LiveCanvas Review - A WordPress Builder for Developers
Mohammed Wasim Akram
First Published on:
May 20, 2021
Last Updated on:
July 1, 2021
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If you're a web developer who loves to hand-code websites instead of using flashy WordPress page builders due to poor code output, slow performance, and inflexibility issues then LiveCanvas can become your best friend as it allows you to edit the main HTML and CSS right from the editor.
I used to be a Pro-Elementor user for multiple years but due to slow website performance and bad support, I started looking for alternative WordPress builders when I found a few great options, and LiveCanvas is one of them.
LiveCanvas is a very unique Bootstrap 5 Based WordPress builder that allows you to create beautiful page layouts using the pure HTML structure and Bootstrap CSS Framework, the best is that it allows you to edit the pages either using the regular page editor or the code editor window where you can edit the Main HTML and Global CSS, unlike any other website builders.
It also allows you to download the HTML files of created pages to use them on any other project even if it's a Non-WordPress website, the pages built using the LiveCanvas stay intact even if you deactivate and remove the LC plugin.
In this section, I am going to talk about all the unique features that LiveCanvas offers to build beautiful WordPress websites, hence if you're interested to know more about this awesome page builder then stick with me till the end of this post.
Lightweight for Faster Performance
LiveCanvas is built for speed and performance in mind thus it doesn't offer all the bells and whistles like other builders and it only produces pure HTML markup unlike the other builders to keep the website super lean.
Frontend Based Visual Builder
This is a frontend-based page builder which allows you to see what you create on the same window and you don't need to back and forth to check the front end and back end while working with LiveCanvas.
Advanced Responsive Layouts
It offers multiple breakpoints (7 to be exact) to design pages that look perfect on all types of devices, which means you have full control over the website responsiveness if you are going to build it with LiveCanvas.
Page Editing History
With LiveCanvas you can see the history of editing on the editor window as it automatically saves every step with the browser session which means you can retrieve any old draft from the history that has been deleted.
Unique HTML & CSS Editor
LiveCanvas allows you to edit the main HTML and Global CSS of your website right from the editor window which opens up the possibilities to directly edit or write code even when you are using the page builder.
HTML Blocks Builder to Reuse
You can create your own local library of HTML blocks that can be reused on your projects to make the website building process much easier and quicker as it cuts down the extra work of building the same stuff again and again.
Header & Footer Builder
It lets you build the custom header and footer from scratch using the power of the LiveCanvas editor, which means you don't need to rely on the default boring basic header and footer offered by the themes.
The best part is that you can directly search images from Unsplash the most popular website for free stock images within the builder editing window and import your favorite images just with a single click as it has deep integration with Unsplash.
PROS of LiveCanvas
LiveCanvas has a lot of PROS which I am going to discuss in this section to make you understand why you should pay attention to this powerful product and consider it for your next simple website project.
Removing LiveCanvas plugin wont break the site
This is my most favorite feature of the LiveCanvas as it doesn't lock you in their proprietary systems and only produces pure HTML which means you can even remove the LiveCanvas plugin and it won't break the pages built using this product.
However, I won't recommend removing the LiveCanvas plugin after creating the site unless you don't want to edit the pages later on which makes no sense to me as you're always going to need to update the design or content of the pages, thus keeping the plugin active will give you full control over things.
Export pages built with LiveCanvas outside WordPress
As I already told you that LiveCanvas produces pure HTML which means you can easily export pages built with it and use them on any other WordPress or custom project without any issues.
It would be best for the basic static HTML sites where you don't need to add all the bells and whistles where using a CMS platform doesn't make any sense.
No extra CSS/JS on frontend which means Zero Bloat
A Layout First Page Builder that follow the HTML Logics
As I already told you that LiveCanvas is a builder for the developers and I said that because it offers a layout-first approach to design the pages unlike most of the other popular builders that offer a content-first approach.
