This month’s Shapers’ meeting covered some really compelling topics and interesting feedback from the global Shapers membership group. We’re honored to be able to host the Shapers meeting each month and share what we talked about with you as part of our commitment to be the most open community in WordPress.
Without further ado, here’s the Genesis Shaper’s meeting recap for September.
Our ninth meeting of the year took place on September 12th. These meetings really are a great venue for the Genesis Shapers group to share their thoughts and ideas about the Genesis Framework and discuss pertinent topics in the Genesis community. September was no exception.
As a reminder, the Genesis Shapers are a global, hand-selected, and diverse group of people representing companies from across the community who have come together to be a representative voice in the strategic direction of Genesis, in addition to the feedback we receive directly from customers across social channels, and through Genesis WP on Slack.
Included in this group are Bill Erickson, Carrie Dils, David Decker, Gary Jones, Greg Boser, Jennifer Bourn, Jon Brown, Jonathan Jeter, Lauren Gaige, Lee Anthony, Mike Hemberger, Nahuai Badiola, Remkus de Vries, Robin Cornett, Sara Dunn, and Sridhar Katakam.
Before we dive into the details of September’s meeting, you can read recaps from all of the previous Shapers meetings here:
This month, the group kicked off the meeting with a discussion about our new Genesis Community TLDR Blog Series, which launched in August to serve as a monthly round-up, featuring brief updates on products, events, and launches from people within the Genesis community.
There was a widespread consensus among the Shapers that digest-style, TLDR efforts to keep folks up to date with the “firehose” of information coming out about Genesis products and community happenings was a solid idea.
“I think this is a wonderful initiative and the openness will do the community good,”Remkus de Vries.
“It’s a great idea,”Nahuai Badiola
From there, the group tackled a more spirited question: “What are your suggestions on outcomes we should be measuring new features against? Site performance? Time-saving? Other?”
Robin Cornett kicked off the answers with this:
“Is this something that everyone has to add to their child theme to make it work the way they want (eg. footer creds, everyone was using the filter, so making it a setting made sense)?”
To which David Decker replied:
“Yes, ‘usefulness’ for majority of users/ agencies.”
From there, a sub-thread took off, with many of the Shapers endorsing time savings as a suggested outcome, as well as usability.
With usability as a segue, the next question for the group focused on a pain point many Genesis users had experienced in the past, which was difficulty in setting up Genesis themes. To address this pain point, WP Engine added One Click Theme Setup to Genesis core soon after the acquisition of StudioPress in June 2018.
As a reminder, One-Click Theme Setup gives users full control over the demo installation process, and allows them to easily set installation dependencies, import demo content directly into their themes, import and enable plugins, and configure a wide list of options when creating and installing new themes on their sites.
With regards to the Shapers meeting, the question around One Click Theme Setup focused on new features the group wanted it to include, in an effort to make it more useful and more widely adopted.
This spurred a massive sub-thread, with more than 40 responses, the first of which, from Remkus de Vries, was, “Two things. More tutorials on the various options available for devs, but also a configuration wizard.”
To that, Mike Hemberger responded, “Yeah, Lee [Anthony]’s new configuration generator would be HUGE if StudioPress and WP Engine took that on internally.” This resulted in a resounding “YES” from de Vries.
Jon Brown earned a number of positive responses with his suggestion:
“Plugin install and activation from any source… some of our child themes have custom functionality plugins, I need to be able to install and configure them from GitHub or Amazon S3.”
Responding to the group’s question about ways to speed up adoption of One Click Theme Setup, Lauren Gaige added:
“I think another reason third party developers haven’t adopted [One Click Theme Setup] quickly, is that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to update old themes or put new themes out recently. This was discussed in the live Shapers meeting. With the pace at which things are moving, what’s to say I don’t update a theme, or launch a new one, and a few weeks later I have to redo things.”
Robin Cornett agreed:
“Just trying to develop for Gutenberg, I’m running into this. I write a script, and in 5.2, it’s fine, but with Gutenberg active, there are a bunch of deprecated notices for the script. So I write for 5.2, but how long will that last, because presumably, the new deprecations will make their way into 5.3?”
Both of these sentiments touched on things we see at WP Engine, where we’ve been spending a lot of time updating with all these capabilities vs. releasing new themes.
From there, we bounced to the next question: “We’re planning on launching OpenGraph in an upcoming version of Genesis. What are your suggestions for how to drive adoption of that feature? Other than “yield to Yoast”, what else should we be considering?”
Nahuai Badiola was the first to answer, saying:
“I’d love to see OG integrated on Genesis Framework. I have personal projects where I only use Genesis built-in SEO + OG plugin.”
Bill Erickson added:
“I recommend reaching out to plugins like WP Recipe Maker that already integrate with Yoast schema and have them apply the same to Genesis schema.”
With a number of other constructive answers logged, we hit the last question of the meeting: “Is updating child themes actually a problem? If so why?”
Nahuai was again the first to respond:
“I liked Lee’s idea to make the child themes updatable. I think it’s a clever way to avoid losing customizations. For me, it’s not a big deal, but I know that would make life easier for some of my clients/subscribers. This could be especially interesting when big changes like the new Gutenberg era comes.”
After a few more answers came in, David Decker said:
“Updating child themes is still an issue for us all, not only “theme sellers” — as the more modern child themes becoming more complex, more code, helper functions, setup and config stuff whatever. So these things need to be maintained. They are not the “CSS skins” from the past with a few hooks adding/removing plus 5 filters and theme support stuff (adding/removing). More complex = higher chance of updating needed.”
With that, the meeting began to wrap up.
As Genesis continues to grow and evolve, I’m confident that we will make Genesis an even better and more powerful framework for building amazing WordPress themes. One way we’ll do that is by engaging in discussion and listening to feedback from the Shaper, as well as other members of the community. It’s extremely important to me, and it’s something we’ll continue to emphasize as part of our commitment to being the most open community in WordPress.