Last week i had a client who liked a child theme for genesis, provided by studiopress and i had to work with genesis theme framework. Now i want to share with you how it was to work with genesis and where is good at.
My first impression was that it was somewhat built for wordpress users that have some knowledge on programming. Probably because i felt the need to tweak a lot of things to make my client happy. But those things were easy to do, the main features of the genesis framework helped me.
The genesis framework is more from those who want help to build normal sites with a lot of pages, which needs good navigation and pages to not be shown in the main menu. It saved me a lot of programming time if it were to do all by myself, and it helped me to keep the theme files clean, because most changes will be made trough the administration panel.
The first theme functionality that camed into my eyes was the fact that i was able to set the site layout. I was able to select to have one sidebar on the left, one sidebar on the right, 2 sidebars on the left, 2 sidebars on the right, one sidebar to each side or no sidebar at all.
The good thing about this feature is that you can select the layout for each page. You can set either to use the default theme settings, or to choose a specific layout to use for that page.
The ability that genesis theme framework is lacking is the option to set how the sidebar to appear for pages categories, for example to select the layout for pages, for blog list page, for archive, tag pages, search result pages and others. Surprisingly, there is a option to select if the breadcrumbs appear on those pages categories, probably they will implement this in future versions.
A good feature for every site are the breadcrumbs. You have to tell your visitors where they are . Maybe this is not important at all on a blog, but on a site, it is indispensable. Well, the genesis theme framework can show breadcrumbs at one click away, and as i said above, you can select where breadcrumbs are shown:
Genesis is probided by default with 2 navigation menus. One is called primary and the other one secondary. For each of them there are cool settings.
As you can see in the above image, there is an option to activate or de-activate, option to select either to display home link or not. You can set the navigation to display either pages either categories, for each of them you can select the order: by title, slug, date or with the help of the default wordpress menu order which you probably would choose.
A good feature is that you can select the navigation depth, one level, two or more, but an awesome feateure is that you can select either what pages to show in the menu, by their ID’s, or what pages to exclude. Well, this could have been done by changhing one line of code, but believe me, changing the code everytime you add a new page is a pain in the ass. And if you don’t have any programming knowledge woul be impossible.
Those features made me to think that Genesis is the best. Well, it has it’s limitations, but it is good for what it does.
In genesis you can select from administration panel if you want to allow comments for blog posts or pages. This can be also changed from the code, but it is faster to do it from administration panel, this is the reason those frameworks are built, to save us time.
Bloggers are very used with this feature. But most people use a plugin for this. Well, genesis theme framework has this included so you don’t have to install other plugins. This is not the first time when genesis can replace a plugin, the same thing is viable for breadcrumbs, navigation, and others.
There are plugins for that too, but genesis can save you time on this.
Now you can forget about All in one SEO pack. The genesis comes by default with all seo features you need.
You can add title, description and keywords for every specific page or post, and many other seo features.
Genesis have a special admin page for seo settings, so you can find everything you may think: title setup, follow/nofollow, index/noindex, etc.
Genesis theme framework has a set of widgets that can give you some good new features to your site or blog. For example: Featured post and featured page widgets. You can drag featured page and featured post widgets to your sidebar and a huge option list will pop-up.
With this feature you can power your blog to have a main page where you tell your visitors what the blog is about, and then show them recent posts, featured posts, etc.
The genesis theme framework is built on widgets idea. All genesis child themes are built on the widgets idea. They have a set of widgets defined for sidebars and front pages and you just drag and drop there whatever content you like.
Another good feature is that you can set a thumbnail for every post and every page. The featured page and post widgets have the option to show the thumbnail.
You can select whatever you like to display, for posts you can show the title, the thumbnail, excerpt, author gravatar, category.
The genesis featured page have less options: you can select the page, thumbnail, title, content, character limit and alignment.
The child theme i used was Executive theme . On the homepage, it supported one main page added trough the widgets, and 4 featured pages in the footer.
Everything that has to be done is to set thumbnails for each page and then use the feature page widget, drag and drop to every sidebar. A worpress “sidebar” is created for each area of the theme, to be manageable trough the administration panel.
Other genesis widgets that i had not used are: Twitter updates, Category navigation menu with advanced options and user profile.
My experience with Genesis was fine, it saved me a lot of editing time, very few times i had to work in the code but that was because i did not wanted to install more plugins to do simple tasks that i could do in minutes by editing direct files.
I was also need several plugins to be installed to fulfill my client needs and all work just fine with genesis. Among the plugins that i’ve installed are qtranslate, contact form 7, post footer, Freebie images, zemanta, sociable, tinyMCE advanced, related posts. All worked fine with genesis.
The Genesis theme framework costs $60 and a child theme costs $25, but it worth every penny. You can get the genesis theme framework and child themes from studiopress .