Page Builder Sandwich is a new light-weight and free Page Building plugin for WordPress. It is designed to work with any WordPress theme and has been tested "with lot of themes including themes from the WordPress.org theme repository, Genesis Themes, StudioPress Themes, Elegant Themes and themes from ThemeForest."
It allows you to edit your WordPress posts and pages on the front-end, making layout and text changes as you go and saving them back to your site. Unlike other similar plugins, PB Sandwich doesn't bloat your site with lots of extra code and lock you into using it forever by littering your posts with a mess of shortcodes.
In this post I will be taking a look at how the plugin functions and how easy it is to edit your pages in real-time.
- Click & Type - Just click and start typing to add text. No need to understand code.
- Drag & Drop - Control your text, images, layouts, rows and other elements all by drag and drop.
- Undo - Made a typo? No problemo. You can undo changes through the familiar ctrl+z (or command+z, for macs).
- Paste URLs to show content - Including a video is easy peasy. Just paste in the URL and you’re done. It works with YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram & more.
- Clutter-free - Enjoy our clean interface without any annoying popups, and your content is kept clean with minimal shortcode-clutter.
- Easy Shortcodes - For experienced WordPress users, see your actual rendered shortcodes while editing. Your changes will be reflected on-the-fly. What you see is truly what you get.
- Background Images for rows & columns
- Parallax & video backgrounds for rows & columns
- Live editable carousels
- Design modules / templates. Stuff like a call to action header, a set of icons & feature descriptions, a group of testimonials etc. These are your typical design elements commonly found in sites.
Using The Plugin
The plugin is super simple to set up - upload and activate the plugin and you are good to go! To start using it, you must have the admin tool bar enabled, if you dont you can visit "Users" > "Your Profile" and tick the "Show Toolbar when viewing site" box.
Now if you visit any page or post on the front-end of your site you will see a blue "Edit With Page Builder Sandwich" button.
Clicking this will open up the page builder so you can make live changes to the page.
Editing a Page
Once you have activated the plugin on your chosen page, you will see that it loads up on the left hand side with all your formatting tools within a scrolling pane.
At the top you will find your text formatting tools, you can use these to control things like bold, italic, alignment, inserting links and so on as if you were using the normal post editor. Underneath you can change the type of text from paragraphs, headings, lists and quotes. To use the text tools, simply click on an area of text within the page - you will see editable areas as they highlight in orange. You can change anything within the page content, but not outside it - so not the sidebar, footer and header areas.
The spacing tools allow you to increase or decrease top and bottom spacing on elements, increase the line heigh or reset your margins.
You can use the plugin to create layouts within your page by adding rows and columns, you can then add content within these to create layouts not normally possible using the WordPress post editor. Here you can see I've added 3 columns which contain headings and lists:
If you then check in the source code of the post editor, you will see that these have been added using the correct HTML code ( other plugins sometimes use shortcodes for basci HTML formatting).
You can also edit any media embedded in your page - you can add galleries, images and videos to the page and use the page builder to edit them, add captions and so on.
To get a feel for the plugin, there are a number of videos on the website which will show you the plugin in action including how to and and edit content, how they created their own site using the plugin and so on.
The plugin is free to download from the official WordPress directory and you also have the option of upgrading to a premium version on their website which includes more tools and features, updates and full support from the publisher. Pricing is set at $59 for one site or $89 for multiple websites.
I liked this plugin - while at the moment it's quite basic, feature-wise, compared to some of the competitor plugins its aiming to take on I think it's got great potential. From what I've seen using the plugin and some of the comments on the website and support threads it looks like its aiming to be a light-weight plugin which doesn't bloat your site up with lots of custom shortcodes which will tie you into using the plugin forever or losing the content you have created.
The content is added by placing divs into your page content and then styles them, meaning if you deactivate the plugin you will be left with some divs which you can remove by hand or style yourself - you wont be left with a big mess of shortcodes which will show up on the front-end of your site.
At the moment, the plugin allows you to create basic formatting and layouts for your pages / posts which are not currently achievable using the regular WordPress post editor - That's great for beginners who dont know how to code custom CSS to achieve this and the plugin is very easy to use.
I like the sound of the planned additions to the plugin - background images for sections, video backgrounds, carousels all sound like solid additions. Also planned are some design elements such as testimonials, icons and call to action buttons, these will allow you to design more complex layouts and landing pages.
I'll be keeping an eye on this plugin, give it a try if you are looking for a basic but light-weight way to edit your pages on the front-end of your site.