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Genesis Shapers Update: September 2021

Each month the Genesis Shapers meets for one hour to discuss the evolving WordPress landscape and how it relates to the Genesis community.

This Genesis shapers update for September 2021 is delivered via video with transcript.

Check out the update, presented by David Vogelpohl and Brian Gardner.

If you missed any updates, they can be found in the YouTube channel here.

Don’t have time for the video? Enjoy the TL;DW:

  • Question: Here is a pre-release version of Genesis Blocks 1.3.0 (now live to all) which includes new mobile style options. You can read more here. If you had the chance to test 1.3.0 before the meeting, what is your feedback so far?
  • Answer: Several Shapers had tested the new mobile style options and the biggest request was for those controls to be expanded to integrate with blocks included in Genesis Blocks in addition to the WordPress core block controls included in 1.3.0.
  • Question: What plugins are critical for every WordPress site you build? Genesis specific or not.
  • Answer: This was a popular topic! Here are the top plugins the Shapers use. Genesis Plugins (blocks, accessible, etc.), WP Migrate DB Pro, Gutenberg, Yoast, EditorsKit, ACF, Redirection, Gravity Forms, UpdraftPlus, Akismet, AntispamBee, WPForms, WP Rocket, NitroPack, and PWA.
  • Question: When your clients or theme customers choose WooCommerce over SaaS like Shopify, why do they do that? Ability to customize? Familiarity with WP? Easier to manage content & commerce in one place? Other?
  • Answer: Many Shapers said that their clients come to them with stores which already have a shopping platform so they just work with that. Others choose WooCommerce for the customization vs. SaaS platforms. Ryan Murray is building headless eCommerce stores. Anita Carter reported converting sites from Woo to Shopify and back to Woo because she couldn’t build the kinds of stores she was used to on Shopify.
  • Question: What do you wish the Genesis product universe would do to address building WooCommerce stores?
  • Answer: Anita Carter answered that she wanted more blocks that are integrated with WooCommerce. Sally Goetsch wanted to know the future / need for Genesis Connect for WooCommerce. Nahuai wanted to see more style options in themes for blocks provided by WooCommerce directly.
  • Question: Rob Stinson and others have commented that “The easy things are getting easier and the hard things are getting harder with WP Core”. Do you agree that custom development with WordPress is harder than ever to learn? Mixed bag?
  • Answer: Many shapers agreed the hard things (e.g. making your own plugin) are getting harder due to the complexity in languages and integrations required these days. That said, Brian Gardner made the point that things like theme.json were actually making things like theme development MUCH easier.
  • Question: Have you created a custom block yet either from scratch, with Genesis Custom Blocks, or another way? If not, why not?
  • Answer: Many of the Shapers had not created custom blocks yet and were instead favoring styling existing Core, Genesis Blocks, and other kinds of blocks that already exist.
  • Request: Not a question, but a request. Fellow Shaper Nick Croft’s daughter is having a health crisis as you may have seen on his social channels. Please consider sending a private note of sympathy, prayers, or whatever you feel comfortable with as a show of support for Nick and his family during this very difficult time.
  • Answer: The Shapers were keen to share their sympathy for Nick and several Shapers incluing Carrie Dils reported that a site was set up to accept donations to support Nick’s family in this difficult time. If you’d like to contribute to Nick’s family you can do so at https://geekhearts.online/.
Transcript

David Vogelpohl
Hello everyone and welcome to the Genesis community live cast. This is our Genesis shapers recap episode for September 2021 shapers meeting titled new mobile style tools for Genesis blocks By the way, and more. For those who don’t know me, I’m David Vogel. Paul. I’ve been a member of the Genesis community for over eight years, and I love helping the Genesis community get better together with my friends from the shapers. Joining me today for this shapers recap episode is kind of a special episode kind of a special person joining us. But I’d like to welcome to the recap episode. Of course, someone very well known to the studio press community as he was one of the founders or the founder like to welcome Brian Gardner. Brian, welcome to the live cast.

Brian Gardner
Yeah, thanks for reaching out and I know today it’ll be a good fun show. For those who don’t know, I’ve been using Genesis before Genesis became Genesis. David may have mentioned previously, I am the CO creator of Genesis, Nathan rice developed most of it a lot of it was my ideology. And so we kind of claim the CO creator, but yeah, I’ve been using Genesis long before Genesis was cool. So

David Vogelpohl
awesome. And I know we’ve been on podcast before and I’ve introduced you as Brian Gardner with this. We had a we had a change, right like September 20. Yeah. What was the change? like who are you with now?

Brian Gardner
So I decided to take a full time job because I was presented an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse. It was amazing. it aligns with everything I love about online stuff, design WordPress building community, and it just so happens to be the same place you are employed.

David Vogelpohl
Oh, cool. Does that mean I’ll see you at the virtual water cooler around the way?

Brian Gardner
Yes, yes. I on September 20, I officially started my full time position at WP Engine and I couldn’t be any happier.

