Why You Shouldn’t Fear Upgrading to Genesis 2.0 When it’s Released …

Genesis 2.0 Screenshot

While we’re all still waiting for WordPress 3.6 to be released, I wanted to take a moment to write about the simple process of updating to Genesis 2.0, when it becomes available.

I’ve seen a number of comments on blogs and in social media groups where folks are expressing concerns about updating to Genesis 2.0 — concerns I hope will subside after reading this post.

Backward Compatibility

We’ve always done our best to provide users with the best update experience possible. That includes paying special attention to the finer details of backward compatibility.

It’s important to us that our users feel safe and secure when updating, that our promise of one-click seamless updates holds true.

With Genesis 2.0, this shouldn’t be any different — even though we’ve added a ton of features, most notably support for HTML5 markup.

Even if you’re running a non-HTML5 theme on your site, you should experience no issues when updating to Genesis 2.0. That’s dope, isn’t it? (Go spread the news).

XHTML / HTML5 Themes

By far the biggest news in Genesis 2.0 is the inclusion of HTML5 markup. What’s essential to realize is that after you update, your site will continue to output its current XHTML markup.

So, how do you activate HTML5?

Child themes will require theme support for HTML5 in order for you to experience the markup change from XHTML to HTML5. Thankfully, Genesis is smart enough to know which markup structure your theme should have, and output it accordingly.

Shortly after Genesis 2.0 is available, we’ll be releasing a number of themes, all of which will have support for HTML5 markup. These will include new themes, as well as updates to current themes.

Taking Advantage of HTML5

While there isn’t any automatic way to update your current theme to HTML5, we’ve compiled a number of resources to help you get it done. The HTML5 update will involve rolling up your sleeves, but hopefully not getting too dirty.

After adding theme support for HTML5, you’ll need to update some of the CSS in your theme since the markup will have changed.

I published a comparison chart that shows XHTML markup in Genesis 1.0+ themes side-by-side with the new HTML5 markup in Genesis 2.0+ themes. Or you can visit our interactive Visual Markup Guide to see with a simple toggle what’s changed.

In addition to CSS, a few of the Genesis loop hooks were renamed. You can see a comparison chart on that as well.

The Bottom Line

When Genesis 2.0 is released, we want you to know that updating is the same painless process it always has been. It’s still a one-click update that should leave your Genesis website unscathed.

By updating, you shouldn’t need to start your customizations over. More importantly, things should “just work.”

We’re slowly adding to our documentation of code snippets and tutorials so that they include all HTML5 elements.

If you’re a developer, take some time to look these over, so you can familiarize yourself with what’s new.

If you’re a publisher simply waiting for the update, carry on and click away when it’s here!


  1. Great information!
    Any hints on which themes you will be releasing?

    • Current themes that should be among the first to be released are eleven40, Metro, Executive, Enterprise, Lifestyle and AgentPress. (in no particular order.)

      Of course there will be new themes as well, like the Sixteen Nine theme, which will be included in the initial surge of releases as well.

  2. Hi Brian,

    I can’t thank you enough for this. I am very happy to be a part of Genesis family (and yes, I finally bought the dev package after 2 years+ using Genesis Framework ~yay for me).

    I really can’t wait to see Genesis 2.0 in action and I really hope moving to HTML5 could easily be done (I have maybe 0.5% developer mind so, you get what I mean).

    Haha! Take care!


  3. I just love the Genesis 2.0 theme! I know you’re not supposed to run it live just yet, but I couldn’t resist doing so when I just launched my new site :)

    Keep up the wonderful work you’re all doing!

    • It’s ok, Robert — you’re not the only one as I’m running Genesis Trunk on my site as well. Typically we assume developers who are capable of catching and fixing bugs will deploy on their own sites, mainly because it’s a great way to test drive it.

  4. Thanks Brian,

    I will need a complete idiot’s guide to the required coding when we get there! I use genesis with mostly Themedy child themes but I’m looking forward to just using the bare bones Genesis theme.

    You haven’t let me down so far so I’ve no reason to expect you to now.


    • Not sure what required coding you’re talking about, but enabling HTML5 support is one line in a functions file and then there’s some (relatively) light-weight CSS patchwork required which the XHTML/HTML5 comparison charts should help with.

      • I’m a complete tool when it comes to coding, but I got HTML5 working with the Apparition theme in less than 15 minutes using the existing charts. And I promise, if I could do it, anyone can :)

        Thank you, Studiopress!

  5. Brian

    What about your current #1 selling Theme Metro.

    What is the timetable update for it to be 100% compatible with Genesis 2.0 HTML5?

    Are there any other pending issues with Genesis 2.0 such as existing Genesis Plugins for example or will they be 100% compatible with Genesis 2.0 HTML5.

    1. Genesis Simple Hooks
    2. Genesis Simple Edits
    3. Widget Logic
    4. Genesis SEO Transporter
    5. Genesis eNews Extended

    It is encouraging to know that great but apparently abandoned Themes such as LifeStyle are making a comeback. That was the #1 selling Theme in its day and still has a lot of life left.

