Welcome back to the 9th edition of The Lab Report!

A few people have asked me if I’m still doing these.

Don’t worry – for better or for worse, the answer is yes 🙂

Just took a couple of weeks off for the holidays.

I also got pulled away a bit trying to manage a duplex conversion for a rental property we recently purchased.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s actually really fun to apply your web design skillz to building real life layouts.

The upstairs has a bit of an awkward kitchen layout, so I was trying to figure out a way to keep it as open as possible while still keeping plenty of storage and counter space:

ANYWAYS, enough about houses for now. Let’s get into this week’s newsletter.

📈 Ranking the best page builders heading into 2022

Look mom, I’m on TV!

For my first video of the year, I thought it’d be fun to make a tier list of all the major page builders.

I give each one a ranking, as well as highlight some of their major changes from 2021.

#1 will shock you. But probably not.

Have a quick watch and let me know what you think in the YouTube comments.

Are there any that I got wrong?

🙋‍♂️ Thoughts on Oxygen 4.0?

You know what, why don’t we keep the theme this week WordPress page builders.

The Oxygen 4.0 alpha dropped a couple of weeks ago, and I know a lot of people have had a chance to play around with it since then (some even in production 😬).

Personally I think it’s a decent step forward.

The UI is refreshed ever so slightly, but overall it feels a lot less 2010 now.

In a basic loading test I did of a super long landing page, the builder loaded in 10s as opposed to 14s as well.

Not a mind blowing speed improvement (again, it was a really long page), but the new loading animation actually makes it feel a lot faster compared to the good ol’ spinning cog.

(I love the concept of perceived performance vs actual performance).

I like that you can now see inherited values in the properties pane. And grid settings finally get carried through to lower breakpoints.

Aside from that, not too many crazy workflow changes. I’d still like: reordering selectors, renaming global colors, a better padding/margin indicator, adjusting values in an input field by dragging your mouse, manually setting grid-template-columns etc.

Obviously we all wish it could get completely rewritten in Vue or React and feel lightning quick like Bricks and Zion do.

But that probably won’t happen any time soon given Oxygen’s maturity in the market.

And I don’t think it desperately needs it anymore.

What are your thoughts on 4.0 so far? Comment here!

🧱 Bricks releases new query loop builder beta

Just released yesterday, the Bricks 1.3.7 beta is now available for customers to test.

The main highlight is the new query loop builder.

I haven’t had a chance to test it yet, but at first glance it looks like it’s been well implemented.

They give you simple controls for the most common loops, but also let you filter based on taxonomy and meta queries.

Those are essential if you’re building a loop based on custom fields or post types.

Bricks still has a bit of catch-up to do, but this was one of the big ones. It’s nice to see them progressing along so quickly.

PSA: Bricks is increasing their lifetime unlimited price from $149 to $199 on Monday in case you were interested in picking it up.

💬 Closing Comments

That’s all for this week!

I actually wrote 100% of this newsletter in Gutenberg this week (using a new tool I’m testing).

Let me know if you have any interest in learning more about how that works.

Time to get back to listening to Dawn FM.

Have a great weekend,