Those who follow this blog and the Divi products I develop already know that it all started a little more than a year ago, when I launched this site with a showcase of sites using Divi, a Divi Theme Detector and a blog about Divi.
Shortly after that, in May 2014 I released Divi Children, a free plugin intended to automate the process of creating child themes of Divi. With the release of Divi Children 2.0 back in August 2014, a new generation of Divi Children was born. The plugin was no longer useful just because it made the creation of a Divi child theme easy, but the child themes created by Divi Children also had new customization options not available in Divi out of the box, thanks to the Divi Children Engine I introduced in the 2.0 update.
For months it was my intention to release yet another milestone update: hundreds of Divi customizing settings would be available in the WordPress Customizer for every child theme created by Divi Children 3.0, not released yet for reasons I´ll explain later on this post.
Then two weeks ago I released Engined, a Divi child theme that included all those features I´d been working on for Divi Children 3.0.
And right after I published the Engined release post, as you probably know by now, a storm was fired. I´ve been called a spammer and a drama queen, and who knows what else because I was kicked out of the Divi Facebook group I used to belong to; some lies have been said about me, and some information about my future developments was also disclosed last week. Like I said, some people were not happy with Engined being free.
So I thought I´d better publish this post to explain some things about the way I handle this site and the products I release through it, and to let you know first hand about my plans for the future.
Divi Children and Engined are free and will continue to be free
Everything I´ve done through this site so far, including its online tools, the Divi Children plugin and the Engined child theme, is free.
Of course, I´m using some affiliate links on this site. I´ve never tried to hide that fact, I have an Affiliate Disclosure page from the beginning and I include an affiliate disclosure notice at the end of every post where I include any affiliate link (and I don´t include affiliate links inside post content too often, if you noticed). Besides, I only use Elegant Themes affiliate links on this site, so I don´t even expect you to use those links if you´re a Divi user already.
That said, I want to make sure you understand this: My affiliate links on this site do not compensate at all for all the hundreds of hours I´ve been devoting to it and to the free Divi products I release through it. They do help a little, but they just don´t pay for my work. So it hurts me when I have to read things like “we are afraid to say that Luis gave very little and gained a lot“.
When I began with the development of Divi Children, it was the Divi final user who I had in mind. Of course I thought many designers and developers would also find it useful, but I was surprised to see how many professionals were using it and talking about it. And I was glad about that. I knew many people were using Divi Children to make money because it save them time and made things easier or them, but that is perfectly ok with me, so I´ve never thought of making people pay for my plugin, no matter how many new features I developed and added to it. And the same things apply to Engined.
If you´ve been following the unpleasant turn of events I had to go through during the past couple of weeks, you already know what I had to pay because I didn´t want to make you pay for Engined.
And if you´re wondering whether there will be Divi Children Pro or Engined Pro versions in the future, my answer is as clear as crystal clear water: No. You´ll get the full package for free.
The evolution of Divi Children and Engined
The next generation of the Divi Children Engine that gets installed in every child theme you create with the Divi Children plugin took me too many months of development work. Not only because of the addition of new features, but also because some things changed during that development phase. Changes in the latest versions of WordPress core affecting the Customizer, modifications of the Kirki code I´m using for the Customizer controls, etc. I had to go all over my code several times in a time consuming way. And then Elegant Themes announced some of the upcoming features for the Divi 2.4 release.
One of the things that worried my from the beginning was the ability to update child themes created with Divi Children. As new versions of the plugin were released, I wanted to make the new features available to any existing child theme that had been created with an older version of the plugin. After the first Divi 2.4 sneak peek post, I began wondering what features I had already developed for Divi Children would be available in Divi out of the box, or what new Divi features could even cause incompatibilities with Divi Children features.
That´s when I decided to hold the Divi Children 3.0 release until I learned more about Divi 2.4, and to release Engined instead. Engined is nothing but a child theme identical to one that could have been created by Divi Children 3.0, except that it has already been created, it´s available for download and it already has a name: Engined. It will be much easier to update Engined than to take care of all the different child themes that could have been created by Divi Children 3.0 from its release (should it have been released) until the Divi 2.4 update.
That means that once Divi 2.4 is finally released, I will update Engined accordingly. And, after that, I will finally release Divi Children 3.0.
My plan is to keep offering both products: the plugin to create new child themes (Divi Children) and the downloadable child theme (Engined), since many people like to have a plugin like Divi Children that allows them to create as many child themes as they want, but some other people are just looking for a child theme that only needs to be downloaded and installed.
They will both include the same Divi customization capabilities.
And, like I said, they will still (and always) be free.
What about support?
I´m only human and this site does not provide a living, so I just can´t devote all my time to providing support for my free Divi products.
But that´s completely different from what has recently been said about me: “when some people asked for support on Divi Children, they were given pretty short shrift and a common comment from Luis was ‘It’s a free plugin, I do not offer support.“.
It´s simply not true. I´ve never said that. The closest thing to that sentence I remember saying is something of the sort of “I can´t be on duty all the time, plus you have to take into account that this is a free plugin”, and that was just on one occasion. But I´ve never said I do not offer support, leave alone it being a common comment from me.
I know there are right now some questions from Divi Children or Engined users I haven´t responded to yet, just because I didn´t have the time, and I´m sorry about it. These past weeks have been absolutely crazy.
I´ve tried to be as helpful as it was possible for me, and if you´ve ever needed support about my free products you probably know that already.
So I will continue offering all the support I can, and I don´t plan to sell support on a “freemium” basis.
