Cornerstone: Introduction

This article was last updated on the January 2, 2017.

Welcome to Cornerstone! If you’re reading through these articles we assume that you’ve already seen and/or purchased the plugin and are ready to begin using it, but for those who may be reading about Cornerstone for the first time here, allow us to take a moment and fill you in on our labor of love for the past many months.

At its core, Cornerstone is a collection of shortcodes which can be utilized to build out complex page layouts with near infinite customizability. Beyond that though, it’s much, much more. Cornerstone takes these integrated shortcodes and provides alongside them a simple, streamlined, drag and drop frontend interface, allowing users of all experience levels to take full control of their page layouts! If you’re unfamiliar with tools like this, don’t worry as we’ll go into more detail on this moving forward. If you have a bit of experience in these areas already, the key thing to be aware of here is that the frontend editing of tool of Cornerstone is completely uncoupled from your site’s styles and functionality, meaning that your frontend load times will remain as quick and snappy as ever and won’t ever be hindered by any functionality in the build tool itself.

The initial inspiration for Cornerstone began shortly after releasing our premium theme X, on Themeforest. It quickly became very apparent to us that our users desired something more elegant when working with our provided shortcodes. We knew that we had provided our users with a veritable cornucopia of building blocks to construct near limitless possibilities of page layouts, but even utilizing these simplified shortcodes can still be cumbersome for those not comfortable working in this manner. Because of that, we knew that eventually we would want to provide our users with that “missing link” to help make the most of these underlaying layers of functionality and bridge the gap to make them more accessible.

We took many months of receiving user feedback as well as thinking through various scenarios before we finally set out to build our own builder (so meta). In doing our research, we had come to a few conclusions about what our end product would look like:

  1. It would be a 100% completely frontend page builder. After seeing how desirable this type of realtime feedback is to users, we knew we couldn’t settle for anything less.
  2. It would work to solve what we believe are common “bottlenecks” with other build tools we were able to study and learn from. There are many great builders available today with lots of solid concepts in various parts of their execution, but nothing ever felt completely “right” to us. We wanted to take this information and work to restructure the format in an effort to simply the entire build process.
  3. It would utilize the most cutting edge web technologies available today to create a tool that not only looked great on the surface, but would operate quickly under the hood to keep up with the expectations users have from modern web apps (nerd alert: Cornerstone is built with HTML5, Backbone, Marionette, Sass, and a lot of love).
  4. It would not be a derivative in any way, shape, and form of any other product available on the market today. This wouldn’t be another product “heavily inspired” by others with a new coat of paint and logo on it. It would be something completely our own and built to serve the needs of our customers.

So after months of research and many more months of sleepless nights, wireframes, prototypes, team calls, testing, iterating, and code pushes, we’ve finally arrived with a product that we are proud not only to put our name on, but also to use ourselves! In a sense, what we do isn’t merely building software, but it’s about being a curator of an experience. It’s easy for anyone to sit at a text editor and bang out a few lines of code, call it a product, and move on; however, we view the entire atmosphere of what we do as something much more. We’re here to enhance and empower your experience with WordPress, and that can’t be done without tireless searching and dedication to a craft and working to make something the best it can possibly be.

With that all being said, we are pleased to bring you Cornerstone, our next step into this big, wonderful world of WordPress!