The layout first approach lets you build pages using the HTML logics like first adding a section then column then div and then blocks but this is not the standard practice of other page builders that offers a content-first approach.
It comes with Picostrap which a minimal yet powerful theme
LiveCanvas comes with Picostrap which is a free theme exclusively built to work with LC, this theme is based on the most popular Bootstrap CSS Framework and it offers limited yet necessary features to customize the website.
The best part about this theme is that it's also very lightweight as compared to any other Bootstrap-based themes in the market, which means neither the page builder nor the theme will make your website slower as they both built for sleekness and fast performance.
CONS of LiveCanvas
There is nothing in this world that is absolutely perfect and the same thing is applicable for the LiveCanvas, therefore in this section, I am going to discuss all the CONS of this product which I think are missing and necessary to become a Website Builder, from a Page Builder.
No custom Template Builder
I love most of the things about this page builder but not having a custom template builder makes me feel that I can't be limitless with this tool as you cannot create custom templates for archive pages, custom post types though it offers you to build custom header and footer using the LiveCanvas editor.
However, it offers a few template types to choose from for the pages but they really look ugly and need some custom CSS works to make them as you want.
Therefore if this tool had a dedicated custom template builder to build templates for various areas of a website using the LiveCanvas editor then that would be a total game-changer.
Lack of real Integrations
On the official website, it says that it integrates with plugins that offer using a shortcode which you can insert inside the LiveCanvas pages, which is basic and obvious, to be honest.
However this is not the real integration, in my opinion, LiveCanvas should have deep integrations with popular WordPress plugins like Woocommece, Easy Digital Download, PODS, and Meta Box etcetera to become more versatile and powerful like the other builders in the market.
Need more ready to use Design Templates
LiveCanvas already offers a few ready to use design templates that can be imported with a single click to use for your websites, but to be honest, those templates are not enough and the developers should pay more attention and focus on creating more ready to use design templates to attract people to use the product.
I believe if they create a good amount of design templates in various categories then it will be a plus point to attract more eyeballs and get new users as most people are so lazy to build things from scratch and they always prefer ready to use solutions.
UI & UX Improvement required
There are a few things in terms of the UI & UX that are screaming for improvements in my personal opinion after using the LiveCanvas editor for a few hours.
The very first thing is that the developers should make the Properties Panel easy to use as currently, it's not as easy as the other page builders.
It took me a while to find the Elements (known as Blocks, in this case) as adding a Block requires a few steps to find the Blocks Panel which contains all the blocks. So the steps are the following: you need to first add a section then a column and after that, you can see the option to add a block on the page which seems irritating to me.
Also, they should consider adding a search bar to the properties panel to find things with ease because now you need to scroll through the panel to find the blocks and the settings you may need.
Let's come to the next thing that should be added to the LiveCanvas editing window, a Structure Panel to see the complete page layout structure at a glance including all the blocks that have been used to build the page, currently, the structure panel is missing from the editor.
In this post, I have reviewed LiveCanvas which is a comparatively new and one of the most powerful yet underrated page builders in the WordPress ecosystem.
If you ask me about my opinion about LiveCanvasr then I would say that I will use it to build simple websites that don't need complex features and integrations, and also I will use it to build non-WordPress custom static HTML sites as it produces pure HTML and also it offers to export the pages build using LC.
However, I will keep my eyes on this product as it has a huge potential for the future if the developers are willing to improve the product to make it better and compete with other developer-oriented complex website builders like Oxygen Builder, Zion Builder, and Bricks Builder.
If you're a web developer that looking for a Webflow alternative for WordPress then I am going to review Oxygen Builder which is the most advanced Website Builder for WordPress that opens up limitless possibilities to build almost any kind of complex websites which can't be built using any other WordPress Builders at this moment.
If you just started using Oxygen recently and you feel that there are a few crucial things that seem to be missing in this WordPress website builder, then let me tell you that Hydrogen Pack is your final destination to fill those void left by Oxygen.