Let me tell you something else. A Facebook admin who says things like “as admins we decided to have a closer look at Luis’s contribution to the group” and all the crap that followed (including “Now, compare that to the likes of myself“) is a very poor admin and is not doing his job for the benefit of the group. In the first place he doesn´t know how helpful I can be via emails, a lot of people ask for support that way from my contact page, out of the Facebook groups even being group members. And, guess what: even that very same group admin asked for Divi Children support via email back in November! But let me give you another example: Somebody has a problem with Divi Children and posts it on a Facebook group. I´m almost sure it´s nothing to do with my plugin but even so I take care of it and I even log in the user´s site after I get the credentials via a private message. I communicate with the user either via PMs, and provide the required support. The user has the problem silently solved but I don´t feel like going back to the Facebook post boasting I did solve it. So who´s the group admin to decide I´m not being helpful?
Plans for a paid plugin?
In an unprecedented kind of post, somebody whose name I would like to forget for life disclosed last week some information I didn´t mean to make public yet. He unveiled that private information for no reason (other than maybe try to make me look like a greedy person). But now that he did so, I will let you know more details about it.
The reason I´m using the term “unprecedented” is because it´s the first time in my whole life I´ve seen a post that used the name of a particular person (me) as the title, was password protected, didn´t allow comments and was shared in a group from which the person whose name was used for the title had been previously removed (by none others than the author of the post and his partners in business). As you see, all fair play. You get the picture of the author.
By the way, if you read that post, I want you to know that there were still more lies in it. For instance: “It is also true to say that the Admin that banned him was NOT aware of my testing Engined – (because Luis had asked me to keep it a secret!!!)” I did never ask him to keep any secret. All I asked everybody in the group of Engined test drivers was not to share beta versions of Engined with other people, in order to avoid other Divi users using copies of the theme which might prove to contain possible bugs, instead of waiting a couple of weeks for the final release. But if he insists on a lie, it must be just because the opposite is true. There´s a good latin phrase for it: “excusatio non petita accusatio manifesta” (he who excuses himself without having been asked, accuses himself).
Anyway, this guy reproduced on his post the content of an email I´d sent him. After he tried to make you pay for my free Engined child theme through his marketplace website, I was telling him the following:
“I do have plans for a Divi paid plugin, but it is a product intended for developers only. I´d already developed part of the code and other parts can be easily adapted from custom features I´ve already made for clients, but now I would like to wait for the release of Divi 2.4 before I continue coding it, because a lot of things seem to be changing in the PageBuilder and other parts of the Divi code.
This name of this plugin will be Divi4Devs, and like the name implies is not intended for final users. It will include very interesting features for developers like blocking things in the PageBuider so the final user can´t screw them up and many other features I´ve figured out Divi developers would appreciate to save them time and hassle.
One of the reasons why I didn´t care that much about monitizing Divi Children is because I´ve planned to integrate my products in order to offer a killer combination of divi4Devs (paid) and Divi Children (free, and apparently intended for the final user) that would allow developers build customized Divi client sites in a very short time, finally getting a nice, fast working theme that will look like it was fully developed from scratch by the developer. I guess you get what I mean.”
What I was talking about on that email was something that started many months ago, back in October 2014, when a client (and now a very good friend) to whom I provide custom Divi development asked me whether it would be possible to lock parts of the Divi PageBuilder so her clients couldn´t screw things up inadvertently.
I checked that out and I thought it would be an interesting feature for many people who are using Divi on a daily basis and as a way of living. I did my homework, developed some code and saw it worked alright.
Then as I learned more about the way Divi works I began devising other features a Divi professional would love to have, so it made sense to me to think about a premium plugin intended for the people who are making money with Divi. And that´s how the Divi4Devs project was born.
After that, I´ve been looking for some other interesting features for developers and adding them to the basic Divi4Devs concept. Like I said, those features would not be things a final Divi user would appreciate much or even use at all, but a Divi professional would love to have. I won´t reveal the rest of the features I´ve devised for Divi4Dev yet, but all of them are aimed to save time, hassle and money, and that´s why I thought it could be perfectly right to make it a premium plugin.
What I meant when I talked about that “killer combination” was this: Divi Children was conceived and has always been developed with the final Divi user in mind, but it offers ways of customizing Divi sites that can also be combined with another plugin, such as Divi4Devs, to get a final exportable, brandable, very compact custom child theme that would look as a product specifically developed for a client site. Once customized and finally packed, all the Divi developer would need is to install and activate the resulting custom child theme in the final site. No more adjustments or Customizer settings would be needed, the child theme would set everything by itself upon activation.
Nevertheless, I gave my free products a higher priority over the Divi4Devs project. You can tell because you´ve seen how I have been working throughout the months on Divi Children and Engined but haven´t released Divi4Devs, or even talked about it so far.
Would I finally release Divi4Devs? Although I keep working on it (albeit with a lower priority than my free Divi products, as I said), it all depends on several things. One of them is the evolution of Divi itself, I have to see how Divi 2.4 looks like and probably adapt a lot of code to the changes. Another important point is the commitment needed to provide support for a paid plugin. And, on top of it all, I want it to be a top quality plugin, a plugin really worth its price. Otherwise it wouldn´t make sense to me.
So if all those factors finally fit into my idea of what Divi4Devs should be, I´ll release it as a premium, professional plugin. In any case (and I guess like anybody else I don´t like working in vain) sooner or later I´ll release at least some of the features I´ve been working on, one way or another.
Does such a premium plugin like that make sense to you?