Earlier this week, Soflyy and more specifically their CEO Louis Reingold announced that they are releasing a new WordPress builder called Breakdance. If you don’t know, Soflyy is the company behind Oxygen Builder which is a very powerful page builder. The announcement was not greeted as good news by the Oxygen community because it includes a lot of features that have been on the GitHub issues list for years. Louis has stated repeatedly that this product is not intended for the typical users of Oxygen — developers — but is intended for those less capable. In particular, he stated the new product is targeting the Elementor community which currently claims to have millions of users and powers millions of websites.

First Impressions

I took the product for a test drive and it is really quite nice even as an alpha, but I will probably never actually use it* — at least as is. Why? There are three main reasons why I will likely never use it for more than testing.

  • First and foremost it doesn’t use Gutenberg or produce Gutenberg blocks. This alone makes the shelf-life of the product very limited — unless Automattic makes a complete shift in direction and dumps Gutenberg, this may never see a version 1 release in its current form.
  • It limits access to core CSS. By default, it does not support CSS Grid, pseudo-elements, or CSS variables because those are deemed too complex for “lower tier” users. The thought that only novices use Elementor is a huge mistake.
  • Last, but not least, is the history of Oxygen. The community is strong albeit small (estimated 30k users) and they have been asking for changes and updates. Development is not transparent and requests languish while other products emerge that do it faster and better in most cases. I have tried to use Oxygen on more than one occasion and just find it too slow and a little too complex for most of my needs. A new product that does everything Oxygen does for those that need it but is easy to use for those who don’t would have been the smarter move.

My prediction is that the team will determine it is too hard to maintain two products and will begin to port Oxygen features over to the new builder. Version 1, when finally released, will be the replacement for Oxygen. Maybe they will take a page out of the Elementor playbook and release a free version for basic users and a paid version (subscription model instead of LTD) to add all the advanced features. In fact, they could probably sell two upper-tier versions — advanced and advanced developer.

There are a handful of other issues around this and Oxygen as a whole, but I will leave it at that.

Only time will tell if this was a brilliant move or a disaster in the making. I do wish the team success because they are people with families.

*Update – I may eat my words here because the more I play with it and the more videos I watch, this has almost everything I have ever wanted as a builder. Some more testing is needed, but it could very well be the builder for this website — especially if my prediction becomes reality.