These is a short article where I hope I´ll be able to clarify some points about the Divi Children plugin, the Divi Children Engine and your Divi child themes.
I´ve noticed there´s some confusion among Divi users regarding not only the differences between the plugin and the Divi Children Engine, but even between the Divi Children plugin and the child themes it creates.
So let´s clarify some concepts:
The Divi Children plugin is a plugin (not a child theme)
You may find this title quite stupid, but it does make a lot of sense for the purpose of this post.
I realized that some people have mistaken the Divi Children plugin for a ready-to-download Divi child theme. I even found such a misunderstanding on the Elegant Themes Support forum, where somebody was reporting this supposed issue:
I am not able to install Divi child theme. This is the message I get:
“Installing Theme from uploaded file: divi-children.zip
Unpacking the package…
Installing the theme…
The package could not be installed. The theme is missing the style.css stylesheet.
Theme install failed.”
The same thing has been reported through a comment on this blog.
Of course, this is not an issue. The problem is that the user thought that Divi Children was a child theme that could be downloaded and installed as such, i.e., through the Themes Installer.
That´s why I must insist on the Divi Children plugin being a plugin, even if it seems too obvious an assertion. Which means that Divi Children should be installed through the Plugins Installer. Otherwise, if you try to install it as a theme, you´d get that error that was reported as a supposed issue of the plugin.
Why Divi Children is a plugin
I could have developed a ready-to-download Divi child theme instead of a Divi child theme creation plugin, but I decided on the plugin for a number of reasons. The first one is that this way you can choose the name of your child theme before it is created, along with other theme information you can fill on the child theme creation form without having to edit your stylesheet.
Also, the Divi Children plugin lets you create as many child themes of Divi as you like, without having to re-install anything else after you´ve installed the plugin. Having several child themes for the same site allows you for example to test different tweaks for your pages and then choose your final configuration, leaving only one of the child themes you´ve been playing with.
And that leads me to another topic related to Divi Children and your child themes:
You don´t need the Divi Children plugin for your child theme to work
That´s right. Once you´ve created your Divi child theme by means of the Divi Children plugin, you may not need the plugin anymore. Everything your child theme needs for working has already been installed in it by the plugin, so your child theme will not need any code from the plugin to work.
Providing you don´t want to create any other child theme for your site you could just deactivate Divi Children and even delete it, and you won´t notice any difference in the way your child theme behaves. It will still have all the customizing capabilities provided by the Divi Children Engine, for instance.
In fact, if you´ve created your child theme with the latest version of Divi Children and you´re using the latest version of the Divi parent theme, the only reason I can think of to make use the plugin again (other than for creating yet another child theme) is for changing your screenshot. Otherwise you can deactivate and delete Divi Children, and maybe that´s even a good way to go because if you need the plugin later it´ll be better to install the newest available version of Divi Children. We will cover in a moment what you´d need the plugin again for, once you have a child theme you´re satisfied with.
Divi Children Engine is not a plugin
If your Divi child theme was created or updated by Divi Children 2.0 (or a newer version), the Divi Children Engine is now part of your child theme.
Divi Children Engine is a pack of php files specifically developed to extend the customizing capabilities of Divi by means of your child theme. It allows you to get a unique look and feel for your Divi site without writing a single line of code, and to watch it change in real time as you customize it.
Divi Children Engine is automatically installed in every new child theme created by the Divi Children plugin. However, it does not need the plugin to work, it works as a stand-alone theme extender.
Divi Children Engine is kept in a separate folder inside your child theme, not interfering with your own custom child theme files. It contains several functional modules, such as:
- Custom functions (footer credits generator, post meta data generator, etc).
- Custom Codes generator, for Divi Children specific custom CSS selectors.
- Magic Codes manager, for generating and managing special codes that modify the behavior of Divi modules.
- WordPress Customizer management.
So, since Divi Children Engine is part of your child theme, and your child theme does not need the Divi Children plugin to work, Divi Children Engine won´t need the plugin to work either.
Why Divi Children Engine is not a plugin
There are some plugins out there that can be used to extend the customizing options of a particular WordPress theme, like Fourteen Extended for instance. And that is a good approach, using a plugin to extend a theme.
But I already had a system to automate the creation of child themes of Divi: the Divi Children plugin. So it seemed a good idea to make that customizing extension capability available to child themes individually, rather than to the parent theme in general.
Why? Well, there are also a number of reasons that made me prefer this approach. One of them is that you wouldn´t need two different plugins, one for creating your Divi child theme and one for tweaking your theme.
Another reason is that once you´ve created your child theme with the Divi Children Engine included in it you won´t need any plugin at all for those tweaking options to work. As we´ve seen, you can even forget about the Divi Children plugin.
But an even more powerful reason might be this: With the Divi Children Engine approach you can have different tweaks for different child themes.
What you´d need Divi Children for, once your child theme has been created
As I said before, once you have a child theme you´re satisfied with, you wouldn´t need the Divi Children plugin to be active in your site anymore. There are several occasions though when you should use Divi Children again, such as:
- Updating your child theme to include the latest version of the Divi Children Engine.
- Updating your child theme after a new Divi update.
- Creating another child theme.
- Changing your screenshot by means of the “Change Screenshot” plugin option.
Except for the last case (changing your screenshot), the best you could do is to download the latest version of the plugin from the Divi Children plugin page, to make sure you are up to date in order to get the latest features.
I hope this post served to shed some light on the way the Divi Children plugin and the Divi Children Engine relate to each other and to your Divi child themes.
Should you still have any doubts about this topic, please feel free to ask through the comments.