Neither of the panel’s Genesis enthusiasts was able to participate in this week’s panel. I had a crippling migraine and Jackie d’Elia had a schedule conflict. That makes the discussion somewhat less valuable, or at any rate somewhat less accurate, than it might have been.
One thing people didn’t mention was the fact that page builders like Beaver Builder provide an option to create a custom home page layout that is more user-friendly than the traditional widgetized home page of Genesis child themes. Building pages out of widgets was always kind of a kludge. It was a useful kludge when first created, as it allows you to change the content of the page and keep it updated in a way that doesn’t require code, but it has always been confusing to first-time users of Genesis. The free version of Beaver Builder lets you insert widgets into any page that you use the page builder to create, and everything is right there on an actual page called “home.”
It would be great if StudioPress spent some time seriously re-thinking the approach that child themes have taken to a custom home page layout, so that instead of having to manage the home page widgets in WordPress’ (clunky) widget admin, it’s possible to manage them on the home page.
Regarding the other comments, I would argue that Genesis is and is likely to remain primarily a developer’s framework. Though most child themes do actually make use of the Customizer for things like choice of colors, header image, and logo (and indeed the default Genesis theme options are available in the Customizer), these are not themes designed to allow the user to adjust every possible part of the CSS by using toggles and selectors. (Yes, there are plugins to let you customize Genesis themes in this way, but my own experience of them has been just godawful.)
If you’re a DIY type without code knowledge, Genesis is probably not the way to go. But if you don’t want to spend hours tinkering with your site design and either plan to have a developer build out a custom site design for you or are happy with the way a child theme looks once you’ve selected your accent color(s) and images, Genesis can be very good for the end user. The additional hooks and filters that Genesis provides can make a developer’s work easier, saving clients money by saving development time.
Changes to the framework meant to attract the DIY users that Adam and Kim work with would risk alienating the passionate developer community that has been responsible for the popularity of Genesis. That doesn’t mean that no changes can be made–I’m not the only developer who’s ready to see an alternative to widgetized home pages. But any company that wants to pursue a new market needs to take the needs of its existing market into consideration, and the existing market for Genesis remains pretty strong.
Certainly, if you want to be able to tinker with all the bits of your theme’s design but don’t want to write any code, you could do worse than to check out Astra or the Beaver Builder Theme. If you’re a professional developer, though, you’re more likely to be making a choice between Genesis and something like Underscores.
Original Show Notes
This week on the WP-Tonic Round table, John Locke, Morten Rand-Hendriksen, Mendel Kurland, and Adam Preiser joined show co-host Kim Shivler to discuss whether the Genesis Framework and Themes were impacted and had a future in WordPress based on the future of page builders.
The team started with a discussion of Morten’s GitHub request for a Plain language outline of project, scope, direction, and goals for the WordPress Gutenberg project.
Morten explained what he found as he dug into the future of Gutenberg and that it is a much more comprehensive change than a change to the visual editor. He has asked that the project be documented in plain text so that people fully understand it.
People think of Gutenberg as only the visual editor, but it isn’t correct. The concept of Gutenberg surrounds blocks. Everything is a block, and going forward this will include the header, sidebar, footer and everything else inside the view. This hasn’t been communicated to the community.
Main Topic: The Genesis Theme Framework
The main topic of the day questioned if the Genesis Framework and Genesis Themes would be impacted negatively by the rise of page builders.
The team as a whole felt that the Genesis Framework and Genesis Themes tend to be a favorite of developers. Those of us working with Do-it-Yourselfers usually have people select something else.
It was mentioned that Beaver Builder is a page builder that works with the Genesis Framework and Child Themes.
The team felt that the topic was less about whether page builders threatened the Genesis Platforms or if more Do-it-Yourself and people looking for simple solutions was more of a problem.
This Week’s New Stories
- Gutenberg Contributors Explore Alternative to Using iframes for Meta Boxes
- Provide plain language outline of project scope, direction, and goals for Gutenberg
- From €21,000 to €44,000/monthly: The company rises
This Week’s Panel of WordPress Experts
- Adam Preiser: from WPCrafter
- Morten Rand-Hendriksen: from Lynda.com
- Kim Shivler: from White Glove Web Training
- John Locke: from Lockedown Design
- Mendel Kurland: from GoDaddy
What don’t you join us on Facebook every Friday at 9 am PST and be part of our live show where you can a be part of the discussion? https://www.facebook.com/wptonic/
To also see a list of upcoming Friday & Wednesday shows during the month go here. https://www.wp-tonic.com/blab/