New Agency Pro is Incredible

Community Forums Forums General Discussion New Agency Pro is Incredible

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  nickthegeek 8 months, 4 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 31 total)
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  • #70227

    cneuman
    Participant
    Post count: 15

    OK, finally felt brave and did it. The hardest thing was getting a local version running to experiment with.

    I went through your steps and it all seemed to work as you said. I still don’t really understand what the online css converter did since I had to go through the chart and find and replace all to get the style.css to work.

    So is that all there is to the conversion? Is my old Agency theme now just as good as a new “Pro” theme as far as schema and microdata and all that stuff?

    Thanks for the help!

    #70275

    stinkykong
    Participant
    Post count: 159

    You can look at the source code of each version (your conversion and the new agency pro). You’ll see in the body tag on any page a mention of “itemscope” which shows that the theme is converted. You’ll have to take careful review of all page elements, especially those you don’t have visible on a new site (maybe the alt sidebar is still wonky, or the footer is reformatted with text aligned to center, etc, etc, etc). The conversion also might throw your header image out of kilter….all is fixable through further adjusting CSS.

    Now in answer to your question, “Is my old Agency theme now just as good as a new “Pro” theme …”. It’s in the running with all the other themes. Maybe one is better than another in minute ways…I don’t know, but perhaps that’s a good question for the floor (here) or even to Studio Press support.

    BTW, there is a plugin called Microdata Manager by Brad Potter that offers you the ability to change some of your microdata tags on a per-page basis. Microdata being so complex, I don’t know what the advantages are SEO wise either today or tomorrow but with HTML5 activated, you’re prepared to take advantage of it all.

    Hope this all helps. Give us a link when you’re up and running.


    Web Design by Websentia Web Services
    http://websentia.com

    #70291

    olivier.moreau
    Participant
    Post count: 48

    One thing is sure, I’m not going to upgrade some existing sites from Agency to Agency-pro because it’s too much changes in the design. That means my old site are not fully HTML5 because I’m not going to spend hours changing CSS tags. The Executive Pro theme seems more similar to the old Agency and it’s in HTML5… When I think one of the reason I choose Genesis was the automatic upgrade !!!

    #70297

    William
    Participant
    Post count: 116

    Upgrades don’t always go the way you may expect. Just look at the issues over at Apple with the changes to the iWork suite. Plenty of people think that Apple dumbed it down to be compatible with the iOS versions. In effect, they released an upgrade that eliminated useful features.

    That doesn’t mean the new product is a bad product. It’s just not one that works for the folks who are complaining about it. Others who don’t use those features, but appreciate some of the new touches, are happy with the new version of iWorks.

    This looks like the same issue here. It’s a re-invention of the idea for the product. If it’s not for you, stick with the old generation.

    The lesson I’m learning from it is to keep my own archive of the themes that I like in case of a replacement. Yes, it means that you’re stuck in time and may not have access to new technology. That’s life. Nobody truly gets to have it all.


    #70300

    stinkykong
    Participant
    Post count: 159

    The new Agency Pro is nothing at all like the old Agency. This is true of all the new versions of themes of the same name but especially so for Agency.

    I don’t know why they keep the same names on some of these but my take is this: The old Agency is one of my favorites and most used for customization…a very flexible design.

    The new Agency is totally, totally different. The flexibility I think it offers comes from the background image and how strong a role it plays in the visual impact. That means you must rely heavily on it and have some image editing skills which for some people is a plus but for others would perhaps appear to be a crutch.

    I find the new Agency to be promising but not at all a viable substitute for what the old Agency had to offer. The ability to convert the old Agency to HTML5 successfully gives us the best of both worlds. Today, I am happy to use both.


    Web Design by Websentia Web Services
    http://websentia.com

    #70302

    William
    Participant
    Post count: 116

    Neither version was quite right for me. I would love to find a Genesis theme that works to replace a StoreFront Theme I use for eCommerce, but it just isn’t there with Agency or anything else in the library.

    You’re right that the background image is a huge part of the impact, but who says it has to be a photograph? It could just as easily be an illustration, a texture, something you get off iStockPhoto. You don’t need to have image editing skills to make this theme work. You just need to have some design vision to work with the possibilities it presents.

    It may end up as something I use on another site in the future For now, my wishlist is on a different path:

    1: A better portfolio section to use in any Genesis theme
    2: Updated Education theme
    3: An eCommerce theme that works for selling eBooks, videos and downloadable content online

    I guess it’s good to want.


    #70306

    dev
    Participant
    Post count: 451

    I have to chime in here and ask this. What is ‘wrong’ with the old Agency 2.0? Is there a reason it MUST be retired? Is the only thing that is lacking the HTML5 markup? If so, let me ask this: How important is HTML5 to most (client) sites? I may be very wrong, but it seems that HTML5 is a nice thing to have… IF you are going to use it… and I’ve not seen much need for it in our busy shop.

