WordPress Site Builder Closes – Devs Forced To Rebuild Client Sites via @sejournal, @martinibuster

The Cwicly WordPress website builder toolkit announced that they are shutting down by the end of the year and refunding all 2024 clients. The decision forced developers to halt current projects and begin the process of migrating client websites to other WordPress site builder platforms.

It is an unexpected end to what was regarded as an innovative product that was considered as a promising toolkit for creating high performance websites on top of the native Gutenberg full site editor. But also some criticism.

An email sent by Cwicly to their customers was republished in the Dynamic WordPress Facebook Group.

The email says in part:

“After much deliberation and soul-searching, I have made the difficult decision to discontinue the development of the Cwicly plugin. This decision has been deeply influenced by recent events that have profoundly affected both me personally and the team.

Unfortunately, the relentless onslaught of destructive posts and comments by certain WordPress influencers has created an atmosphere that has made it increasingly challenging for us to continue with our vision for Cwicly.

Since the launch of Cwicly, not only have we had to build our product but have suffered the constant undermining of our choice to embrace the WordPress vision in Gutenberg. In addition, personal attacks on both myself and team members have been made and openly tolerated throughout.

The negativity and hostility directed towards Cwicly, especially in comparison to other page builders, have taken a significant toll on our morale and motivation.”

Brenda Malone (LinkedIn), a freelance web developer and search marketing expert, commented that this might create a chill in new web development tools if the Cwicly event causes developers to lose trust in new companies and stick with the current trusted ones.

She said:

“It is setting a bad precedent–who will trust small software development shops again?

This is awful for the developers who will have to rebuild client sites. What a mess, indeed.”

Cwicly And Gutenberg

Unlike other platforms, Cwicly was built to work with Gutenberg, adding developer-friendly options that extended the possibilities of what was possible from using just the Gutenberg full site editor.

One of the innovations that helped to create a buzz around Cwicly was the integration of Tailwind, an open source CSS framework that helps speed up site development. But the Tailwind integration was also a source of criticism because it was a partial implementation that was planned to roll out in stages with more features planned for the near future.

A quality that many loved about Cwicly is that it’s basically a blank slate that can be developed upon without the burden of having to deal with the extra code imposed by some page builders. That same plus was also seen by others as negative because it was perceived by some to present an additional hurdle to creating a website fast.

It could be seen then that for every step forward there was also the perception that there was another step back. Despite the developer-friendly innovations that help create a buzz around Cwicly there was also a sense that it wasn’t fully finished and for whatever reason it just didn’t catch on as quickly as other professional page builders like Bricks Builder and Breakdance.

David McCan, an early supporter of Cwicly who regarded it as “cutting edge” recently wrote an article discussing a peculiar reticence in the developer community to commit to Cwicly.

He wrote:

“With that long list of amazing features, why isn’t Cwicly more popular? Why aren’t more people using it? Why is it still something that a lot of people are watching, but they haven’t committed to? This paradox is what I’m calling the Cwicly Conundrum. People are interested in Cwicly and watching it, but they haven’t necessarily fully embraced it.”

What WordPress Developers Are Saying

Adam J. Humphreys (LinkedIn) of web development and SEO company Making 8 suggested possible next steps.

He commented to SEJ:

“I recommend users switch over to Bricks Builder asap to avoid further security escalations.

Bricks builder embraces both extra features for purists and a simple interface for new users. It’s something one can build a design career around. That’s why Bricks has picked up so much momentum. The community surrounding software is what makes all the difference. Keeping the community involved and integrated is what makes a platform strong.”

Reaction On Reddit

The reaction on Reddit was polarized with some expressing a certain amount of understanding while others felt it was a bad move.

One Redditor wrote:

“As a current paying member, a few minutes ago I got an email from Louis mentioning the discontinuation of Cwicly due to the hostility of some WordPress influencers and constant criticism.

Now, this has put me, and I imagine many others, in a very precarious situation. I’m halfway through rebuilding our 5 websites that were going to launch this month. Obviously I’m not going to do that now, since I’d have to redo them in a few months when Cwicly stops working altogether.”

Another Redditor responded:

“We are leaving with your money because some random people said they did not like us. What a lame excuse to scam buyers….”

Others were more sympathetic, pointing out that Cwicly was refunding all fees paid by users in 2024.  Others expressed their disappointment in having purchased a license for Cwicly with the expectation of it being around and now they are forced to redo websites built with Cwicly because once development stops there will no longer be any more updates to make  it compatible with future upgrades to PHP and the WordPress core, including security updates. What that means is that any site still using Cwicly in the future may be prone to no longer function as the WordPress core evolves to take advantage of new PHP versions not to mention the inability to upgraded to newer versions of WordPress due to inevitable incompatibilities.

Sunsetting Of Cwicly

The sunsetting of the Cwicly by the end of 2024 illustrates the challenges of innovating a product, particularly in a marketplace that has many active competitors with full-featured products. Any shortcomings are bound to be noticed and amplified by social media which in this case resulted in a demoralizing effect.

Featured image by Shutterstock/photosince

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