    Thanks for making WP so much more productive!

    • Meh, sorry about that — I just appended the comment to include Metro, as that’s already been worked on and should be one of the first to be released.

      As for pending issues with plugins, our plan is to update them as necessary when Genesis 2.0 is released. Most notable is Genesis Simple Hooks, since there are a few new hook names when HTML5 support is enabled.

      • Lisa League :

        I have much the same question. If I update, and don’t enable HTML5 what about plugins like the above and Genesis Simple Sidebars?

        Do I need to wait for my Genesis plugins to update first?

        • We will be updating the plugins immediately after the release of Genesis 2.0, so there shouldn’t be any issues. A few of them like Genesis Simple Hooks already have the updates done, we’re just waiting on Genesis 2.0 to push them out.

  6. Hello Brian,

    I’ve been a WordPress blogger for several years but am new to StudioPress. I am intrigued by your Mindstream theme (best tumblr-like theme I’ve seen yet) and would love to purchase it soon. However, all this talk of Genesis 2.0 has me excited and worried at the same time.

    For a StudioPress newbie such as myself, does it make sense to purchase the theme now or later, based on the release of Genesis 2.0? I’m not a coder so that’s why I’m worried about the updating. And does Genesis 2.0 applicable to all currently released themes or just certain themes (like the most recent releases)?

    Appreciate any help your can provide – love what you are doing here. Thanks.

    • You can purchase the Mindstream theme now, and it will have no issues when you update to Genesis 2.0. However, if you want it to include the HTML5 markup structure, then it’d be better to wait until we update the theme. (don’t know of timing on that particular one.) Or if you wanted to get your hands dirty, you can use the HTML5 comparison chart that we’ve linked to and update yourself.

      No matter which way you slice it, you’re in good shape.

  7. Thanks Brian for the heads up. Conversion to HTML5 was a breeze with your loops comparison chart and conversion tool http://rafaltomal.com/genesis-html5-converter/. All under 5 minutes!

  8. Brian,

    Your post eases my mind quite a bit about the upgrade. Thank you!

    Any idea when you’ll be updating Prose?

  9. Yay for the backward compatibility :)
    I’m on Minimum 2, please add that to the next batch of updates as I can’t wait to get started with HTML 5.

  10. Can’t wait to get hands on sixteen-nine. Black and white with beautiful management. Makes it worth the wait.

  11. what would really show a customer-centric focus would be to publish a schedule of when all themes will be compatible with 2.0. i previously used thesis, and when they converted to 2.0 they had no tutorials and everyone except hardcore coders were left in the dark. i am think about purchasing thesis and like the focus theme.

    • All of our existing themes will be compatible with the Genesis 2.0 update. In other words, you can purchase/use them now, and when 2.0 is released you should be able to update without a hitch. Granted, they won’t include the new HTML markup structure, but they won’t break when you update.

  12. hey, i noticed that you post mostly comments asking questions and giving praise with exclamation points and stuff! how about a schedule for the release of themes that run on 2.0! that would be great!

  13. Is the default genesis framework responsive ? I prefer to build own design rather than using a theme. Do you have a bare bones genesis child theme ?

  14. What about:
    – Modern Portfolio,
    – Agency.
    So scary about this update. I pause the mutation of the main website of our group waiting about everything.

  15. I’m excited about working on upgraded sites and upgrading my own … but I can’t until the keyboard navigation issue is fixed as it would actually mean a step back as far as accessibility goes (which is obviously a no-no).

    I know superfish / suckerfish was getting old etc – but none the less it’s not really an optional fix. There must be a way of getting this to work as default.

    (yep still here, banging on about this!!)

    • Helena you may want to rethink drop-down menus.

      I am no UI designer but I do my own research using mobile phone and even Apple iPads for testing.

      I find it difficult to navigate drop down menus on most sites – even Genesis. Sometimes the menus stick, don’t stick or whatever.

      I think using plain old link type menus is simpler and better for mobile users and that base is a good chunk of our demographic.

      We are weeding out Drop down Suckerfish menus on our travel sites as much as we can.

      • Couldn’t agree with you more Belize. I came to the conclusion even before everything started moving mobile that drop-downs just create too much clutter.

  16. Well, it isnt that hard to update to Genesis 2.0. I simply setup a demo site and tried adding HTML5 support. Replaced old hooks with the new ones and converted 16px rem units to 10px ones. Pretty easy if we do that in a systematic way. Thanks for all the tuts Brian.

  17. I just noticed that WordPress 3.5.2 was released (not 3.6)!

    Wow, what a surprise that was :-(

  18. Brian,

    Any plans in the future to bring Prose over to the responsive, Genesis 2.0 side of things? Out of all the themes I have from you guys, it is easily my favorite. With the uprising of HTML5 and CSS3, however, it’s starting to look more and more like “yesterday’s theme”.

    Would be really awesome to see something official.

    Thanks for all the hard work!