    For those of you on the Studio Press “pro” license (or whatever they call it) the old themes are available via a link at the bottom of the long list of “all themes.” Maybe it is also available to single-purchasers.

    What I don’t understand is that Studio Press seems to be a company that has always ‘listened’ to its customers as well as one that does not make rash and radical moves. But dumping the old and popular Agency 2.0 in favor of Agency Pro does not represent sound decision-making in my opinion. I would have spent the resources to re-vamp Agency 2.0 and then brought out Agency Pro as a NEW theme with a different name.

    It would be nice if someone at SP explained their thinking in their blog. Their aloofness on this issue is troubling to me. I’m wondering if maybe there was some internal re-org such that the people making the decisions today are not those who made them in the past. I’m seeing that with Apple (i.e. the reference to iWork/Pages/Numbers… don’t get me started on that!) and NextGen and a few others.

    This is why I like small companies like Appfinite and Soliloquy… there is one guy who runs the show and he/she is approachable and assessable to answer issues like this… they don’t hide behind a ‘corporate’ facade.

    Coca Cola learned its lesson with “New Coke.” That lesson is “listen to your customers, don’t take away what they like to buy… or they will buy somewhere else.”

    Suggestion: If you want a theme like Agency, take a look at the Appfinite Optimal theme… it is HTML5 modified. It is easy to “contort”… we use it as a base theme for some of our offerings…. it is the theme we use for our site (but not the HTML5 version… yet.)

    Please, SP… listen to your customers… or you will lose them.

    Unlike most of you… and surely unlike the execs at SP… I’m 65 years old… I’m a dinosaur. I’ve been running businesses (most of them successful) since my late 20s. “Good judgement comes from bad judgement!” You would do well to understand some of the basic principles which are the key ingredients to business longevity and success. Anyone over age 40 can tell them to you!

    Dev
    NewMedia Website Design

    #70332

    William
    Participant
    Post count: 116

    Please, SP… listen to your customers… or you will lose them.

    Think about this from a different perspective. If you already bought the developer pack, then you aren’t a customer for new themes. As you mentioned, you still have the option to get the old themes and you still get whatever new themes come along. You even get information on how to update the old theme to HTML5, but you have to do that work yourself.

    New themes exist to entice new customers – people with cash to pay. Those of us who paid our cash and aren’t offering more cash are not new customers. StudioPress is fulfilling the promise it made before we bought – to have access to all the new themes as they come out.

    I don’t recall any promise that the existing themes would get new technology added to them.

    StudioPress can’t lose you as a customer when it isn’t selling anything to you. You paid, you’re getting what you were promised when you signed up. The customers that StudioPress has to worry about losing are the ones who haven’t bought anything yet, or maybe returning to buy another individual theme. So, the new themes are trying to lure new business.


    #70345

    cneuman
    Participant
    Post count: 15

    Thanks again SK,

    I do see the “itemscope” used in the source. Also I was wrong about the automated css converter, it does work and is instant to change your style sheet code. This makes it very fast to convert the site. I haven’t seen any issues yet and all seems to work fine.

    I’m going to ask a question I don’t really grasp, but here goes. What about use of in-line css? Does this code need to be updated as well. For us it has usually just been font.

    #70346

    dev
    Participant
    Post count: 451

    You make a good point, one that I had not considered. Yes, I suppose that on some level, previous customers are not important in the SP business model. But do hear me out.

    I don’t think SP has or wants the reputation of being a “one-time good deal” shop. You have to have happy and satisfied old customers to attract new customers. It is so much easier to keep a good reputation then to recover after getting a bad one.

    There is also the spillover effect… in that some people will judge other Copyblogger products either rightly or wrongly on what is said about one of their” products”… in this case the SP suite of themes.

    While your assertion that SP does not HAVE to consider the thoughts, feelings, likes, and wants of their past customers, I think such an attitude on the part of any company is shortsighted.

    If I were running the company what I would have done is put up a blog entry saying something like: Hey folks, we’re looking at mothballing Agency and coming up with a totally different Agency theme we will name “Pro.” What are your thoughts?

    So many problems could be avoided if businesses simply communicated with their customers. But as companies get bigger and more successful the “cocoon effect” occurs where decisions makers get isolated from the customer base and only meet/listen to like-minded people (most of whom they hired.) Apple has gotten this way. I don’t think anyone in Cupertino even uses their iWorks products much less ever asked anyone about changes to be made. And now their customer base is livid… their forum boards are on fire… the respected bloggers are gutting the company… which is simply not good for business… especially when you have a successful and aggressive competitor (in Samsung.)

    If I were a member of the executive team at SP, I’d be asking myself how the Agency decision was made, why it was made, what research went into the decision process… and if maybe the resulting decision was a mistake that should be corrected.

