Hydrogen Pack by Clean Plugins is a pack of features for Oxygen Builder to improve quality of life and speed up your workflow. These are features to improve your life as the developer/designer, and not something the client or users will ever see. As Hydrogen is a pack of a bunch of smaller, mostly unrelated features, I am going to review each feature separately.
Effects On Performance
Hydrogen did not add any bloat to the front end at all and thus has no effect on the end-user. I did not notice any discernable difference in backend load times and performance either.
This is one of my favorite parts of Hydrogen. It adds a simple switch to toggle Sandbox mode. Once sandbox mode is enabled you can freely make changes to your site without any of the changes affecting the live site. Users will still be able to open the site and see it the way it is meant to be seen. If you decide you don't like the changes you made in sandbox mode you can safely wipe them and go back to live. If you're happy with your changes you can simply drag the slider to deploy your changes and everything will be instantly applied to the live site. You can even generate a link to the sandbox version to send to a client for approval before sending it to live.
This sounds like a risky aspect to entrust to a plugin, but I haven't run into any bugs or issues with it yet, and it has been extremely useful for publishing updates to my site after going live.
This allows you to copy both inline styles and CSS classes from one element to another using the right-click menu or key binds. I find this feature extremely useful and I used it a lot throughout the redesign of my website. I use a lot of utility classes, and this makes applying them to several elements insanely quick.
This allows you to copy entire elements from one page to elsewhere on the page, another page, or even onto an entirely different website (using Oxygen of course). I found this equally as useful as I did the Copy Styles feature and didn't experience any issues with it.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. It adds key binds for just about all of the actions in Oxygen that would make sense to have a key bind for. The most common ones are set by default and the rest come unbound, but it comes with an easy interface to set up whatever binds you prefer. This pairs great with the Copy Styles and Copy Elements features.
This adds a lot of the most commonly used buttons to a quickly and easily accessible right-click menu. It includes things like Copy, Paste, Duplicate, Wrap With Div, Add Conditions, etc. I used this a lot and found it very useful.
Structure Panel Width
This allows you to adjust the width of Oxygen's Structure panel. I haven't felt the need to adjust it, but I tested it for the sake of testing and it works fine.
Compact mode removes some space and padding from the structure panel to make it fit better in smaller screens. I leave it on all the time as it helps avoid the scroll bar when nesting several elements.
This simply adds icons for each element type in the structure panel. It's not a huge deal, but it is nice having the icons.
Disable Edit Locking
I recommend being careful with this one. I use it personally, but the edit locking feature is there for a reason. This removes the warning that prevents you from opening multiple Oxygen editors at the same time. Having multiple open at the same time can result in loss of work if you accidentally save the wrong one.
I turned this on because I was tired of Oxygen incorrectly thinking I already had another editor open and this feature allowed me to bypass that.
Pricing for Hydrogen is pretty reasonable. All options are lifetime licenses. $29.99 for one site, $39.99 for five sites, and $59.99 for unlimited. If I were only planning to create one website I don't think I would personally find it worth it to buy a license unless that one site was going to be very large and need frequent updates. As someone who intends to use Oxygen for almost all client sites from now on, the unlimited license feels like a steal.
It's worth noting that most of these features could theoretically be added natively to Oxygen someday and I wouldn't be surprised if they are. Fortunately, the price is pretty low though so I won't really feel like I wasted my money considering how much value it is adding for now.
While I really enjoy the sandbox mode, the concept of entrusting something so crucial and potentially dangerous to a relatively young and inexpensive plugin can be a bit unnerving. The good news is, the developer of Hydrogen is actually a member of the official Oxygen Team and in the 3 months this feature has been live, an issue has never been reported. I trust it, but my recommendation is to make a quick backup before making changes in sandbox mode. It's always best to be careful!
I really enjoy Hydrogen and I wholeheartedly recommend it! I really haven't had any negative experiences with it and it definitely improves my workflow. The sandbox mode and copy features are game-changing and I don't think I could ever stop using Hydrogen unless Oxygen added these features natively.
I want to make it clear that I DO have an affiliate link for this product now. Each link to the Hydrogen page on this review is an affiliate link. If you do decide to purchase Hydrogen and use my affiliate link to support me I highly appreciate it. I do not write any of my content with the intention of making money. I simply include these affiliate links because I can and I might as well see if I can get a small amount of free money out of it. I hope with this in mind you are still able to trust my reviews, and I promise that my written opinions are always the honest truth and I would never attempt to lead my viewers into a purchase they might regret.