Lately I’ve been doing a lot more work with WordPress, and it’s given me the opportunity to work on lots of different themes and theme frameworks. Given the choice I would much rather start a new theme from scratch. Of course “from scratch” means using one of the many starter themes people have put together, recently my favorite being BLANK from the Digging into WordPress Theme Clubhouse. However when working in a production environment I’ve found it beneficial to find a framework and stick with it. That way projects get done faster, everyone uses the same codebase, and clients all get a similar experience.
Enter the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. As soon as I got a look at how the framework is built I was instantly impressed. First, it has several great features that are helpful to both developers and users. It offers automatic updates, great security, customizable theme settings, custom widgets, plenty of layout options, and the list goes on. There are a lot of frameworks out there that give you similar things, but Genesis has some really cool features for developers too.
For starters, the theme is fully compatible with all the new features in WordPress 3.0. StudioPress was quick to add those features for their users, and that kind of dedication to their product is a huge value. Another great value for developers is the themes construction. They have built Genesis to be a starting point for child themes, allowing for radically different sites without having to do the same edits to the main theme over and over again. To help make a child theme as customizable as it needs to be in order to be successful, they have built in plenty of hooks to do whatever you need. If you want to add a widgetized area above the footer, it’s easy. You need an add area above the content, it can be done. Anything you can think of you can do. Proof of this is easy enough to find, since from what I can tell every theme that StudioPress has available is a child theme of Genesis.
On top of all this, StudioPress has an active community of users and developers on their forums that can offer help to any problems people come up with. I think anyone who really uses WordPress knows how important an active community can be.
To wrap this up, I can simplify my first impressions into one word : awesome. I’m really looking forward to building some cool stuff on top of this theme framework, and when I do i’ll be back writing a post about it.