Visual editing WordPress (status of)

In the WordPress visual site designing kingdom, Elementor is king. WP Bakery is the former evil dictator, now exiled, and Oxygen Builder is the promising knight, hero of heroes, and well known among people of culture but not widely accepted by the masses yet.

Although WordPress has been my main stack the last few years thanks to my involvement on Oxygen Builder and other cool WordPress-related stuff, more recently I’ve been spending most of my time on other unrelated stuff. I call them my secret evil projects, mostly mobile stuff and experiments.

But last month I was invited back to work with the Oxygen Builder team temporarily to help with some tasks related to their 4.0 release. This also fully brought me back to the WordPress scene and revived some of the old ideas I had for OxyPowerPack – I’m planning an update release for January / February with compatibility for Oxygen Builder 4.0 (there are big changes in O4 under the hood that requires a lot of changes in 3rd party plugins) and big new features and maybe splitting the product into several pieces by mid-March 2022.

All this work on WordPress stuff made me want to write a blog last month. And when the writing reminder notification rang out today, it took me by surprise. And as I promised myself before, I’ll write whatever I have in my mind. And of course, this is Oxygen Builder. And Gutenberg. And Elementor.

Why isn’t Oxygen Builder more popular?

Oxygen Builder has everything to be the most popular kid in the block: it’s super powerful and allows editing every aspect of a WordPress site, visually. It is a true full-site visual designing platform for WordPress. While Elementor has made some steps towards that direction, it’s not as straightforward as Oxygen and the fact of requiring a theme makes everything more confusing (when does the theme ends and Elementor start?). Elementor, at this moment, is king for a single reason: huge marketing efforts. Oxygen has grown almost organically over the past years, only with a few occasional Facebook ads.

It’s 2022 already and Oxygen Builder is now a mature product about to launch its 4th major version. There are still some old minor bugs here and there, but the main complaint people have with Oxygen Builder is now being buried in the past: Oxygen Builder 4.0 is fast. Especially using Firefox or Safari. It loads in about 3 seconds on my machine after clicking the “Edit with Oxygen” button. Of course, this depends on the host and the set of enabled plugins, but in general, Oxygen Builder 4.0 is fast.

My forecast for this year is that the crown will be finally shining over Oxygen’s head or at least will be considered more seriously among the other relevant visual designers that I didn’t mention: Divi and Brizy.

As a last thought, I had to mention Gutenberg. In my humble opinion, despite their efforts for making it the next-generation visual builder, Gutenberg is and only will be good for editing text-based site content.