The Layout Builder for the end-user

First, the user needs to install Theme Blvd Layout Builder from the WordPress plugin repository.

Note: This plugin is only required if your theme contains framework v2.2+ — If your theme has an earlier framework version, then this functionality is already built into your theme.

And here are some video tutorials that show how to use the layout builder from your WordPress admin panel. These videos are meant for the the beginner end-user. They may be helpful to provide to your client after you’ve set up the site for them.

The layout builder is a pretty simple thing for the end-user. It allows them to create a custom layout that can then be applied to a static page or the homepage. This is not any kind of re-usable template. Each layout is intended for a single use to be used with one page.

Manage Layouts

First, the user goes to the Builder section.

In this screenshot, many layouts have already been created by the user.

Add New Layout

When the user clicks the “Add New” tab, they can create a new layout. They can select a sample layout as a starting point or start the layout from scratch.

Configure Layout Elements

After the user initially adds their new layout, they’re then forwarded to the page where they can configure their layout elements. They can also get back to this page by going to the Builder page and clicking to edit the layout in the future.

You can see in the screenshot that the Layout Builder provides two sections to hold the user’s elements – “Featured” and “Primary”. Any elements added to the featured area will be displayed up above the content, while the elements in the primary area will be displayed within the content to fall in line with the chosen sidebar layout.

Apply the Layout

After the user has created their custom layout, it can then be assigned to a static page by selecting the “Custom Layout” page template and then selecting the custom layout to assign.

Homepage Layout

There are two ways the user can potentially use a custom layout created with the Layout Builder as their homepage. It can be argued which way would be the most logical depending on what exactly you’re setting up.

The first way would make most sense if the user’s custom layout only contains static elements, and not elements that display posts. So once the user has applied the layout to a static page, they can then apply that static page as they would with applying any static page as the homepage.

To do that, the user goes to Settings > Reading > Front page displays, select “a static page” and selects that page.

The second way would be for the user to leave Settings > Reading > Front page displays set to “your latest posts” and then select the custom layout from the Theme Options page.

So why the two different methods? — To be honest, in the original design of the framework, custom layouts were meant to be assigned as the homepage solely with the first method of assigning a static page.

Well, it wasn’t soon after I started selling the first theme built with the framework, Swagger, that I ran into the classic old WordPress static frontpage pagination bug. Sure, I’ve seen little hacks here and there to combat it, but basically the gist is that if you have a static page with paginated posts, and you set it as your static frontpage, pagination will not work — i.e when clicking to go to the next page of posts, you’ll get a 404.

I think if you talk to many people in the WordPress community, they would tell you this is not a bug, which is fair. From that perspective, a WordPress homepage can either display posts or be a static page. So, why on earth would you apply a static page and then be disappointed when pagination for displaying posts doesn’t work?

Well in this case, you can see that by using the Layout Builder, you can extend the capabilities of WordPress. While the homepage might just list out the posts by default, you could theoretically extend that further by adding other elements around your posts being displayed. This is how you’d use the layout builder to extend the classic “blog”.

So, either method will work just fine. However, if the user’s custom layout uses a paginated element, they must go the route of having Settings > Reading > Frontpage displays set to “your latest posts” and then selecting the custom layout from the Theme Options.