Genesis Framework v1.6 Beta Available

We haven’t really been bragging about this one very much, but you know us… always cooking up something new. Isn’t that why you use Genesis to begin with? We’d like to invite you into a beta period of Genesis v1.6. Keep reading…

We’ll save the marketing mumbo jumbo for the final release. I mean, we’re talking to developers, right? You want to know what’s new under the hood – so here goes:

Footer Widgets

Recent themes, like Venture, Focus, and even Prose, have been using this feature for a long time now. But unfortunately, they had to do things the old way, the hard way. With Genesis 1.6, this gets SO much easier. Now, all you need is 1 line of code in the theme’s functions.php file, and a little CSS (which we’ll be happy to build into many of our themes).

add_theme_support( 'genesis-footer-widgets', 3 );

See the number “3” there? That means you want to generate 3 widget areas. Want more? Less? Just adjust the number and Genesis takes care of the rest. Throw in some CSS, adjust to your liking, and start putting widgets in there. It’s that easy. No bulky code in your functions file, no need to register widget areas or no additional php files in your child theme.

Custom Header Image

The easiest way to take a Genesis theme and make it your own is to add a custom header image, and maybe a custom background color or image. Custom background is already dead simple with a Genesis theme:


But adding a custom header has always been a bit more difficult. We’re fixing that.

add_theme_support( 'genesis-custom-header', array( 'width' => 960, 'height' => 120 ) );

This feature can be as simple, or as rich, as you need it to be. The array you pass it can handle a number of arguments like text color, default header fallback, and custom callback functions for the admin and front end CSS output.

Again, you can try to break this feature by checking out the Genesis 1.6 Beta default theme. And please to try to break it. It makes the software better.

100% Custom Menu Support

Up until now, we’ve been sitting on the fence with regard to exclusively using custom nav menus. Yes, we give you the option to use them (we’ve supported them since they were first introduced in WordPress 3.0), but we still give you the option of building nav menus manually, with Page and Category IDs. That’s old, clunky, outdated technology. Genesis is too fly for that junk.

So we’re removing those options.

Don’t panic.

We have a plan, and it doesn’t involve any work on your part.

During the upgrade process, Genesis will take your old menu options, all those Page and Category IDs, depth options, etc., and move them to a safe place where they can be accessed for as long as you need them. And behind the scenes, Genesis will recognize that you’re not quite ready to move to a custom nav system just yet, and continue to display your old menus.

As soon as you’re ready to move to your own custom nav menu, just create one, and assign it to the proper theme location (Primary or Secondary).

We’ve tested this process in-house, but we NEED your help to test it further. Here’s how.

  1. Install Genesis 1.5 on a test site.
  2. Create page or category menus the old fashioned way. Make them as simple or as complex as you like.
  3. Upgrade to Genesis 1.6 Beta.
  4. Visit your test site homepage and see if your old menus still show (they should).
  5. Create a custom nav menu, and assign it to the proper theme location.
  6. See if it replaces your old menu on your test site homepage (it should).
  7. Tell us all about it!

Oh, and yes, the nav extras (twitter, search, feed links, etc.) will still be in the Theme Settings.

Other Stuff

Yeah, you’ll probably notice some other bits of jazz in the Beta, but we’ll talk about that more later.

So, if you’re a Pro-Plus customer, go grab yourself a copy of Genesis 1.6 Beta. Just promise us you’ll take it for a spin (per the notes above) and let us know how we can make it better.


  1. Nathan, the Custom Header Image option sounds like it’s worth the price of admission. I love how Genesis is removing the need to tinker with the guts of child themes to accomplish common tasks. Any idea when G1.6 will make it out of beta?

    • Hey Ed – thanks for the comment. We’re doing our best to alleviate any additional code, overhead and functionality in our work that WordPress already accomplishes. As for Genesis 1.6, I’d say within the next week or two.

  2. So, with the release of 1.6 will child themes have the ability to tweak all of the same assets as the core framework? I’m using a child theme and really hoping I can add a custom image in the next release.

  3. Just installed it on my production site (it’s what I do). Nothing broke, so I switched over to the custom menu system and it seems to be working perfectly as well. Fantastic work, everyone!

  4. Sounds like a great update!

    Any change of adding some admin side functionality for all this stuff? Menu’s under the appearance section perhaps? It would be nice if we could upload or have users upload headers/logo and background images right from the admin panel.


    • The custom header function is in fact that – it taps into the organic WordPress function, which allows folks to upload their own header via the dashboard. Same with custom background.

      • This is very helpful. I have many clients who just want to change a banner. It’s been such a pain. With a custom background (easy to load) and a custom header (easy to load) that goes a LONG way to make a custom looking website, even with the same colors from one of the child themes. This is very good.
        Thanks Brian.

  5. Very cool! Glad to see the Footer Widgets added directly to Genesis. I have nothing to test as, as I’m using custom menus already. I hate the old clunky way of include/exclude IDs too.

    • It only made sense to add support for footer widgets, since all of the themes we’re working on (and will develop moving forward) will have them.

  6. Very fast development, I am eager to test it out and see what is really with this version. Any plan for the final release?

  7. what a shame that I – as a normal Genesis user – cannot obtain version 1.6 beta

  8. Thank you guys! All is working great on my test installation: old menus found – new ones accepted! Played with custom header and the footer widgets! Really great work — thank you for this awesome framework!!! Can’t wait for the final version :-)

    • David – thanks a lot for taking the time to test. We’re glad that Genesis 1.6 Beta is holding up – makes us that much more confident that it’ll be stable when it’s released.

  9. Upgraded to 1.6 Beta on a development site, kind of a complicated site. Everything worked just fine. Menus converted, old menus still showed, new menus replaced, all good! Great work!

