I am a big fan of Divi from Elegant themes. No it’s not perfect but it pushes all of the right buttons for independent bloggers and marketers:
- Create new designs quickly
- Easy to use
- No coding required
- Visual editing
Up till now there have been a few shortcomings. If you wanted to edit category pages or header or footer templates you needed to go find the php pages and edit those. Just like most themes.
Now Divi is a theme editor not just a page editor. This is huge.
Divi 4.0 New Features
Theme Builder vs. Page Builder
The overall direction of the 4.0 release is to establish Divi as a theme builder. Elegant Themes has given Divi the ability to design all areas of your website with Divi features. Now everything can be created with Divi.
Create Sitewide Templates
Now you can manage all parts of your website. It makes total sense that you design your category pages, search result pages, archives, tags, homepages, 404 pages all with Divi.
Templates can be applied in very flexible ways. To all pages, specific pages, some categories, etc. Combined with exclusion and assignment capabilities you have total control of every item on any page.
Import & Export Theme Builder Paks
One of my favorite capabilities of Divi was the ability to import and export components and layouts. It is a real time saver and it lets third parties create layout paks. Well, now you are able to export and import the theme builder paks. So you can export your 404 pages, post templates, category page templates, etc. This will be a real time saver when setting up new sites using existing designs.
WooCommerce Product Templates
The WooCommerce support got a huge upgrade in 4.0. You can now create site-wide WooCommerce templates that will control the look of all products on your site.
You will not need to design individual product pages. The template will do that for you.
With dynamic content, you are able to merge information into a template. For instance, if you want your logo in the footer. Dynamic content can be used inside the text area of any module.
Combined with a post tempalte you could create a sitewide post layout that had the featured image and Post title strategically positioned along with tag or category, author, comments, etc.
Site-Wide Global Design
Global defaults let you apply fonts, colors, text sizes and more to every single module you add to every single page. I can’t tell you how many times I have decided to update a design and had to visit each module on every page to change the H2 font or ordered list style, font color, etc., Now, for instance, you can modify your default button or header styles and your entire website gets updated. You don’t have to go and edit every single button and header module.
This is another reason to always use good structure when creating content. With Divi, you can now have a clean, consistent, professional-looking site-wide design.
Divi 4.0 Changelog
The actual change log for Divi 4.0 is over 200 items long. For the gearheads reading here is a link to the official Divi changelog …
No theme or environment is perfect. It comes down to what works best for your business application.
Divi gets some criticism, from developers in particular. Let’s take a look at the Divi downsides to get a full picture of the product.
Divi is Slow
Prosociate, which is a Divi site loads in just about 1/2 second.
That is plenty fast. The performance grade is a result of my compression type I only worry about actual load times.
If you are having trouble with the performance of a Divi site I would look at …
- Page Size
- Graphic Sizes and GZip or other compression
- Video and other controllers
- Hosting Plan
We have a post discussing way to improve your WordPress site performance.
Divi is Too Flexible
Users can easily get themselves into design trouble with easy control over layout, fonts, colors, animation, etc. It is like when people could start using fonts instead of a typewriter. Many documents started to resemble a ransom note. Clean elegant design went out the window.
Divi facilitates good design it does not create taste or design skills. This is an organizational and training issue – not a Divi issue. It would be like blaming a new artist for trying to paint with every color on their pallet. Don’t blame the color selection blame the untrained artist.
Divi 4.0 now helps create a consistent design with Global properties. You can change all of your heading font and color globally for instance along with other style characteristics.
Divi Locks Your Content to its Shortcodes
This issue definitely has validity. If you create a huge site with many pages using the Divi builder you will have pages full of Divi proprietary shortcodes. Shortcodes are used by many plugins and other systems. They are enclosed in square brackets like this [shortcode example] and are instruction for proprietary code. If you want to change themes it will be a project. Divi doesn’t trap your text in its system but the design of your pages will be locked to Divi. You can always get the text into the new system but you will need templates and CSS to do what Divi did easily for you with their shortcodes.
You also have the option of layering Divi Builder on top of your new theme. Divi Builder is a plugin that comes with your annual membership. It can work with most themes and brings Divi functionality to another vendor’s theme. Divi Builder will let you change themes, add new content in the default editor but have your Divi theme pages work the way they always did.
Divi is Buggy, Bloated, Times-out, etc.
These types of comments and complaints are very subjective. Software will have bugs. You will need to have an appropriate environment for products like Divi to work. Engineers will have preferences and biases. Open software like WordPress plugins and themes will have conflicts.
There is no doubt that a custom theme can be leaner than a product like Divi. Custom themes, however, come with their own major issues of …
- Updating and maintenance
- CSS and php knowledge needed
- High total cost of ownership
I measure a product on how it works for my application and environment, and how well the company resolves any issues that come up.
I have had a few minor issues that were quickly resolved by support. The fact that I am running Divi on dozens of sites and may contact support once per year is telling.
Divi 4.0 Pros and Cons
Unlimited design flexibility
Controls headers, footers, templates now
No CSS or PHP skills required
Most popular theme – lots of support
100’s of free design examples
Ecosystem of 3rd-party addons and layouts
Propretary shortcodes in your content
Should You Become a Divi User?
The ideal Divi user is someone who …
- Wants page and post design flexibility
- Needs to easily build templates
- Wants to manage header/footer and category pages
- Does not have CSS or PHP resources without hiring
- Has CSS and PHP knowledge but has more important tasks.
- Has many sites to license.
If this describes you definately consider Divi . You are in good company with thousands of users and a large 3rd-party ecosystem to help with any Divi related issue.
The best thing about Divi is the freedom. You want to create a landing page with a totally unique design – just do it. No need to call the front-end expert. You want to change your post template or footer, no need to know PHP.
What's the best new Divi 4 feature?
Divi 4 adds the ability to style all pages including category pages, 404 pages, search result page and more. Making it a theme builder, not just a page builder.
Is Divi 4 a charged upgrade?
Divi is part of the Elegant Themes subscription. All current members get a free upgrade.
Why do people like Divi?
Anyone can design a new page in Divi -- no need for a frontend developer.
Are there any Divi downsides?
DIVI uses shortcodes to control the design of your pages. These shortcodes will not be compatible with another theme if you leave Divi.
Divi 4.0 Wrap Up
Divi 4.0 is revolutionary. The ability to design all of my site pages and templates in Divi is a big time saver. In the past, I would need to edit multiple PHP files to deal with header and footer design. I would need to create a new PHP template if I wanted to have custom category pages. Another PHP file for post design. Then create CSS for all of those pages.
Divi has always worked well for me from a licensing standpoint. They allow you to have an unlimited number of sites using Divi. The pricing is an annual membership style with an optional lifetime membership. It includes access to Divi, Extra, Bloom & Monarch and lots of website and layout paks. One year is $89 and the lifetime is $249
WooCommerce sites will get a huge boost in functionality with global control over product page design. And all sites will be able to have very granular control over the look of different sections of the site with assignments and exclusions.
No longer will you need to edit PHP templates and go crazy with CSS.
Divi 4.0 to the rescue.