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Published on Oct 15, 2018

Oxygen Content Lock-in – Is it really a problem?

Sridhar Katakam

One of the criticisms I keep hearing about Oxygen, whenever someone talks about it in a Facebook group (other than Oxygen’s), is that it has the content lock-in problem. That is, content designed in the Oxygen editor will be lost and won’t appear on your site’s pages when Oxygen is no longer active.

Here is the official word as shared by someone in the “Martech Wise Forums – For Fans ? of Lifetime Tech Deals and SaaS Apps” Facebook group here:

Q: How can I keep the hardly created content and layout?
A: Because Oxygen designs/layouts are shortcode based, there’s no way to continue rendering them when Oxygen is deactivated. To achieve minimal lock-in when designing a site using Oxygen, you can keep all feasible content in the WordPress editor (blog posts, etc.) or custom fields via something like ACF and then render that content using Oxygen designs and templates. That way, if you ever need to remove Oxygen, your content is still easily accessible and most of it (besides the custom fields) should be rendered by your theme. This is obviously a challenge for things like landing pages, where most of the content is not text, but that is the case with any visual builder. Also note that even though Oxygen content is not rendered when it is removed, the actual content is still there in the ct_builder_shortcodes meta fields.

Q: Do you have any solution, or comment on this?
A: Unfortunately, changing the way Oxygen outputs content is a fundamental redesign of the software and is not viable, so there’s really no solution to avoid Oxygen content not being rendered when Oxygen’s not there to render it.

That said, today Louis, the founder of Oxygen shared this in Facebook:

Even if you deactivate Oxygen, the content created in Oxygen is still in the ct_builder_shortcodes Custom Field for each page. Paste it into your WP content field, activate https://wordpress.org/plugins/remove-orphan-shortcodes/, and you have all your content.

in a reply to my rant:

I don’t work much with clients so please help me understand this.

What is it with “OMG! Nothing will appear if Oxygen is deactivated. My life is finished.”?

Who are these people who do this? I mean why would you deactivate something that is needed to run the site in the first place? and even if you did, it’s just another click to get back the site running again. Isn’t it?

Guess what, if you delete WordPress your site will not function as well.

I don’t get the content lock-in dilemma.

I tested this plugin and found that it does as advertised by stripping off the shortcodes and providing the actual text of stuff that was designed in Oxygen. This is something you can work with should you ever need to deactivate/remove Oxygen.

Watch the screencast below for an example:

Here is the summary of what you could do when you want to switch from Oxygen to a theme:

  1. Install and activate Remove Orphan Shortcodes.
  2. Edit any Page that has been designed in Oxygen.
  3. Click on “Screen Options” at the top right and tick “Custom Fields”.
  4. Copy the value of “ct_builder_shortcodes” custom field. These are all the shortcodes that Oxygen generated.
  5. Paste it in your content and update.
  6. Visit the page on the frontend, copy the text, paste it back in the WP editor and clean it up.
  7. Repeat for other Pages
  8. When you are done, deactivate and delete Remove Orphan Shortcodes.