I love developing WordPress websites with Genesis. This very site is based on Genesis. It is one of the oldest and most robust theme frameworks. Genesis was launched 9 years ago by StudioPress and since has been a benchmark for high flexibility and clean code. In its sample start theme it offers nice barebones features for web developers to build custom themes. Recently Genesis was acquired by WP engine together with StudioPress, which boosted the interest in the framework.
On the other hand, WordPress 5.0 is just around the corner with many new core features, including the new Gutenberg editor and full compatibility with PHP 7.3. What better time for Genesis developers to rethink and refresh the framework, which is still using a decade old coding methods? We saw the new major version 2.7 followed by 2.7.1 popup 10 days before November 27 – the official launch date of WP 5.0. It is compatible with Gutenberg and although it does not include yet features based on the new WordPress core or the new editor, the code structure was rewritten to allow such integration in near future.
What will be Genesis under Gutenberg?
The future seems bright and the transition – easy. Even before the update, Genesis had only few backward compatibility issues with Gutenberg, the main of them being the need to style the new editor blocks. Gutenberg blocks come with default css styles that don’t match any of the commercial themes, nor the sample theme for Genesis. To use blocks in its most popular themes, StudioPress will provide new block styles. Knowing that Atomic Blocks are now in-house, there is a massive concentration of expertise to ensure smooth integration.
Why is it so important to integrate Genesis and Gutenberg?
Because like it or not Gutenberg is the future of blogging. The new wp editor provides ease and design flexibility to bloggers, similar to commercial page builders. The advantage is that you don’t need additional plugins and your page code is optimized. Gutenberg is based on blocks of content such as html, paragraphs, columns, images, galleries, or any custom developed chunks of code and functionality. Building with reusable blocks improves and simplifies the process of creating content and designing page layouts.
Beyond the integration
One of the concerns web designers have is that this increased design freedom could be dangerous for the overall website consistency. From client’s side, content managers and marketers with no design culture could be tempted to use the new blocks and functionalities. It may brake sites’ visual identity by introducing new colors, layouts and structure. With this issue in mind, the Genesis team may design a complementary functionality that will empower designers and developers to frame and limit the possible customisations.
Our goal is to provide a system inside Genesis where this can be done in a standardized way, so that anyone can make customizable components, with the right balance of empowering the end-user and not allowing them to create sites that lack proper design or functionality.
This is exciting development strategy and I am sure Genesis will find a way to deploy it. I wish only the framework stays flexible, minimal and a great starting point to build “just enough” tailor made websites.