The year 2021 is coming to an end soon and I thought this Divi retrospective for the year 2021 would make a good recap to understand where this popular WordPress theme is at... Let's look back at some of the numbers and highlights of the past year... And imagine what Divi has in store for 2022...
- 1 - Slowing down or cruising?
2 - Divi's evolution in 7 key dates
- January 2021: performance of the Visual Builder
- February 2021: the global colours
- August 2021: Divi & Core Web Vitals performance
- September 2021: conditional options
- October 2021: editing of the Theme Builder in front-end
- Early November 2021: Divi icon improvements
- End of November 2021: new WooCommerce modules
- 3 - What's new in Divi for 2022?
1 - Slowing down or cruising?
It's a question some users are asking: why doesn't Divi update as much as it used to? Indeed, one might think that ElegantThemes has been stalling for the past few months... Let's say that's what the pessimists think. The optimists, on the other hand, think that Divi has reached its cruising speed.
And you, are you Team Optimist or Team Pessimist? What is your opinion on this subject?
It's true, Divi hasn't released many major updates this year 2021, let's take a closer look:
|Years||Number of major updates|
Oh yes, we can clearly see in this chart that in 2021, Divi released a new major version about every two months compared to over 4 per month in 2018. That's quite a gap!
Reminder: how to update the Divi theme?
What could be the reason for this?
I don't have any official answers, but here are the probable reasons I can think of:
- In 2018, Divi was far from the Divi of today. Many features were still missing. The developers had a lot of work to do to meet all the deadlines. This resulted in almost 28 major updates!
- At the end of 2018, the new WordPress editor called Gutenberg A lot of work then for all the major players in WordPress, including Divi. In September 2018, Divi became Gutenberg compatible.
- In 2019, there will be another major project, as it is the turn of the WooCommerce Builder and the Theme Builder to make their appearance. Divi is starting to look like the Divi we know today... But it was a lot of work for the dev team: about 12 major updates that year.
- In 2020, the pace will slow down slightly. Has the Covid crisis come and gone? Not sure, most of the work had been done the year before, so it's all quiet!
- In 2021, only 7 major updates... Why? I think this year was based on performance and UX. Quite a lot of work on that side, I guess. Again, most of the work was done in previous years, so it's normal for Divi to slow down when the backlog is cleared.
But most importantly, 2021 is the year of big changes for WordPress! A first major update of WordPress in July 2021 (v5.8) started introducing the full site edition (named FSE). And another "big" WordPress update (v5.9) was planned for December 2021. It will finally be postponed to January 2022. Clearly I think ElegantThemes is walking on eggshells. They may have anticipated some of the updates but with WordPress running late, Divi too... And worse in fact, as the ESF is a feature that clearly encroaches on Divi and its Theme Builder. ElegantThemes must then find a solution to reinvent itself or at best, remain competitive.
In short, we'll see how this takes shape in 2022... We'll certainly discuss it...
2 - Divi's evolution in 7 key dates
Let's stick to the facts before anticipating and speculating on what 2022 will be like. Here is the evolution of Divi this year... You may have missed it.
January 2021: performance of the Visual Builder
Major update to improve UX on the design side of a site with the Visual Builder. Divi is radically improving the performance of its Visual Builder. We're talking about the administration side, not the visitor side... No new features this time, so you probably missed it...
February 2021: the global colours
Introduction of a new feature, and not the least: global colour management. A very, very interesting feature that improves your productivity as a web designer and the consistency of colours in the design of your sites.
In two words: you create colours that are dynamic (synchronised). If one day, you don't like the pink you are using, you can change it for this beautiful purple! The change will take place on the whole site, if you use them. It's a bit like the kind of functionality found in graphic design software (Affinity Designer, Sketch, Illustrator...).
August 2021: Divi & Core Web Vitals performance
No new features added this month but a big performance boost. The Divi theme and its builders are improving their code to increase the performance of your Divi sitesAnd this time, on the visitor's side!
Divi introduces conditional code loading, only if modules are used on your page . This reduces loading time and allows your sites to pass the Page Speeds Insights Core Web Vitals tests. All the other good practices must be implemented on your site (image weight, quality host, etc.).
This update probably went unnoticed for two reasons:
- The MAJ was released this summer, when the cicadas were singing under the pine trees.
- It did not offer any new visible features.
September 2021: conditional options
The September update introduces display conditions based on :
- The status: user role...
- Visitor interaction: has the visitor already purchased or visited a particular page
- The device: computer, mobile, tablet
- The type of publication: show or hide depending on the category for example
These conditions can be found in the Advanced tab of most modules, lines or sections of the Visual Builder. You may have missed them.
October 2021: editing of the Theme Builder in front-end
The October update introduces the ability to edit Theme Builder elements directly from the Visual Builder front-end, as long as they were created upstream from the Theme Builder... Well, OK, I've lost you there 😉
In fact, you can now edit something in your Header or Footer, directly from the layout edited with the Visual Builder rather than going to the Divi > Theme Builder tab...
Still not clear enough? Read the official announcement.
Early November 2021: Divi icon improvements
Finally an update that improves the design of your sites: Divi adds icons from Font Awesome, it's about time! Before, we had to fiddle around to add icons in the Footer for example. Now the Follow us on social networks module is much more complete and an Icon module has been added to the list of Divi modules.
End of November 2021: new WooCommerce modules
Two updates in the same month: this time 8 new modules in the Visual Builder! Divi is getting more modules for WooCommerce and that's good news!
3 - What's new in Divi for 2022?
I'm not a mind reader, unfortunately! And ElegantThemes does not keep an official Road Map, which leaves us in total ignorance. We can only hope and speculate...
At first I thought ElegantThemes would update to be compatible with the upcoming WordPress ESF. But apparently it's technically impossible for that to happen, as I understand it.
So, soon, there will be two types of themes in the WordPress landscape:
- Classics Themes : like Divi, Astra, Neve, Ocean WP... In short, all the themes we know today !
- Blocks Themes: all next-generation ESF-compatible themes (such as Twenty Twenty Two, the upcoming default theme for WordPress 5.9).
So here are the questions I am asking you (and myself, and I don't have the answers):
1 - Has ElegantThemes not made many updates to Divi in 2021, because the theme and its builders are mature enough? Or is another theme being developed, a sort of cousin of Divi (like Extra), which would be compatible with the WordPress ESF?
2 - And if Divi were to introduce new features in 2022, what would they be in your opinion?
Personally, I think there is enough functionality and the interest now would be to develop new modules for Divi and dust off some of the others. This is the trend that Divi seems to be taking if we believe the last updates of this year.
And you, what are your omens? What would you like to see in Divi in 2022?