For weeks if not months, Elegant Themes has been teasing it's users about the upcoming Divi release. October 17th brought the much anticipated release of not only Divi 4, but their much overdue Theme Builder feature.
You can read their official announcement here: Divi 4.0 Has Arrived!
First off, we are very happy to see Elegant Themes finally play catch up to some of the other page builders out there like Elementor with their Theme Builder. It's been long overdue.
Elegant Themes describes the Divi Theme Builder as:
"a fully-featured website templating system that allows you to use the Divi Builder to structure your website and edit any part of the Divi Theme including headers, footers, post templates, category templates and more. Each Theme Builder template consists of a custom Header, Footer and Body layout. These three areas can be built and customized using the Divi Builder and its full set of modules along with Dynamic Content."
A quick look over Divi's menu options shows the new Theme Builder feature. When you click on the Theme Builder it loads to the builder. Divi has a Default Website Template that includes a Global Header, Global Body, and Global Footer sections where you can build sections that will display everywhere. This default template cannot be deleted, however the individual global sections can be.
One of the first things you'll find when you go to start building these sections is that Elegant Themes has included no pre-made templates for the Header or Footer areas, this is disappointing. So you'll have to build those from scratch for now. The good news is that you can easily add prebuilt sections from your library.
A found several spacing issues with padding and margins when building out the header and footer areas. The footer area seems to be a little more user friendly as we were able to duplicate our footer almost identically.
However the header is a different story. Overall it's clunky. When you add the only menu module that divi has, it does not display anywhere close to the default menu. The example below is after tweaking the settings. In order to get this to properly center align, you'll have to add some CSS. This will be disappointing to those who have a custom styled CTA in their menu. You could work around this by removing the CTA and adding a button module in.
We like the fact that Elegant Themes is finally adding these features. Being able to customize all areas of a website, especially the Header and Footer and being able to make them unique for each individual page/post is a must these days. Custom sites are the norm, so in this regard, we welcome Divi 4 and it's theme builder.
With that being said, we feel like ET rushed this feature set in order to play catch up to other page/theme builders. We feel like ET could have done much better and made the theme building process smoother and less clunky. So in the end, we feel like Divi 4 barely hits the mark with it's current theme builder release.
We hope to see ET improve upon the foundations they've laid and that the builder gets better. We still love Divi and would still recommend it's use as a solid Theme and Builder for WordPress.