    Then again, I’m a dinosaur with different business experiences and foundations than the current generation of young executives out there. I’ve never believed in ‘release early and often.’ Why put out bad products just to be followed by more bad products.

    I started my 30+ year career in software development, project lead, consultant, executive, etc. with Ross Perot at EDS in the 1970s. He said “People hire us to do it right the first time.” He told us that our competitors had the mantra of: “There is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it over.”

    True, SP probably does not care about me financially… they have my money. But they should care about what I tell people about them. I know that I care deeply about what people say about our company. It’s just good business.

    I fail to see how dumping the old Agency theme and making customers upset is beneficial to their business in either the long or short run.

    Dev

    http://www.NewMediaWebsiteDesign.com

    #70376

    stinkykong
    Participant
    Post count: 159

    CNeuman, I don’t think you need to make any changes in your inline CSS edits unless for some reason you used IDs or classes that mimic the old tags that no-longer have rules to govern them. From what you imply, I don’t think that would ever be the case. All should be good unless you see something odd.


    Web Design by Websentia Web Services
    http://websentia.com

    #70429

    William
    Participant
    Post count: 116

    Dev,

    You seem to have come away with a different meaning than I intended. At no point did I mean to imply that StudioPress doesn’t care about its customers. What I’m saying is that they are delivering exactly what they promised.

    You appear to want something else. That doesn’t mean StudioPress doesn’t care about its customers. It doesn’t mean that you’re unimportant to StudioPress. Clearly, they don’t want customers who go forth and say unpleasant things about them.

    So why would you or anyone else do so when StudioPress delivers exactly what it promised?

    By the way, I turn 50 this month. I’ve done my own share of software development and IT service delivery. I see no reason to be upset by the new Agency theme or any other new theme.


    #70438

    dev
    Participant
    Post count: 451

    Well, I have to politely and respectfully disagree with William. I think it was a poor (i.e poorly thought out) management decision to take what was arguably the most popular ‘base’ theme that developers like us use to create new ‘looks” (like this and like this and even like this ) and deprecate it without warning, discussion, or even giving a reason.

    If what William means by saying that dumping the Agency theme and having no thought or care for what customers might think about it is what SP “promised” than he and I have different expectations from the vendors that we depend on and have put our trust in. Obviously, what works well for his business model may not work well (or at all) for ours and vice versa.

    Dev

    http://NewMediaWebsiteDesign.com

    #70449

    cneuman
    Participant
    Post count: 15

    Dev,

    I am extremely new to this mix and very inexperienced, but I agree wholeheartedly with your observations. While trying to learn Agency, we were aware the Genesis 2.0 / HTML5 transition were coming and even asked should we go forward designing with Agency now or wait for the transition to be completed. We were advised to go forward and all would be fine.
    What really bothers me is the lack of information from SP on this issue. The HTML5 conversions of older themes seems to be handled by the community and not supported at all by SP. I would have thought SP would have come up with solutions to guide existing customers through this change. The release of Agency Pro, while a nice theme in it’s own right, is of no help to those of us using the older Agency version. Not even close.

    I think this screams “We don’t care about existing customers”. The good news is the community has guided us through this transition, but it makes me wary of continuing as a SP customer.

    #70527

    dev
    Participant
    Post count: 451

    I’m not all that surprised that SP handled this poorly. It is understandable. Genesis 2.0 and the child themes that are supported by it is probably the largest project the company has undertaken. They are a young company, mostly developers which/who had little ‘institutional knowledge” on how to create the “roadmap” to accomplish such a large change without the kinds of issues that have surfaced in this thread and others.

    Many development companies wrongly believe that “it’s the technology” and not “the customers” that is important. I think SP was somewhat overwhelmed with the difficulty in moving their somewhat aged infrastructure to the “modern age” (as Woo and Pagelines has) that it took all of their time and resources to pound out the code.

    And you have to give credit where credit is due. Have any of you had any major issues with Gen 2.x? Or what about any of the revamped “pro” themes? Whether or not they dropped the ball with regard to their customer service, they got the technology right… and I don’t think anyone can one can argue the contrary.

    Gen 2.0 and the conversion of their entire product line was/is a major and difficult project and as a software developer myself and as the owner of a development company, and as a veteran manager of many large projects in both the public and private sector, I give SP a lot of credit. I can’t fault their software engineering methodology. (I wish the government had hired them to do the healthcare website!)

    To paraphrase an old movie (this dates me) “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” It is not a fatal failure. Good companies learn from bad mistakes and I expect (hope) there are discussions going on among the leaders of SP about how communication could have been better managed (or managed at all) and what is the best path to take going forward.

    If I were running the business, I’d post a blog entry with a “Mea culpa” message and a pledge to have better customer communications in the future.

    Time will tell. How they handle this will either make SP a better development company… or just another development company.

    Dev
    NewMedia Website Design

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