I've been using Genesis since its inception in February, 2010. I honestly can't remember if I was part of the beta testing, but it wouldn't surprise me to find an old beta copy in my WordPress archives. For the next 18 months, I alternated projects between Genesis and another theme framework, as well as another couple of really good theme houses who made themes that more or less fit what particular clients wanted. Then I stopped jumping around cold turkey.
Why I cut down to one theme
Well, going all in on Genesis is one framework, but many, many child themes. Now I switch between modifying a child theme that already looks great but needs some customization for a client or starting with a blank slate. I've decided to concentrate on just the Genesis framework for several reasons:
- The global network of support is unparalleled. My fellow preferred developers work together to solve problems, help each other, and even help with a project when someone is too booked to take a new project.
- Since it's the biggest player on the market, everyone who makes products that integrate into themes, they account for Genesis and support any issues that come up better with sites running on Genesis. People also write plugins and snippets specifically for Genesis, knowing a lot of people will use them.
- I know the site will last through many WordPress and Genesis updates without a major overhaul to any modifications.
- I can reuse most of the code I create or collect from the community of Genesis devs on many sites without creating code from scratch or heavily modifying it to work in a new environment.
Studies have shown that your greatest gains in life will come from improving your strengths, not your weaknesses. So, instead of becoming good at all themes/frameworks, I'm concentrating everything into one platform with one set of rules and putting them all on one host. For the same reason I chose to only use WordPress in 2006, I have chosen to only use Genesis.
Why Genesis instead of another framework
With those good reasons to consolidate efforts into one framework, I had to choose between frameworks. I'd been using both Genesis and Thesis in 2010 for a few months, choosing Thesis for blog-centric sites and Genesis for sites with a homepage because of the child themes with great homepages already framed. It didn't take long for me to realize that wasn't as efficient as using one exclusively, especially when it came to later support.
Once a Thesis site had been up for a few months after I'd made my shift to Genesis, it would take me a good 5-15 minutes to get my bearings of where certain settings were, differences in hooks, and some things that were so different that I made the suggestion on more than one occasion to convert to Genesis (which most clients happily did). On my server with 55 WordPress installs and counting, only 2 of them are not Genesis sites.
I can copy/paste functions like a beast when there is an improvement I've learned that I want everyone to have. I know where in stylesheets to find modifications I've made. With well over a dozen very good Genesis-specific plugins that add tremendous power and flexibility, I have no desire to work with any other code.
I literally shudder when I read some code in other themes, even some premium themes.
What do you use?
I know I'm not alone as a StudioPress/Genesis-only developer. What I don't know is how many of there you are – I'd love to follow you on Twitter or Google+ if I'm not already (you can also find my personal Google+, but I use it mostly for photography). Do you still switch between themes to meet a functionality purpose or do you bend a framework to your will?