    Will continue to use 1.6 Beta during remaining development, and this site won’t launch for another couple months. I’ll report back with any other bugs I find.

  10. Wow, just when I’m thinking, how much more can they come up with, you do! I love all of the new things…this is why StudioPress and it’s team rock!!!!

  11. Tested it out on 2 sandbox sites last night, no problems with the sites. :)

  12. Bummer. I’m a designer and developer, so I didn’t need anything more than vanilla Genesis and now I miss out on beta-testing 1.6.

  13. Just installed on one sandbox site – updated the menus instantly; no problems found. Will keep playing with it. Terrific!

  14. Hi
    Footer widgets sound good to me.
    Only just started using Genesis and already wondering why there is no real footer.

    Thought initially that you guys had decided that there is not much SEO power in the footer but I still yearned for a few widget areas down at the bottom.
    Looks as though I can stop yearning soon.

    The custom menus in the current version are fantastic – 5min job if you work slowly so I can’t imagine how you can improve on what you have already.

    If you guys want non coders to start using Genesis, you have to make it easy to do things.
    Pasting in blocks of PHP is pretty scary to a non coder – dragging across a few widgets isn’t.

    All sound very interesting and exciting.
    By the time I launch my first Genesis site 1.6 should be up and running.

  15. I’m afraid I don’t follow the decision to remove the option to have a nav menu built as a list of pages sorted by menu order. For sites with a lot of pages it makes sense to me to use a plugin such as CMS Page Order (or pagemash) to set the menu hierarchy. When the page is created it can then be assigned its position in the page hierarchy so that where it appears within the menu will always correspond to how the breadcrumb trail will appear for that page and the permalink url for the page.

    If a custom menu is used, when clients add new pages it will be easy for them to create their page then set its position in the custom menu, but unless they also set the parent page correctly when creating (or later editing) the page, the permalink url and breadcrumb trail will indicate that the page is at the top level rather than maybe two or three levels deep.

    This need to set the hierarchy in two separate places seems (dare I say it) ‘clunky’ compared to the ‘traditional’ way of working where it only needs to be set once and I don’t think clients will always remember to set the parent page in addition to dragging the page in the custom menu as this can seem like a redundant job step to them.

    Does anyone know of a way for a page’s ‘parent page’ setting to be updated whenever that page’s location is changed in a custom menu? When I first looked at custom menus, it was a disappointment to me that it didn’t work like this by default.

    • Michael – you have a valid point, but our philosophy with Genesis was to keep the unnecessary code bloat out of it – especially if/when WordPress offers solutions that are potentially used by millions of people. When we inserted the list pages/categories options, that was prior to WP 3.0 and custom menus. It seems like redundancy to offer up a “custom” solution in the framework, when one already exists within WordPress.

      • i’m with you michael – sorry brian, i liked it the old way, i just updated to 1.6.1 ( as per instructions above) and lost all my drop menus, tried to create a new page witha parent and nothing happened on the nav.

        so if this is the case then i have 45 websites ( that have over 50 pages each) that i now have to spend time on !!!!

        can you email me a link to the forum that will help me solve this issue as its a BIG ONE for me, + I have another 20 websites about to start so i’m not happy.



          It was a different issue that i did at the SAME time thus my confusion. i still have an issue with the change but this is not the place for it.



      • I was pleased to see Nick-the-Geek’s “Genesis Nav Menu Amplified” plugin: which restores & extends the previous Genesis menu system.

        This is useful to anyone who is like me – a Genesis fan who is stuck in their ways and happy with their existing workflow, but as its an external plugin, it won’t get in the way of everyone else.

  16. Any demo to view mate?

  17. Brian,

    Is studiopress child themes on a monthly release schedule?

    I really love getting a new present every month.

    Thanks for all of the hard work you and the team at studiopress.


  18. Wow. I didn’t know you guys provided the ability for your users to test out Beta versions of your theme. That’s super cool! Looks like you have some nice updates coming along…100% custom menu support seems like a very good turn in the right direction. 😉

  19. No major issues with 1.6. I’m chomping at the bit to use it on a new site.. :)

  20. How about developing shortcodes for the Content Column Classes instead of using html div and class in the page or post.

  21. Is there a planned upgrade path for us testing 1.6b?

    I’m using the posted beta on a local multisite install, but really want to roll my sleeves up and get in to child theming with 1.6. I’m working on a personal site that will go live within a week.

    The disclaimers says don’t use it on production sites, but if I get in to theming with 1.6 and possibly release a 1.6 based site into the wild, will there be a simple path towards upgrading from 1.6b1 to b2, b3 and eventually 1.6 final?


  22. Is there any chance of us “normal” Genesis users being able to access the beta? I do custom theme design, so I like building on Genesis, but I don’t need all the child themes (which is why I didn’t get the ProPlus Plan). After all, in the Genesis features list, it does say “Genesis gives you unlimited everything” and “There’s no ‘Developer Option’ here.”

    • Craig Tuller :

      Sorry, you’ll have to wait until 1.6 is released. Our system is setup so that only Pro Plus members have access to beta’s, as most are Developers.

  23. So, I miss read in the comments or Shortcodes will never be available in the Genesis frameworks? I have to get them elsewhere?
    Thank you

  24. Any chance that a future release will include a way to only allow the developer to see all the customization tools and not the client?

    I was looking at another framework recently – and for the life of me at the moment, I cannot remember which one – that allows the developer to “lock” as it were, the theme options tools so that clients can’t accidentally mess something up. They still have the basic WordPress functions but all of the other things – appearance, theme options, plugins, settings, and all that – are out of sight yet they still have admin capabilities too.

  25. How can I get the genesis zip file? I don’t want to do an automatic at this time.

    Thank you
    Pam Brame