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:

add_custom_background();

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 That’s old, clunky, outdated technology.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.