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  1. Hey Carrie, great comparison. I just did a post on Design Palette Pro and added it to my member site for the this exact reason you ended your post with..

    In short, they’re two different plugins targeting two very different types of users. If you’re just starting out with WordPress and Genesis and need to quickly change up the colors and fonts on your site, go with Genesis Design Palette Pro. If you’re dipping your toes into custom development and are code-curious, go with Genesis Extender.

    Having worked with both I know my audience, beginners and casual users will find DPP the better choice for them.

    Cheers and I couldn’t have said it better 🙂

  2. Hi Carrie

    I think as you stated, they both serve a great purpose. For people like me who have no problem getting in and changing styles via the stylesheet, Design Palette Pro is almost the same thing. I have however purchased both Genesis Extender and the Dynamik builder as I am just never satisfied with widgets and layout (theme junkie LOL) and while you do need to set some time aside to understand how it works, it is very useful and worth the money. I would definitely recommend both products to anyone who asks.

    Now in terms of replacing your web designer, I dont know about that one. Time is priceless. And it doesnt matter how easy it is to use, clients may not want to find the time to use it. Both tools are great for clients and developers alike. Just two more reasons to know that Genesis is here to stay. Thanks for the breakdown….

  3. This is an awesome round up, Carrie! I have Genesis Extender, but I’d only heard about Genesis Design Palette Pro on GOH a few weeks ago, so it’s great to get caught up on the differences. For my part, I’m trying to grow my PHP skills, so I think I’ll stick with Extender as it seems to fit well with that goal.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together!

  4. Thanks for bottom-lining it so clearly and concisely. While I know Extender is for me, I may want to suggest Design Palette Pro within a total solution for my clients who like to tinker with colors and fonts (heaven help them, but I can’t stop them.)

  5. Design Palette Pro recently changed their system so you don’t need an add-on for the themes they do support. I had some questions about this and they went above & beyond to make sure the transition went smoothly. They got into the nuts and bolts of my client’s site to ensure uptime. So I second (third?) this recommendation.

    I general I have learned to trust the recommendations of experts like you (and Bob!) as I climb up that learning curve. (I still can’t believe the precious time I wasted by NOT getting a subscription to Gravity Forms! OMG)

  6. Hi Carrie – thanks for the post – useful! Could you use both – one to do the design / paint job without code and the other to create widget areas and code etc. Or would that be overkill?

    • Hi Neal,
      I don’t think it’s overkill if it accomplishes your goal. 🙂 If your goal is to get a site done sooner rather than later (DIY-style), then use both. If your timeline is more relaxed and you want to learn CSS, just go with with GE.

      Two cents,
      Carrie

  7. Thanks Carrie for an excellent comparison here. My PHP experience is limited and thank goodness I know how to edit my functions.php through my FTP after I’ve crashed my site! 🙂

    GE looks like an easy way to learn and experiment with PHP and CSS. Does using GE affect the performance of the site?

    How long did you use it before coding on your own without it?

    • Hey Jackie – great question about performance. It shouldn’t impact the front end of your site as it just spits out the code and executes it. Don’t know about the admin side of the site, but if it does, I’ve never noticed it…

      I probably used it about 9 months or so before I “graduated.” It mostly helped me cement the concept of action hooks and attaching widget areas to a particular hook.

  8. Thanks Carrie for this great post. I’m just starting on the genesis development world and your posts are very helpful. I’m thinking to buy genesis extender, but I’m already using toolset plugin (type and views, cred, access and layouts) since one month ago and very happy with the awesome possibilities of it. Do you think I should take a try to the genesis extender or I can do similar things with toolset? I already use a lot some studiopress plugins like simple hooks or simple sidebars… appreciate your opinion. 🙂

    • Hey Joana,
      Welcome to the world of developing with Genesis – glad you’re finding some helpful goodies here! GE is really a different ball of wax from Types & Views, etc. Where the toolset deals more with creating and displaying custom post types, GE more excels at creating widget areas and hooking them in at different spots on your site (and of course exposes you to Genesis-specific code).

