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Post Date: June 29, 2021
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Update v4.2.0 - Improved Workflow

Improve your workflow with several additions to the Snapshots extension - included in Editor Enhancer!

Workflow is the name of the game with this update! Using the new hotkeys and methods for the Snapshots extension, you can now develop pages and templates with working copies, preserving snapshots as you go.

"Saving" in Oxygen Builder is - for all intents and purposes - the same as publishing. Snapshots was invented to give you the ability to create little copies of your work that you can restore and continue working on later. However, it was missing a few key operations to really blow out the standard workflow. First, I'll mention what's new with this update. Then, I'll put these to use and describe my perfect workflow.

So, what's new?

  • Bug Fix: Remove console logging when creating and using Snapshots.
  • New Feature: A hotkey action has been added to take a new snapshot without needing to open the Snapshots panel.
  • New Feature: A hotkey action has been added to update the current or most recent snapshot.
  • New Feature: A hotkey action has been added to toggle the Snapshots panel open and close.
  • Feature Improvement: When creating a new snapshot, you'll now be prompted to enter a name rather than having to take an extra step to rename every time.
  • Feature Improvement: New Snapshot descriptions default to current timestamp when the Snapshot is created.

Three hotkeys have been added with special operations. Behind the scenes, a bunch of functions have been developed to support these hotkeys so they can be utilized in the most optimal way. You'll find these hotkeys in the Hotkeys admin settings page at Oxygen > Editor Enhancer > Hotkeys, in the new "Extensions" tab.

Extensions hotkeys, found in Oxygen > Editor Enhancer > Hotkeys

New Workflow Possibilities

As I mentioned before, I like to keep design and development private until it's ready to be published. These new hotkeys allow me to do just that. I set up my new hotkeys like this:

  • Update Current Snapshot: Ctrl+S
  • Take a Snapshot (new snapshot): Ctrl+Shift+S
  • Oxygen's Save (effectively, publish): Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S

Save

Saving in this workflow is not the default Oxygen "Save," which, let's face it, is actually publishing to live. Instead, after Oxygen loads the builder I'll activate a live snapshot in one of two ways:

  1. Open up the Snapshots panel and restore one of my prior Snapshots, or..
  2. Use the new "Take a Snapshot" hotkey to create a new working copy.

Certainly, this will depend on your workflow and whether you're returning to a Snapshot or making updates to your published copy. You'll know if you're working on an active Snapshot when one has a bright green indicator in the panel, like this:

Any time you restore or create a Snapshot, that will become your working copy. If none have the green indicator, you haven't restored or created any Snapshots in your session, which means no Snapshot updates will occur until you do.

From here, I use "Ctrl+S" (I'm on Windows) to trigger the new hotkey "Update Current Snapshot." This continuously updates the active Snapshot, so rather than publishing every little save, I can keep my working copy private. Note: Since updating Snapshots overwrites the data every time, an alert pops up each time, but I don't mind it since I can just press "Enter" to confirm.

Checkpointing with Snapshots

Whenever I get to a point in my design or development process where I've completed a feature, I'll take a new Snapshot. This gives me checkpoints that I can return back to, copy from, restore if I mess up - whatever I need to do. I also try to remember to take a Snapshot right before I publish, so I can always come to back to it if I need to. It's probably more helpful to actually name it with a version number, but for the example below I just named it "Pre-Publish."

For this function, I'm using "Ctrl+Shift+S" for the hotkey. This is close enough to my "save" operation hotkey setup and keeps with that flow of form.

Sample workflow of Snapshots

Publishing

Ok, I've said it a few times now but it bears repeating: Oxygen's "Save" button is actually publishing live, right? When I'm all done with my designs and development from the privacy of Snapshots, it's time to publish. This is built right into Oxygen so I probably don't need to cover it. Click that big, blue save button in the top right or use the hotkey. I simply scaled it up one more key level to "Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S" to keep it within flow and make it more difficult to accidentally publish.

Keep Snapshots Clean

With this new workflow, it's easy to accumulate a bunch of Snapshots. Always name your Snapshots something specific and memorable. When creating a new Snapshot, you'll now see a popup to ask you for a name. You can leave it blank and it will default to "New Snapshot," but what does that tell you?

Descriptions can also be helpful. If you didn't realize, you can add descriptions for your Snapshots, which are added as title tags. Hover over a snapshot with a description to reveal it. Now, these will default to the timestamp of when they were created. For my purposes, this is enough, but you may find some good ideas and uses for it.

When hitting a new publish point, I like to keep it around a while if I think I might come back and test out new modifications. Getting to the publish point, however, I could have a dozen snapshots! If you don't want to preserve them, or prefer to take a fresh Snapshot the next time you work on your template or page, you can enable Snapshot purging. From Oxygen > Templates in WP Admin, find your template and click "Purge Snapshots." While you're at it, clear out your revisions, too!

Workflow Improved

With an improved workflow, you can keep your designs and developments private by continuously updating Snapshots. Don't forget to take a new Snapshot or activate one when you first load Oxygen Builder to utilize the new operation of updating a Snapshot! Then, you can publish when you're ready. Woohoo!

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