Less than 6 months ago, I made a decision that I wanted to switch from “normal” themes to the more robust and well-known Thesis theme. However, in reading and studying about Thesis theme, I discovered the development of the Genesis theme from StudioPress. Then I came across several others (9 Frameworks, 10 Frameworks for Designers, other sources: here). They are:
- Thematic: Free, Demo
- Hybrid: Free, Demo
- Vanilla: Free, Demo
- WP Framework: Free, Demo
- Whiteboard: Free
- Headway: Premium
- Sandbox: Free
- Carrington: Free, Demo
- Thesis: Premium, Demo
- Buffet: Free
- Genesis: Premium
- OnePress Community: Free, Demo
- Ashford: Free, Demo
- Biblioteca: Free
- Simon WP Framework: Free
- WordPress PSD Framework: Free
Some good comparisons are: (1) Thematic, Hybrid, & Carrington; (2) Thematic, Hybrid, WP Framework, Whiteboard, Sandbox, & Buffet; (3) Thesis, Thematic, Headway, & Hybrid; and (4) Thesis and Genesis.
So I purchased Thesis. Then somehow, I won a copy of Genesis. Now I am using both. I have placed Genesis on my wife’s blog (which I author on as well) and Thesis on mine (solely). Even though the post comparing Thesis and Genesis was written by one of the creators of Genesis, it is a balanced blog post that seems to be right on and rather modest. In this post, Brian discusses the main differences between Thesis and Genesis. 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). And though I haven’t worked with all the themes by StudioPress, I have noticed that there are a lot of commonalities that run between their themes which made working with their themes easy and convenient (instead of adopting other themes from other “vendors”).
Nathan Rice brings out some of the more distinctive features of Genesis including:
- We were the first (that I know of) to offer universal AND in-post layout options.
- We were the first (that I know of) to use the body class as the primary means of changing layouts, leaving your markup almost completely unchanged.
- We were the first to fully embrace the WordPress 2.9 image functions, ditch TimThumb, and use WP thumbnails exclusively.
- We were the first (major) commercial theme developer to embrace the parent/child theme concept.
- We were the first to offer child themes for preview/purchase within the dashboard.
Of these “firsts,” my favorite is the first two: offer universal AND in-post layout options and use the body class as the primary means of changing layouts, leaving your markup almost completely unchanged. This is something that I would have loved to seen in Thesis (though it can probably be done programatically if you know PHP, which I am slowly learning). So while I have more than just these two sites, I love working on these two the most.