      Honestly, I look at these tools as a stepping stone in your developer journey. I own all of these products (GPP, too), but no longer feel like I need them. They served a purpose as an intermediary step in my understanding of how the code worked, if that makes sense.

      Regarding GE, if you’re already using Simple Hooks comfortably, then you probably don’t need GE. If you’re more in copy/paste mode for Simple Hooks, then using GE would probably help bridge the learning gap for you.

      I also highly recommend Nick Croft’s Genesis Explained series. It’s heavy on geek-speak, but does a fantastic job of breaking apart the Genesis Framework and connecting the dots for how things work.

      I always ask people: What’s your objective? If it’s to learn how to code better, that’s one goal with a more winding path. If it’s just to “get something done,” then I always recommend the quickest route from point A to point B (usually a plugin/builder tool). There’s no wrong answer, just different goals and different ways of getting there. 🙂

      • Thanks for this information. I have recently moved and purchased Genesis, StudioPress child theme Exec Pro, and I have some of the Genesis plugins (Genesis Extender, Simple Hooks, etc – but not the GPP). I have been trying to get to grips with it all – I am familiar with HTML and CSS from a long time ago, but learning PHP and understanding where code goes to display content as you want it is throwing me quite a bit (some tutorials and their code looks different than the genesis coding)

        I have been learning about CPT and using Types to create those with custom fields. However, despite reading many tutorials, I still cannot seem to grasp what code I need and where I need to put it to display the CPT content into a page that is specific to that content. I find code snippets from tutorials and I am starting to understand the process – but I cannot get the code right.

        As such before I spent more money on more plugins, I was trying to determine if the Views plugin was really necessary if I have Types and Genesis Extender? I tried to follow a Genesis Extender tutorial recently to add a template and add content with php code without effecting the admin so not to break the site, but whatever I did, the whole website went down and the Genesis Extender was the plugin causing the problem. So I am obviously a bit nervous to do that again.

        What is the best way forward – do I go with Views plugin or is that just another expense that still won’t help me work out how to get the code right to put content into a post or page (custom post/page or default post/page) – any advice would be helpful as I feel I have just spent money on all of these things and I am still no closer to getting my site built – I feel the answer is staring me in the face but I just can’t see it 🙂 ha

        • Hey Paula,

          Views is all about displaying the content types you create with Types, so if you want a relatively code-free way to custom display your CPTs that’s a good option (here’s a webinar that covers the basics). There’s also a new plugin called Conductor that’s an awesome visual tool for customizing how your content displays. Here’s some info on how it works with Genesis (if you go that route, you can use 20% off coupon code carrierocks20).

          Now, if you’re more interested in learning the code bits (as opposed to just getting your site done!), then forget the plugins and just keep digging in to tutorials like you’re doing. I have a class up on Lynda.com for customizing Genesis themes that would help (you can get a free 7-day membership with this link).

          Hope that helps!

          • Hi Carrie
            thanks for the information. I am a lot clearer on things after reading your info earlier – checking out the Genesis Explainer – really made a lot of sense of all the coding and tutorials that are around that just didn’t make any real sense without reading the explainer blog and looking at PHP at W3 Schools – I don’t get it completely, but certainly able to understand the code from tutorials a bit better and work out how its all connecting up. I know its just a matter of understanding what PHP code to use, how to use it and where to put it and determine when to create custom templates or not – all of which I am still trying to determine which is best in terms of making the site organised, quick on loading, being compliant and most importantly that data won’t get lost on running updates.

            I know the Types and Views type of plugins are great but I do get a bit concerned in relying on such plugins for creating key structural setups to the site you are looking to build. Plugins I find are great for some things but for me, as much I like Types etc – I don’t feel in control of the site and how it is being developed.

            As such I have signed up to your free 7-day trial – so will see how I get on there. I feel like I am almost there with understanding what I need to do – but not completely.

            So thanks again for your response

          • Hi again
            I have been going through your customising genesis training on lynda.com as you recommended – and one thing that struck me is you talk about not wrapping things in the PHP div tags as follows:

            Can you explain why this is so I understand because I have been using the Genesis Extender to help me learn a bit of php code and using the php builder and following tutorials – it shows to wrap things in php code. However my recent experience of Genesis Extender is that my site keeps breaking and so the obvious question I have been asking myself – is it something to do with this?

