Introducing the Genesis Framework

I am very happy to announce Genesis – an advanced theme framework for WordPress. This project has been in development for quite a while, and was something that has been on my mind for well over a year. We’re closing in on a beta version, something that we are very excited about!
Genesis Theme Framework for WordPress

About the Genesis Theme Framework

The Genesis theme framework is built on a simple vanilla blog-type parent theme, and can be extended with the use of child themes. Each child theme will come with it’s own home file, which will make extending the parent theme very easy to do. It will also have it’s own functions file as well.

A Note to Current Users and Developers

Don’t worry, we have built the Genesis theme framework in a way that will continue making your work of customizing our themes just as easy – if not easier. Theme files will still have organic WordPress code as our theme files do now.

Why Did We Build the Genesis Theme Framework?

The answer is simple – it will allow us to create and make available a number of professionally designed themes with the ease of basing them all on one set of core files. This will make it much easier for those who use our themes.

It’s All About Making Things Easier

When we started development of the Genesis theme framework, we took into consideration that both new WordPress users and advanced WordPress developers would be using it. We have created a number of custom widgets that will make things easier to use and more customizable as well. In addition to that, we’ve also placed over 30 hooks into the theme to give advanced users and plugin developers the ability to hook into various locations throughout the theme.

Here’s a List of Custom Widgets We’ve Built

  • My Tweets – displays an unordered list of your latest Tweets (view widget)
  • User Profile – displays the Gravatar of a user, as well as their biography and a link to an about page (view widget)
  • eNews & Updates – displays an opt-in box for users to sign up for delivery of your posts by email (view widget)
  • Featured Posts – displays post excerpts and a thumbnail to be used in a homepage featured section (view widget)
  • Featured Page – displays page excerpts and a thumbnail to be used in a homepage featured section (view widget)

Extending the Genesis Theme Framework

The Genesis parent theme will serve as the foundation of all of our current themes as well as new themes going forward. You’ll notice the demo site is a simple blog theme – and from there, it can be extended with the use of child themes. All child themes will include their own stylesheet, images folder, home.php file and functions.php file which will register additional widget areas and define custom post thumbnail sizes. Take a look at the Durango child theme, which will be available for purchase.

WordPress 2.9 and Post Thumbnails

With the release of WordPress 2.9, we’ve developed the Genesis theme framework to utilize default post thumbnail functionality. For a number of reasons, we have abandoned the use of Tim Thumb for displaying thumbnails, and will be in a position to easily update as WordPress works towards dynamic resizing. In the meantime, we have built in the ability to display custom thumbnail image sizing.

SEO Optimization

You honestly can’t have a great framework unless you have great SEO built in. Unfortunately for most themes, good SEO is a complex and difficult asset to build in. Fortunately for you, Genesis lays the groundwork for excellent on-site SEO. And because it’s a framework (easy and free to update), the evolving web will be met with an evolving theme, providing you with superior SEO today, tomorrow, and for years to come. Specifically …

  • Site-wide SEO settings so YOU can control what you want the Search Engines to see
  • In-Post SEO to give you even greater control on a per-post and per-page basis
  • Semantic markup for search engine readability
  • Modern, standards-compliant markup structure
  • Lean code for faster search engine crawls
  • An evolving SEO strategy for evolving SEO standards

Because Genesis is a framework upon which many themes will be built, as Genesis evolves, all child themes based on Genesis inherit the benefits. Everybody wins!!!

Layout Options

The Genesis theme framework comes with 3 default layout options – content/sidebar, sidebar/content and sidebar/content/sidebar. This is easily changed on the theme options page, and gives you the flexibility with all themes (Genesis parent and any child themes) to choose whichever layout you want.

Child Theme Marketplace

Once we launch the Genesis theme framework, we will be opening up a child theme marketplace – this is something that will begin as invite-only, in order for us to establish a good process with folks. Ultimately this gives designers a chance to develop child themes based on Genesis and an immediate place to market and sell themes here on StudioPress. This will operate under a revenue share, which is yet to be determined.

Genesis and BuddyPress

We’ve been asked many times if our themes are compatible with BuddyPress, and up until now – we’ve unfortunately had to say no. At this point we’re very happy to say that WPMU/BuddyPress gurus Ron and Andrea Rennick will be developing “add-on” packages that can be purchased/supported on a site of theirs. We felt that made sense, since they both have extensive knowledge with the software and how it can be implemented.

Estimated Release Timeline

The estimated tentative release date for the Genesis theme framework is February 1st, 2010 – though we are planning on making a beta version available to Pro Plus All-Theme members early/mid January for testing.

Nathan Rice Joins the StudioPress Team

Lastly – but certainly not least, I am very happy to announce that Nathan Rice is now a part of the StudioPress team. He’s been working with us since November – and together we have developed the Genesis theme framework. His main role with StudioPress will be Genesis development/support, as well as will be writing a number of plugins and widgets that we plan on releasing to the WordPress community. Nathan and I go years back, and I’m very proud to call him a team member and know that he’ll be an incredible asset to our team.