Guys and dolls, I’m excited about sharing this little review and walkthrough video with you because if you’re looking for a rock-solid developer tool for creating custom Genesis child themes with, well, I think you’re going to fall in love the Genesis DevKit plugin.
Working with Genesis since 2010
For the last 8 years, I have been a massive fan and avid user of the Genesis Theme Framework platform for WordPress.
I still use it today to many build websites both for personal and client web design projects.
Now, I love hacking child themes to pieces and and developing them into my own, but the problem with doing this sometimes is that you have to create the right development environment in order to work with Genesis properly.
One option is to use something like Mamp to create a local WordPress installation on your Mac, (Wamp if you use Windows).
There is also Local by Flywheel and that’s the app I currently use on my computer to develop WordPress websites.
Even with this setup, though, getting access to all of the files that make up a child theme is a real pain, as they’re not easy to find.
And not to forget that when you’re developing child themes from complete scratch, there’s still the headache of fussing around trying to keep everything organized.
Well, if you are a Genesis theme developer, or even if you’re just an enthusiast, or someone who would like to have more control over the visual and code design of their child theme, there is an awesome plugin called Genesis DevKit.
What is Genesis DevKit
Genesis DevKit is a powerful child theme development plugin.
That’s right, a plugin which you can install directly into your Genesis powered WordPress website, meaning that you can have the power of a full IDE (Integrated Development Environment) right in your WordPress dashboard, without having to hack your child theme via FTP or make modifications via the theme editor, which I wouldn’t recommend doing in any case.
Genesis DevKit was created by Eric Hamm and his team over at Cobalt Apps.
You may well have seen and heard me mention Cobalt Apps a few times on this website, and that’s because I’ve used a number of plugins created by them, including the popular Dynamik Website Builder and their latest Themer Pro plugin, another child theme IDE which I love using.
What kind of problems does using this plugin solve?
For Genesis child theme developers, using the Genesis DevKit aims to solve many problems.
I’ve already highlighted two of those problems above:
- Giving you the
abilityto fully immerse yourself in the design of your child theme directly via the WordPress dashboard, using both code and point and click design.
- Not have to waste your valuable time downloading and uploading files via FTP. Or, hacking into your site via the theme editor in WordPress.
Who is this plugin for?
The Genesis DevKit plugin isn’t just for developers and web designers, it’s for anyone who really wants to have more control over the complete design and layout of their Genesis Child Theme from complete scratch.
What are the notable features of this child theme development plugin?
Essentially there are four key features in Genesis DevKit:
- Design Options (Point and click design control for none techies).
- Custom Options (Fully functional and customizable ACE code editor for developers and people who love to code).
- Image Manager (For organizing any images, icons, Favicons you’re going to use in your child theme design project).
- Theme Creator (For exporting your theme into a stand-alone child theme to use on your client’s website or your own website).
How do you setup and use this plugin?
OK, now the fun really begins
In the walkthrough and tutorial video above, you’ll get to see, first hand, how the Genesis DevKit plugin works. You’ll see how easy it is to install and use when developing child themes with the Genesis Framework platform, using both front-end developer environment and the point and click design options.
Once again, I started using this plugin about a month ago, at the time of writing this post, and I’m currently building a dummy test site using Local by Flywheel, and it’s just awesome. Watch the video above.
What I love and hate about this plugin
Like everything in this world, there are bound to be pros and cons with the Genesis DevKit plugin, so lets check them out:
What I love
- It’s affordable.
- It’s quick and easy to set up an start using.
- I’m able to save a lot of time and resources by having everything I need right in there my WordPress dashboard. There’s no need to use FTP or need to hack into my cPanel or child theme files.
- I get great tech support, access to a
forum, and knowledge database on the CobaltApps website.
What I hate
- I have to create a compatible child theme to work with Genesis DevKit, which I can live with. However, when I do create a compatible child theme using whatever child theme I have installed at the time, the CSS of that child theme is completely removed. So I end up with a plane child theme that looks more like the blank canvas of the Genesis Sample theme. I’m not entirely sure if that is supposed to happen. If it is, then I have got it all wrong. I got the impression, when I purchased Genesis DevKit, that when you created a compatible child theme using the theme you have installed, it would create an identical one for me to work with and not strip away the original CSS.
The Genesis DevKit plugin is not a bad bit of gear. Again, if you’re developing websites with Genesis framework and you’re starting from complete scratch, and you want to make your life easier, then this might be for you.
Asides from my initial thought that you could use the Genesis DevKit to customize existing child themes, it’s a great tool that I would recommend to Genesis theme developers and Genesis framework enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for a plugin to customize child themes rather than develop them from complete scratch, then you might want to check out Themer Pro.