Tagged: discussion benefits
August 19, 2014 at 11:46 am #119809cosmocanuckMember
Hi all. I'm trying to learn Genesis with mixed success so far, but my hopes are still high.
I'm a self-taught WP developer who's gotten pretty far along in understanding PHP, the various WordPress functions, etc. I can build child themes and customize them pretty well. But then I wanted to move from my piecemeal tweaking to a more "best practices" method of building sites. Genesis seemed very highly regarded and I can see it's been used to build some great sites.
Bearing in mind that I'm only a moderately experienced coder, I must confess that after many weeks with it, I don't quite understand what makes "the Genesis way" superior. My experience is that it is much more complicated to do the same things in Genesis that I do in standard child themes by modifying theme pages like single.php; making custom category pages and revamping what is shown on them; etc. For example, I want to change the way posts on a category archive page are displayed. I could make a "category-XX.php" file and adjust what's shown to my heart's content, but in Genesis that seems not to be possible. Every tutorial page I find either recommends a plugin that doesn't quite address the actual layout, or uses some complex code in functions.php... and frankly I still haven't found anything that quite deals with my problem (though I continue to look and to learn).
It seems that the "big deal" about Genesis is that you can do it all with changes to the functions.php file, by unhooking and hooking actions/functions. Yet half the tutorials I find also refer to making custom theme pages like category.php, etc. So - and I mean this genuinely - what's the point? Why do it this different way?
It seems to me like another huge learning curve just when I was feeling like I'd made some progress on the last one, learning the Codex-based way to do things. I know that still applies, but Genesis seems to add a whole new layer to it, and I don't quite understand yet why that's a good thing and what the benefits are.
Looking forward to some thoughts, feedback and perhaps enlightenment from you Genesis gurus. Thanks!http://noneAugust 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm #119827Genesis DeveloperMember
I think that this article will give you some overview about genesis. But I am also exciting that lot of comments will come soon from other Genesis Gurus like Brad Dalton, Sridhar, David Chu etc contributors.
August 19, 2014 at 1:38 pm #119840SummerMember
You can indeed use any and all of the templates listed in the Codex with any Genesis theme... I do it all the time. The difference is that Genesis doesn't waste code and space putting those templates in all the child themes.
The child themes will use the Genesis framework by default (which includes the templates you're used to seeing), but for the child themes you get the power to pick and choose which templates you want to customize, and let Genesis handle the ones you don't want to be bothered with. You just have to build your custom templates using the code snippets you need to use.
I'm one of those folks who prefers to add codes to templates instead of loading everything into functions, so the aversion to using the built in WP template system has always confounded me. Maybe somewhere back near the beginning, people saw that the many templates weren't there and got it into their heads that they had to load everything into functions because there was no place else to put the code, but other than mass hypnosis, I have no idea how that disconnect between Genesis and templates began, I only know that it seems to be growing (based on the numerous questions and answers here that push everything into functions).
The simple view is Genesis does all the heavy lifting, and you get to sit back and "supervise" which parts you want to deal with yourself. 🙂
Brad Dalton's http://wpsites.net is chock full of snippets and tutorials that are Genesis focused, and there are other sites that have helpful information, including the Code Snippets section under http://my.studiopress.com
And yes, I'm also sure many others will chime in with more helpful tips during the day 🙂
August 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm #119845cdilsParticipant
First, I don't think Genesis is a "superior" form of theme development over the "by hand" method you've described using yourself. You could build a light-weight, well-coded, fully-functional theme by hand that does just as much as Genesis.
For me, the beauty of using a framework like Genesis is that it gives you a head start to building a great theme. You can start with a bare-bones stylesheet and functions.php that invokes the framework in under five minutes. If you're using _s or Bootstrap, or another framework, you could achieve a similar head start - the point is to start with a solid code base and develop on top of that (whether you created that code base or someone else did).
