Elementor Global External Template For Reference

What I call a “global external template for reference” (a template that can be modified in the library and then updated on all the instances) is not something easy to implement.

What is a Global Reference?

The “global external template for reference” can be designed one time, saved as a template, then used everywhere. And if you change the original the other instances will change. That’s an old request from Elementor power users. Learn more about Elementor Templates in How to Change Elementor.

There are some approaches in other plugins named “kits”, which are more or less small CSS pieces of code that you can save and apply in a precise element type (colors, gradients…). But they are not linked to the original source.

In engineering design software there is something called XREF (AutoCAD) to define the external references that can be used everywhere, and this XREF is linked. That kind of software can work in “layers”, so the implementation is easy, to say the least.

But in HTML, CSS, JS, and PHP, which are the combination of programs used to create a website, the issue gets other dimensions. Those programming languages work in a different metaphor, in a script way or cascade way, and everything is indexed to a database.

You can copy and re-use a CSS code, like the CSS kits in Revslider for example, to quickly design other elements. Or copy and paste some elements or the CSS itself in Elementor to create other separated elements. But the linked connection requires something else.

Global Reference limits

However, technically, it is something that can be done on WordPress-based websites but is not exempt from resource consumption. 

WordPress works with a database that stores and controls everything that happens on the website. So you need to create tables and relationships for every element.

When you copy and paste CSS, well is just CSS. A template of a section in Elementor for example contains paddings, margins, and other information about the containers, the site layout, fonts, etc.

To have a template that can be updated everywhere requires a long list of parameters and variables to be saved in the WordPress database. And that will cause a high-consuming data transfer if there are a lot of instances of that template. So you are not only having a storage size problem but a data transfer problem as well. 

Let’s say you can deal with the increasing number of tables and relationships in the database, which can easily break a limited server configuration (most shared hosting, which can lead to a user base loss). But let’s say you can deal with that.

The next problem, the data transference for the multi-update is a big thing here. Will you do it automatically? or by refreshing each instance? The first can produce an extreme overload of most server configurations. The second is not the automatic and fast experience the user expects. In any case it will need a specific compatibility with third-party and Cache plugins to deal with the user experience.

What is the solution for Global References?

I think Elementor will come up with an additional plugin or with another button in tools for this matter. The user experience will be like this:

  1. The user updates the original template.
  2. The user executes the instance mass update, in a single task stopped operation.
  3. This feature will be only for Elementor Pro users and maybe only for Elementor Cloud users where they control better the server settings.

What will be included in the mass update?

Anything that won’t break the site or the page in a shared hosting server type, can mean only small CSS changes and limited container configuration.

The mass update will include a limited number of instances.

Global References and the Business Model

Tell me what is your business model and I’ll tell you the future.

To be able to take advantage of the templates now in Elementor you should create your template the more final and versatile as you can, then you can use it again. You will end up with some templates in your library but that’s OK.

We need to wait for this global external template for reference feature to be released. By the moment we should realize though Elementor business model is to create the easiest and lightest website builder in the market. In that way Elementor is constrained between those 2 limits. That’s why include this feature in Elementor Pro, or Elementor Cloud users only, it is an expected path.

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