@Bryn I hear your frustration and you raise some good points. There is nothing easy about Pinegrow, especially coming from the world of Page Builders, pre-made blocks, and block themes.
One of the things I had to repeat to myself over and over (and still do to some extent) is that Pinegrow is not designed to be a page builder or to compete with page builders. It’s designed to speed up the workflow for people who are creating themes or blocks by hand.
Think of it this way. Someone making the jump from Elementor to using Oxygen or Bricks is going to have a very bad day. They suddenly don’t have a lot of the pre-made components, design sets, etc. For every Bricks fanboy you see in the forums, there are likely many others who have tried it and noped out.
The move from a page builder to Pinegrow is even more challenging than that since now you are responsible for not only understanding HTML, CSS, and JS but you also need a solid foundation of how WordPress works under the hood, its core functions, and best practices for creating themes & blocks.
And on top of it all, the Pinegrow UI is not designed to be beginner-friendly.
However, for people who have been coding themes or blocks by hand, Pinegrow offers a lot of ways to enhance that workflow. Even for people who are just making ACF blocks, Pinegrow significantly speeds up and simplifies the process.
If you are looking for something that will be easier or faster to use than a page builder, Pinegrow probably isn’t it. If you want something that speeds up a manual development process, that’s where Pinegrow shines.
As for some of your other points:
I struggled with this, too, and complained to Pinegrow until I was blue in the face. They stood their ground, and after countless hours of beating my head against the wall, I finally understood why they chose to leave menu logic and styling to the developer. Menus, in general, are incredibly complex, and there are so many variations that trying to encapsulate them all in a wizard is a losing battle, especially for a developer-focused tool like Pinegrow.
FSE is a confusing mess at the moment, but it does have a lot to offer. With only a few minor exceptions, I’ve been able to recreate most of my classic themes as FSE themes. It’s a completely different paradigm from classic themes and page builders, so it’s a bit of a mental shift to wrap your head around working with it.
On the contrary, the themes and blocks created in Pinegrow can be opened and edited using any text editor. This is one of the biggest reasons I chose it for my agency; there is no lock-in. If clients need to make changes to theme templates, then this is where FSE can possibly help.
Also, remember that Pinegrow has a WP Plugin version, which will let clients or other agencies edit the project on the site just like you would in a page builder. From that perspective, there is no difference between it and Oxygen, Bricks, etc. other than the learning curve.
The internal compiler is not designed to handle plugins, @apply, or anything else like that. It’s meant to give you a bare bones tailwind config. For anything else, you’ll want to use the external tailwind compiler.
It’s also worth noting that Tailwind alone has a lot of quirks, and together with WordPress, they tend to fight each other. A lot! If you are trying to learn and use Tailwind while learning Pinegrow, you are going to end up frustrated.
Uncheck the auto-format HTML code setting in the settings window.
I’m interested in knowing more about this. There are references to pinegrow helper functions in the code, which are necessary to make things work, but I haven’t noticed any extraneous mentions of Pinegrow.
The text style issue is likely due to Tailwind, which has a very opinionated reset. A non-tailwind project has no default styles. As for keeping files organized, again, this comes down to a mind shift from thinking like a page builder to thinking like a theme/block development project.
I’m happy to discuss any of this with you. At the end of the day though, Pinegrow is just a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. If Bricks, Oxygen, Elementor, or WP Bakery fit your needs or workflow better, there is nothing wrong with that. (Ok, maybe not WP Bakery…)