Genesis is a phenomenal framework and has my utmost respect. And as Brian Gardner has stated previously, it is difficult to compare Genesis and Thesis because they have different purposes. The main primary one was that of audience and focus. Thesis aimed to give people an engine and a blank theme while Genesis sought to bring solidarity to all their themes for their customers (which has many exponential benefits! including some similar to SaaS). More simply, Thesis was aimed at everyone as a Do-It-Yourself giving control and the ability to easily customize to the owner/creator while Genesis was designed as an engine for their customer-base. However, they both are frameworks and one cannot help but to compare them (as with the other frameworks). Two of the greatest advantages of Genesis are (1.) their universal AND in-post layout options and (2.) the parent/child theme concept. Chris Pearson and Thesis developers and designers have really missed a phenomenal opportunity to present Skins for Thesis. Because of these two components alone, Genesis is poised to overtake Thesis, and personally with a team of developers at StudioPress, I believe it won’t be long before StudioPress’s Genesis Framework will surpass Thesis in functionality. Yet, with WordPress 3.0 coming soon, I wonder what will happen with this friendly battle between the two frameworks, the two competitors. Furthermore, will StudioPress and Genesis decide to begin to target the general audience as a DIY type theme? Or will they continue to only focus on developers and designers who use StudioPress to design sites for customers?
However, Genesis has room for improvement. The most obvious one is the design part that Thesis has but is currently in development by Brian Gardner. As I mentioned in another previous post, I wished that Thesis would have included some more features in their latest release but did not. They are:
- Advanced Feature Box Controls & Options*
- Customizable & Integrated Navigation Menu
- Mobile Features
- Multiple Custom Page Layouts & Options*
Genesis has already addressed the multiple custom page layouts and options, and they have no need for the advanced feature box controls and options with the development of dynamic content gallery that fits so well within Genesis (post coming soon…but see this one here). However, I personally believe that iThemes has revealed one of the biggest gaps in these two frameworks with its development of their Mobile on pluginbuddy.com. So I would love to see a mobile plugin from StudioPress (or as part of the Genesis Core, which I personally was shocked that it wasn’t) that utilizes or can utilize the elements from the associated child theme or that gives three, four or five basic mobile themes that can be selected and even customized in the Genesis admin. The other element that I wanted to see more development around was a more customizable menu system; however, with the announcement and the upcoming release of WordPress 3.0, it probably was a wise decision to leave that where they developed it.
Another idea that I had was in its Theme Settings, under General Settings, I personally would love to see a simpler way to have a linked imaged header, so when imaged header is chosen, then a few options would appear allowing the user to select whether they wanted it to be linked to the home page (front page, or posts page) and the absolute URL of the imaged header (though the Child Themes take care of this to a very small degree).
Beyond these upgrades, the only other core upgrade that I would like to see is with the comments. As it currently stands, no one really deals with comments except through plugins, etc. However, I would have liked Genesis to have threaded comments with some CSS design options (e.g., one basic option that would set the admin/site owner or specified members apart from the normal commentors by coloring their comments a contrasting color already used in the Child Theme) that can utilize OpenID, Twitter, Yahoo!, Google, and Facebook logins. There are several plugins that can accomplish these for you but to have it all in one in the core would be exceptional.
For the SEO, as with Thesis, it would be great to have the option to specify SEO options for categories and tags (and any other custom taxonomy or post type). However, unlike Thesis, Genesis has some great options in its Theme Settings that Thesis does not have, such as the secondary navigation (which is a great way to optimize the taxonomies, and it may be helpful for some to have this as a vertical menu system that stands above the left or right sidebar as the user chooses [if chosen]), primary navigation extras on the right, and category inclusion/exclusion (which I love!). However, with Thesis 1.7, Chris Pearson added the Manage Options Page where one can import and export the theme settings easily for transporting them from blog to blog, installation to installation so now the Import/Export Plugin is no longer needed. And Genesis also has a lot of Options that should have the ability to be saved and exported and imported. While it already has the reset option on each page, there is not a Master Reset option.
And finally, Brian Gardner is developing a Genesis Design Options page which will be able to have rounded corners, very 2.0; however, the only things I see that can improve this are: (1) a color picker! (2) possibly some dynamic sample text to the right of the h1, h2, h3 tags when depicting the size in pixels (and can it do other measurements like em?), (3) a preview button as with the Purchase theme section, and finally (4) a revision part so I can revert back to whatever if I don’t like something or accidentally changed something (typing wrong hex#).
So in summary, I’d like to see the following in future Genesis upgrades:
- Mobile Compatability
- More Customizable Menu (but waiting for 3.0 to see where that may take you)
- Easier Linked Image Header
- Comment System Upgrade (CSS)
- SEO for Categories, Tags, etc.
- Secondary Navigation as a Vertical Menu System
- Options Import/Export Page
- Design Options Improvement
- Add a link in the Genesis admin section that opens a new tab to the Support forums