All that to say, I don't think Genesis is the right/only way and everything else is wrong - I think it just depends on the needs of the developer. Yes, you can customize the heck out of Genesis without ever leaving functions.php. Yes, you can even further extend Genesis using the WordPress templating system as you pointed out. The choice to create a template versus just dumping all of those customizations in functions.php boils down mostly to the organization of code (developer preference).
As my comfort level using action hooks/filters has increased, so has my ability to squeeze more out of Genesis. Going back to that initial code base, there are so many great things there that it'd take me a long time to build myself (and I wouldn't do nearly as a good a job). So, I stay with Genesis partly due to my comfort level with the framework and partly due to the code quality.
Beyond all that, I love working with Genesis because of the vibrant, helpful, and passionate community around it. You mentioned tutorials - there's no shortage of them. People love working with Genesis and are vocal in their commitment to sharing their knowledge. In addition to that, Genesis contributors are actively engaged participants in the larger WordPress community and contributing at that level as well. They're not in a bubble, but rather trying to make sure Genesis does things "the WordPress way."
If I sound biased, it's because I am. At the end of the day, choose to work with a platform that 1) you enjoy and 2) helps you get your work done better/faster. If that's not Genesis, that's okay, but I'm hoping this sheds some light on your question about why folks choose it. 🙂
August 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm #119854SusanModerator
For me, the beauty of using a framework like Genesis is that it gives you a head start to building a great theme.
What she said 🙂August 19, 2014 at 3:37 pm #119873cosmocanuckMember
Thanks everyone, and Carrie, it was especially great to read your thoughtful, helpful response!
I feel like, at this point, it's important for me to start focusing on some kind of standard framework and get to know it top to bottom - so I can build anything my clients need, quickly and with full understanding of what I'm doing! Genesis certainly looks like a good contender for that task.
Perhaps the tipping point for me is the support. I'm truly impressed at the speedy and helpful responses I've gotten here in the forum. All else being equal, that would win me over!
So, yes, I'm going to keep working on Genesis - and I'm glad to know I don't have to give up my template-file-based methods entirely!
Thanks to everyone for their input - and links to further reading.
adamAugust 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm #119874AnitaKeymaster
Carrie is a gem... just one of the "gold nuggets" in the Genesis Developer community! GaryJ is another - you might want to get his book too - http://gamajo.com/. If you are on Twitter follow us, get into the feed and use hashtag #GenesisWP. It's very active on Twitter too.
Love coffee, chocolate and my Bella!August 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm #119882uwitnessMember
These are good questions, and I hear where you're coming from. I'm from a long background as a web editor/producer in public broadcasting, but started building WordPress websites in my own time a few years ago based on what I'd already learned about HTML and CSS in my various jobs. I felt I had a good knowledge of WordPress, but then wanted to step up a level and employ a framework to streamline building websites (and get that head-start as Carrie mentioned above).
I looked at Genesis initially, but it seemed a touch daunting with (as you mention yourself) lots of talk of templates, hooks and editing functions.php etc. However, I eventually arrived back at using Genesis via Dynamik Website Builder, a Genesis child theme that advertises itself by talking about its many "no-coding options". It certainly has those - though I didn't need its numerous CSS options boxes as CSS was something I did know well! - but it's also an extremely powerful child theme with features to help you build Genesis site designs from scratch. It integrates custom CSS, functions, templates, hooks, conditionals etc all in the same interface, which I've found enormously helpful.
However, if you do still want to try out Genesis, you might want to look at Dynamik's sister product, Genesis Extender - this is a plugin that offers that same all-in-one interface as Dynamik (minus the hundreds of no-coding options for CSS) and is perhaps a slightly more user-friendly way for some to customise the Genesis sample theme and all the various child themes on offer.
It was those two products that really helped me get into Genesis and understand it better - first DWB, then Extender, and now often using just Genesis (though I still turn to the others frequently) - so you might want to check one of them out. (I'm not on commission, honestly...)
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