Forge is now live! Last week we unveiled our new front-end page builder plugin, that you can use to create your own layouts without coding at all.
Today, we are delighted to announce the first release of Forge. Effective immediately, the plugin is now in an open beta, and can be downloaded for free from the official plugin repository.
So, what can you do with Forge? Just keep reading.
Forge, a front-end content design tool
Last week we introduced Forge: in short, it’s a page builder that works in the front-end of your website, and it allows you to build custom layouts with a drag & drop interface.
We have spent these last weeks fine-tuning the plugin, and now it’s very stable and ready to be used in live websites.
While Forge is fairly straightforward, we have created a small guide that will help you get started very quickly. Read on!
Setting up Forge
The first step is to install Forge. Since it’s hosted in the official plugin repository, all you need to do is to search for it directly from your WordPress admin area. Click on the Install button, and then activate the plugin.
Once active, you can then navigate to any page of your site and click on the Forge Page Builder link located in the admin bar. Just by doing that, you will be starting up the page builder for that particular post.
The builder interface
Forge has a minimal, straightforward interface. While editing a page, you will see a toolbar at the top of the site. Here you can control everything: you can add new elements to your layout, save your changes, discard them, or simply exit the builder.
It is worth noting that, since the plugin is in beta, we have added a help link directly in the toolbar. If you need any help, just click on it and send us an inquiry. We’ll be happy to help!
In Forge, you can forget about the need to save your changes. When you open the builder, you will be working at all times on a draft of the current post. As you make changes to this draft, everything you do will be saved onto the draft.
What this means is that you can leave the builder any time you want. You can close the browser window, and when you come back everything will be just like when you left.
Best of all, your changes will remain as a draft until you click on Publish Changes. Until then, the actual page you’re editing won’t show any changes, allowing you to take your time until you’re satisfied with the result. And if you mess up and don’t like the result, you can click on Discard to turn back your working draft to the live version.
The element collection
To add new elements into the layout, you will need to use the element collection. Basically, it is an extensive list of elements that you can use in your layout. In Forge, an element is an individual piece of content that can be moved around, modified, and so on.
To open the collection, you can click on the search box located in the top right area. And then scroll down the list until you find it.
However, there is a better way: you can also type the name of the element you want to use. As soon as you start typing, the collection will open up and filter elements matching up your search.
For example, if you want to add an Image element, you can type “Im”. Just by doing this, you will filter out almost every other element, and the image element will appear at the top. This allows an experienced user to add elements extremely fast.
Rows and Columns: Organizing elements
In the collection, you will find a special element: Rows. While they behave like any other element, rows are special case, because they allow you to create multiple columns and organize your content any way you want.
Rows have two distinctive features:
First off, they are hierarchical. This means you can add elements inside of them, including other rows. There is no limit to the number of levels you can have besides running out of space.
Secondly, a row will always have a number of columns. You can add elements inside these columns, and you can configure their size and number by using the quick actions located in the row overlay.
A row and its columns are treated as separate elements, so you can configure each one independently. For example, you can assign each column a different padding, while the row element can have a specific background image. The possibilities are endless!
As you place elements in the layout, you can edit them by hovering over them and clicking on Edit. By doing this, a side panel will be displayed with all the options the element has. Here, you can press the Esc key if you want to close the settings window without saving any changes.
You can also copy an existing element by clicking on Copy. This will create an identical element right after the original, which you can then move around.
Get Forge today
As mentioned before, Forge is now available in the official WordPress repository, for free. Yuo can try it out with any of our themes, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to request some help.
This is just the beginning. In the coming weeks we will be adding many new features to Forge, so that you can use it to create truly amazing designs. Here’s hoping for a true front-end page building experience!
Got any suggestions or feedback after using Forge? Leave a comment!