  19. Brian,Where can I submit the Bugs…On Entry meta footer I see two tagged with “Tagged With: Tagged With”

  20. Hey Brian,

    Do you think that your release will be almost immediately following 3.6? I understand why you are waiting for them, but are you guys ready to go?

    Great work on the new stuff. Can’t wait to get my hands on Sixteen Nine.


  21. Genesis 2.0 is going to be HUGE and I will be joining!!!

  22. Hi,
    My company is interested in the Metro theme, but we have very little IT help. Should we wait until Genesis 2 is released?

  23. That’s really impressive Brian. I am excited for the great release of Genesis 2.0. Believe it will be a great successor of previous one.

  24. Well I have to say that no one should be worry about upgrading his or her Genesis Framework to V2 …. I have been using this theme (the beta Version) for about a month on one of my test websites to see if its safe for me to upgrade my main website’s theme … and here is the results :

    I put a pointer where I started to use Genesis FW V2 … and you can see how my page views and unique visitors are increasing …

    Brian thank you for the great job !

  25. Got to be honest, I’m a little lost with 2.0.

    My skill level is on the noob side of the spectrum, but with firebug and a bit of fiddling I can usually ruin a perfectly good child theme within a day or so. I can usually find the element I want to change, such as the content or sidebar font, using firebug and then simply change that particular element in the css.

    With 2.0 the format of the css seems to have changed dramatically meaning (for me at least) that isolating a particular element is a bit of trial and error.

    It would be really useful if a post/tutorial could be written covering the things a thicko like me needs to know when it comes to altering a 2.0 theme.

    I’m sure I can’t be the only armchair theme meddler out there who would find such a guide useful :)

  26. Hi,
    Is there any upgrade on the News theme?

  27. I have been keeping an eye on the 2.0 development and look forward to the release. I have been putting off buying Genesis and developing new sites with it until 2.0 is released – not because of upgrade issues, I’m sure those will be seamless, but because of building preference since I do a lot of custom work on themes.

    Any indication of when Genesis 2 and the first themes will be released?

    Also a request: please create a Genesis widgetized alternative homepage which would make it easier to create magazine home pages for all themes.

    Looking forward to 2.0!

  28. Brian,

    From what I’ve read in the comments, it seems like it should take about 15 minutes or so to add the html 5 markup to an existing Genesis site w/ Child theme. Does that sound accurate? Also, how do I update and know what to update in the CSS? I am clueless when it comes to CSS.

    • If you know Genesis markup fairly well, then it shouldn’t take long — every theme is different, so it’s hard to give a “follow these steps” kind of answer. I know that there are a few folks in the community who are going to offer an “update your theme to HTML5″ type service, and it might be easier to go that route.

  29. Personally, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about when ugrading to Genesis 2.0.

    My plan is to simply wait until the Balance theme is revised and published then I will simply upgrade to Genesis 2.0 and the new Balance them then.

    I’m not planning on revising older themes to work with the new markup and css.

    I think of it as the opportune time to freshen things up a bit :-)

  30. It’s nice to see that you were able to grab Matt Cutts to your customer list. That made me think twice about this framework.

  31. Here’s my vote for an updated News theme.

  32. Have a ball park date for this? Need a major redesign for my campaign, would love to know timeframe as I’m thinking through using a developer or just doing it myself and saving mucho by doing it myself.

  33. Good news Brian!

    Besides the update with HTML5, we will have some new features or customizations available in the themes?

  34. Brian, Generate Theme will be updated to HTML5? Will be responsive?

  35. I am always leary to do upgrade anything – be it genesis, wordpress, etc. until I wait a few weeks after launch for them to work out the bugs.

    Am I the only one that does this?

    • Irma,

      I used to be like that too, but most WP updates contain security patches that need to be implemented right away. As long as your website is backed up (I use BackupBuddy) before you upgrade you are safe. And if a plugin or theme isn’t ready for a WP update then it’s not a good plugin or theme.

  36. Any idea when this will be rolled out. Been awhile now. Can’t wait.

  37. Hi – Will the Outreach theme be updated fairly soon after 2.0 is released? I remember reading that it is one of the ten most popular child themes. Thanks!

  38. Thanks for the assurance. Seems like Genesis 2.0 and WordPress 3.6 both will rock!

  39. I wasn’t really a Genesis Framework fan before. Version 2.0 changed me, I truly love the new framework. Can’t wait it to be released so that I can buy the greatest WP theme framework ^_^

  40. Yeah, and I didn’t fear updating to the last version of the Genesis framework and ended up with the white screen of death on two of the sites I manage. That said, tech support was great and with the information I provided, they tracked the problem down to a corrupted file that was downloading when users did an auto-upgrade of the theme. Once that was corrected, all was well.

    But PLEASE PLEASE make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again. Bad for the old blood pressure!

  41. Hello
    mobile-first has been a big buzzword in the internet community recently – thus I was wondering why Genesis 2.0 isn’t following the mobile-first approach – no complaints – just curious?