Understanding the Modularization Approach to WordPress Development with Pros and Cons
Custom post types and short-codes have been a staple for admins and developers of a WordPress website. They use them to manage content types across different sections of a page.
But what are the different ways to arrange the layout?
Primarily there are two ways of arranging a website’s layout and data with the help of Advanced Custom Fields:
- Using the WordPress CMS
- Adopting a Modular Approach
In this article, we will take a look at both of them and discuss the pros and cons associated with each method.
Let’s take a look at the WordPress method first:
WordPress CMS is one of the most customizable and flexible platforms with respect to a variety of actions. These include:
- Website Templates
- Data Management in the Backend
- Page Types
- Post Types
You can present your content about a certain topic in the desired way using page templates and post types. For example, if you are creating a services page then you will probably have some or all of the elements mentioned in that page:
- Slider: Showcasing the images with relevant captions
- Information Section: A block that presents the core information with or without the images
- Existing Clients: This section consists of your existing client logos
- Testimonials: There are multiple ways to present testimonials. It can contain text, videos or more. It is a must for business websites
- Contact Form: Allows your website visitors to contact you easily
You can easily create the aforementioned blocks using the post types option. On top of that, you can code it into a particular page template and display the features in the slider or in any other way you want.
If this is so simple, then why not stick to it?
One of the major problems is that there are too many layouts available. And because many layouts share the same elements or features, it can be overwhelming to manage multiple layouts.
What if you wanted to create multiple pages for different services and you had to create multiple page templates to accommodate each service. What will you do? You will need in-depth knowledge of PHP to do it yourself or find an expert who can help you make relevant changes to achieve the desired layout. Right?
What happens next?
In a pre-existing layout, the changes can be made using a template file. For this purpose, we can use an ACF plugin.
What is an ACF plugin?
Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) is a WordPress plugin. You can use it to create additional content fields to the existing WordPress edit screens. To keep things simple, these fields are often referred to as Custom Fields and can expedite the website creation process.
The default layout in WordPress consists of:
- Navigation Menu
But with the help of Custom fields, you can add custom sections and follow a unique nomenclature.
Now, let’s take a look at the alternative – The Modular Approach
Most users are unsatisfied with template-based content management systems. The problem is that these template-driven systems do not give you the control you need. Developers are handcuffed by the capabilities of a template.
If you want to have more control, what will you do?
You can make things easier by having parts of templates at your disposal. The idea of populating these pieces with relevant content accompanied with easy to establish rules is the basis of modular web design.
How does the modular approach work?
When components of content like text, images, videos, forms and more are segregated, they are termed as modules. Bringing them together allows you to create a dynamic layout. What’s best is that these modules do not interfere with the functioning of other modules.
Moving from the traditional ‘managing templates’ to ‘design and management of design and content pieces’ makes things easier. By breaking down pages into different parts it is possible to create new combinations of design and content.
Using ACF to build Modules
Developers get additional fields in ACF like Flexible Content field and Repeater field. These allow them to create custom modules and provide content developers more flexibility in the way the modules are ordered. In a nutshell, flexible content in small numbers and templates can render new types of pages. For more information about building the module and creating PHP templates click here.
Here are a few use cases of ACF
- Relationship: This field can help in selecting featured posts. Users can select specific posts to feature rather than sticking to default settings, tags, recent posts or a category.
- Gallery Field: It is a great way to feature a photo gallery. It can be used to regularly share pictures of events and activities conducted by your brand.
- Repeater: If there is repeating data like logo grid, icons with text etc., then repeater is a great feature to have on your website.
Pros of building Modules with ACF
- More control: Due to evolving analytics tools, marketers need to make changes to their website on a regular basis. Poorly configured websites make their job difficult. With Modules, you can assemble pages with ease and have more control.
- Easy to create and modify: Modules are independent of each other. So, you can edit the sections on a regular basis and see what approach works for your brand. It is easy to create and modify without long gaps in the redesign process.
- Simple processes: Since each Module has a separate styling, it renders properly in the frontend. You also have the freedom to rearrange the elements of the pages as and when required.
- Coding: As things progress, the code becomes more streamlined. It is clean and has a well-structured layout. For developers, it becomes easier to maintain it as the code is divided into separate Modules.
- Convenience: If one Module is being modified, it does not affect any other modules. If a Module is being used across different pages, the developer doesn’t have to deal with each page individually. Alteration on the page will reflect the change in other pages as well.
- Faster deployment: Websites based on Modular approach can be developed and deployed quickly. You can launch the website at its very basic and still be open to unique redesigns thanks to hundreds of page possibilities with as few as 5 Modules. The Modules can be reused multiple times on several pages.
Cons of building Modules with ACF
- Since a Module is shared across pages, it is not possible to follow a global layout or style on the website
- In case the developer wants to add or remove certain elements from the Module, they will have to think creatively and plan the changes in advance
- If a module is edited unintendedly, then the changes are reflected in all the pages where that particular module is being used
To wrap up
WordPress is one of the most customizable CMS solutions and offers a myriad of tools that make processes like SEO seem easy. With the modular approach, eCommerce options can be integrated with WordPress for any application and in any capacity.
Let’s get things moving
Get your website built in the Modular way. Let’s get things moving. To know more email us at [email protected] or visit our website.