Introducing Genesis DevKit from CobaltApps

I’ve long followed the work of Eric Hamm (creator of CobaltApps) and found his products useful. He recently launched a new plugin, Genesis DevKit, which aims to solve some common pain points for site builders who work with the Genesis Framework.

Before we dive into an overview of the plugin, I must tell you that there are affiliate links in the post. If you make a purchase through one, I get a windfall of cash and will send you a socially-distanced high five from my impressive yacht. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.

What is Genesis DevKit?

In short, the plugin is a “complete design and customization toolkit” for the Genesis Framework. If you know your way around WordPress and have some site builds under your belt then you know that every site, even if you use a ready-made theme, requires some degree of tweaking to get it just right.

The Genesis DevKit plugin is the newest offering of Genesis products from CobaltApps.

Genesis DevKit is a WordPress Plugin that was specifically developed to provide professional grade Genesis Website customization through hundreds of point-n-click design options, as well as intuitive custom coding tools. It provides the best of both worlds by creating custom Genesis Child Themes using WordPress best practices, while at the same time offering full design control that almost any WordPress user can master.

Eric Hamm,

Features overview:

  • Point and click design options for… everything (Body, Headings, Forms, Widgets, Menus, Content, Comments, and the list goes on). Those design options include font and color specifications.
  • Mobile design views (and mobile-first code). The design editor lets you easily toggle between desktop and mobile views and preview changes and any media queries you’ve written.
  • Custom Coding. Add custom CSS, media queries, PHP, and JavaScript from within an embedded code editor. Think of this like the theme customizer’s “Additional CSS” option, but on steroids. And not a part of theme customizer. 🙂
  • Full-on theme editor. Access all of your child theme folders/files from within /wp-admin. This may sound like a terrible idea, but it’s actually a nice benefit for some users (more on that in a second).
  • Theme image manager. This is basically a way to manage image files that you’d typically include in a child theme (i.e. favicon, screenshot, etc.)
  • Child theme creator. You can create or clone a new Genesis child theme by providing theme header info via form. Nifty!
  • Premium themes. DevKit comes with a handful (currently seven) Genesis child themes you can use as a jump-off point.

A very important note (and possible dealbreaker for some): Genesis DevKit can only customize Genesis Child Themes that were created by Genesis DevKit. That means you can use one of the seven themes that comes with it OR create a new Custom Genesis Child Theme using DevKit that you can then customize with DevKit.

Who is Genesis Devkit for?

The plugin is designed specifically for WordPress sites using the Genesis Framework. According to Eric, the plugin is for anyone using Genesis to build sites.

Let’s get more specific though. Assume there are generally three categories of people who use the Genesis Framework:

  • DIY site owner (either not super techie or not interested in code, typically buys a ready-made theme)
  • Site assembler (technical capabilities, mostly makes cosmetic changes to ready-made themes or their go-to starter theme)
  • Developer (super techie, builds advanced functionality based on site requirements)

I think Genesis DevKit is best suited for the site assembler and I’ll tell you why:

  • It’s less intimidating than a full-fledged IDE. You get access to your theme code from within the WordPress admin and can even skin it (think dark theme vs light theme), but you’re in a familiar environment (/wp-admin) that doesn’t require any additional setup.
  • It’s got guard rails. You can make changes to any and all theme files but there are built-in safety provisions (i.e. syntax checkers and inability to save a file with a syntax error) to keep you from accidentally killing your site.
  • It’s got a theme creator. What? Awhile back I wrote on how to take an existing Genesis child theme and make it “yours”. The Genesis DevKit theme creator feature makes it really easy to clone the active theme while simultaneously renaming it and updating all of the theme header info. This is great if you’re doing client work and want to use an existing child theme as a base for the project. Check out this video segment to see what I’m talking about.

p.s. If you identify more as a DIY user (i.e. please don’t make me look at code), check out Genesis Design Palette Pro as an alternative to help you make cosmetic changes to your site, such as changing out the fonts and colors.

Is it worth the investment?

You already know what I’m gonna say here, don’t you? In case you don’t, here goes my most unhumble opinion (and it applies to any tool you find helpful, not just DevKit):

If there’s a product you use that either helps you save time or make money, it’s inherently valuable.

If there’s a product you use that either helps you save time or make money, it’s inherently valuable.

If you’re building sites for clients and this speeds up your workflow, you’ll likely earn back the cost within your first couple of projects. If you’re building a site for yourself and this removes some of the strain of digging into the code and helps you launch faster, that’s worth something too.

Genesis DevKit will cost you $99 for unlimited sites and one year of support & updates. If you want to go all-in, there’s a $299 option that gets you lifetime support.

Is DevKit right for you? Here’s an in-depth screencast from Eric that should help you seal the deal on whether or not this is a product you’d find useful.

So many new Genesis products, right?

Before rolling up this post, it’s worth noting that there’s a LOT happening in the “world of Genesis” right now. Actually, there’s a whole lot happening with WordPress and that’s why we’re seeing significant shifts with Genesis.

As full site editing continues to barrel toward WordPress core, the way themes fundamentally work is changing. Genesis is keeping step with WordPress so that it continues to be a go-to tool for building great-looking websites faster without sacrificing quality, performance, or security.

The Genesis family of products is expanding. In the not too distant future, it won’t be “the Genesis Framework + a child theme” paradigm. It’ll look more like a suite of themes and plugins to help site owners and developers take full advantage of block editing.

Where does Genesis DevKit fit into this future paradigm? I’m not sure.

I asked Eric for his thoughts on how DevKit will continue to address developers’ needs as WordPress moves toward full site editing and here’s what he said:

A lot is going to change once Full Site Editing comes out of beta. I know a good deal of developers out there are really anticipating it. Like most Plugins that are currently built for the way in which WordPress functions today, Genesis DevKit will certainly have to evolve in the coming months ahead. I know that Genesis will look much different, possibly even unrecognizable to “old-school” WP DEVs, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and is inevitable either way. So you can expect DevKit to follow in those footsteps as it continues to provide WordPress website builders with one of the best point-n-click design & customization tools around.

Eric Hamm

One thing is for sure: It’s an interesting time to be a product creator for WordPress. Heck, it’s an interesting time even to be a WordPress user. But those are topics for another post at another time. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Introducing Genesis DevKit from CobaltApps”

  1. Thanks for this blog post Carrie. Can you expand on the statement, “The Genesis family of products is expanding. In the not too distant future, it won’t be “the Genesis Framework + a child theme” paradigm. It’ll look more like a suite of themes and plugins to help site owners and developers take full advantage of block editing.”?

    I recently decided to focus my efforts on creating Genesis child themes for sale. Is this already a dated model?


    1. Hey Julie, good question! This article goes into more depth about my thoughts on block editing and the future of Genesis.

      The way themes will be built in a few years is fundamentally different than theme building now — that’s not just a Genesis thing but is true for any WordPress theme. IMHO, selling Genesis themes can be a good short-term way of drawing additional income (here are some things to consider based on my own experience selling Genesis child themes), but I wouldn’t put all of my eggs in that basket. That’s just my 2 cents. 🙂

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