            If you could explain why we wouldn’t wrap things in php code (if you do this in the course, then I haven’t got that far – Im at a point where you have recently mentioned it and then moved on and I just needed to understand why

            Thank you

  9. Wow! Thanks for your generous answer and all recommendations. If I decide to buy GE, certainly I’ll do by your links. Cheers!

  10. I feel what GPP does can be easily accomplished with Firebug add-on. But GE is more valuable to understand the coding process. So if you can buy only one, I go with GE.
    Thanks for demystifying these two.

  11. Hi Carrie,
    I just bought Genesis Extender through your affiliate link. I learned about it from you, so thanks for the info and the review!

  12. Thank you Carrie, this was a super helpful article to read!! I found some info saying that Genesis Design Palette is compatible with certain child themes. I’m new to web design and I’m not sure if that means it won’t work for other themes…particularly the one I use- Foodie Pro?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  13. Carrie,
    With Extender, will I be able to see my code in functions.php or does it wind up in an imported file? In other words, if I were to remove Extender for some reason would my code get whacked?

    • Great question!

      Custom code generated by Extender ends up in a folder under wp-content/uploads/, so the code stays regardless of whether the plugin is around.

      That said, the code is only executed if the plugin is active. If you decided to move on from GE, you’d want to get at your custom code from that uploads folder and incorporate it manually, via functions.php or such.

  14. Hi Carrie, love you update and videos.

    When would you use both of these Genesis plugins’ with the same site / child theme. Is there a conflict installing both on the same domain?

    Thanks, – Richard

    • Hey Richard,
      Admittedly I’ve never tried them both on the same site. That said, I can’t see any reason for conflict. Only potential issue I could foresee is that if you use GE’s CSS module to custom style an element that you’ve also specified via GDP, one would “trump” the other (whichever plugin’s stylesheet gets loaded last) – but that’s an edge case and easily fixable at that.

      Cheers,
      Carrie

  15. I’ve decided to bite the bullet and buy it (through your affiliate link). I definitely fall into the junior developer category and look forward to breaking a few test sites 🙂

  16. Instead of comparing Design Palette Pro to Cobalt App’s Genesis Extender, a more appropriate comparison would have been to Cobalt App’s Dynamik Website builder. The “Design” section of DWB is comparable to DPP. But I think DPP has more advantages. It will work with most of the Genesis child themes. DPP lets you view changes you make in real time without having to save them. DWB doesn’t. I think the combination of Design Palette Pro and Genesis Extender is the way to go. I bought both Dynamik Website Builder and Genesis Extender. But I think I will switch to using Design Palette Pro with Genesis Extender. I’m not satisfied with the cumbersome way that DWB works in comparison to the simplicity and ease of DPP.

  17. Can anyone comment on the quality of the CSS these plugins produce? It appears that Genesis Extender is creating a custom CSS file that simply overrides certain styles as applied. Does Design Palette Pro do this too — or is it adding inline CSS and a bunch of tags?

  18. Design Palette creates a minified CSS file with a custom body class, along with the same class the element itself so it takes priority. The file itself is loaded to allow for caching, however, doesn’t actually change any of the theme files itself.

    (I’m the developer of DPP)

  19. Hey Carrie. Thankyou for the overview. Im getting into the nuts and bolts of WordPress and really enjoyed reading about these tools. ill be giving Genesis Extender a try and see how I get on.

  20. Carrie, will Genesis Extender allow me to move my simple author box to another hook position in my child theme? My goal is to insert some HTML code at the end of my posts but the author box is occupying that hook position.

    • Yep! If something’s already hooked and you want to hook something additional there, you can use priorities to determine the order things get hooked.

      The default priority level for hooking something is 10 (i.e. add_action( 'this_hook', 'my_function', 10 )). If you want your HTML before that, use an earlier priority, like 5. Similarly, if you want to place it after that, use a later priority, like 15.

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