaking, Bricks is a better builder.
Originally published on March 5, 2023
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