David Vogelpohl
Awesome. Well, we’re so glad to have you here and back in the work family and with all your other Genesis and studio press comrades from the past. I know they were all very excited to hear you joining the team. It’s a super exciting really looking forward to what you’ll work on from here on out but let’s go ahead and jump into the shapers recap though. So again, glad to have you. Thank you. First question of the day is the first question we ask every day or every meeting was the first question we ask every meeting which is a show the Moji for those who were able to attend. We have Madison Sadler from the WP Engine engineering team know why by Dola from awesome press, they have the hand waving emoji. Sally gatch rhymes with sketch. She did just a hand emoji but not the waving hand yet means something

Brian Gardner
is out there It almost looks like the talk to the hand right kind of thing but I think she just probably grabbed the first one that was there so Sally’s good people so I won’t think anything otherwise

David Vogelpohl
yeah WP fan girl is how some folks may be familiar with her she’s also on the west coast and actually she does get you know spirit early for her this meeting. She can you know I could I could see her getting grumpy so it could be a talk to the hand thing. Not because of her as a person but just because the early though Erickson Carrie doze Ryan Murray. I don’t even know her and it’s got like a fish sock puppet for his emerging. We’re able to attend. It looks like we had Nita Carter and others show up later, but they hadn’t replied to that emoji thread there. Alright, cool. first real question of the day. I guess the first one was real. But the first topical Question of the day was we provided a pre release version of Genesis blocks version 1.3 Dotto, which includes new mobile style options. There’s a blog post on the StudioPress blog, you can go check out the details to that but ask them if they had gotten a chance to test it and try it before the meeting. It looked like that hardly any I guess no why was able to test it. But people were like reading the comp, the post and basically nowise comments were around extending the mobile style controls to the Genesis to Genesis blocks blocks themselves. Brian Have you had a chance to test the mobile style controls since or before that meeting?

Brian Gardner
Yeah, I did a little bit. You know responsiveness is is such an important thing now as it was or more so than it was you know, years ago because so many people are using digital Apple devices now tablets and phones and stuff like that. And so there’s always sort of this balance right? between what what do we do as creators and putting into our products versus what is WordPress do because on some level, you don’t want to, like duplicate or reinvent the wheel if it’s there. And so like there’s sort of like this chicken before the egg thing, it’s just seems like it’s always been that way sort of within the community of well, should we do it first before WordPress does? because inevitably, they may do something? And if so, is theirs? Is it a better method? Is it not a better method? And so on some level, you just have to do what’s best for your product, right? Because if the customers are asking for it, you got to do it. And maybe you iterate, right? Maybe WordPress comes out with a different way to do it. And, you know, it’s easy to sort of pull back at that point. But responsive ness, typography, spacing, there’s a lot of nuances and menus are going to become probably one of the biggest ones. How do you handle that like on a mobile thing. So I think it’s great that the team’s already working on that.

David Vogelpohl
Awesome, awesome. For those unfamiliar with the feature, it’s available in 1.3 Dotto, so you can download the update for it now and Genesis blocks. The controls are available within the block controls themselves. So this is not setting it with CSS and things like that. But it does, of course, make this capabilities much more accessible. I feel as you’re building a page, whether you’re you don’t know code, or you do know code how to code, but you just want to move more quickly. So hopefully folks will find this valuable as and as well as that feature evolves over time. All right, next question for the shapers is what plugins are critical for every WordPress site, you build Genesis specific plugins or not. And this is a question we ask you know, about twice a year just to see how things evolve. So it looks like we have Kari says Gutenberg, but I asked plugins, so she must mean the Gutenberg plugin, which is kind of interesting

Brian Gardner
that she followed that up I don’t know if you saw I followed that up by asking her if she deploys Gutenberg on client sites, because I’m really always interested because I know Gutenberg, sort of like the sort of the bleeding edge of what’s ultimately going to be in core and so there’s a lot of things that come in and out of the plugin breaking changes at times. And so when I hear people say I use Gutenberg, that’s like Okay, I understand people are playing with it and testing it but do you deploy it on a client site that’s even more interesting to me because what happens with and adjust happened 11.5 came out with a new way to handle spacing on the navigation menu block and on my own sandbox site, I see that it’s double spacing now I’m like, what happens if that was like on a client site and you just hit the Update button all of a sudden you would break the way the front end looks and so curious about that I think on some level for how people handle that agency wide

David Vogelpohl
You know, there’s somebody watching this right now Brian, he’s like wait a minute, I thought Gutenberg was that thing and WordPress where you you build stuff with blocks and I think this gets to a lot of the it’s confusing I think for folks is people are using the term Gutenberg to describe the block editor inside WordPress core. And of course, you and I were just talking about it through the lens of Gutenberg the plugin and testing out all the new block stuff. And so, you know, I think that part of that confusion also comes in there but I guess you never clarify as actually if she was using the plugin or she was referencing Gutenberg as quote the block editor. But she also mentions Yoast redirection which was a bit of a surprise to me to see so many people mentioned redirection and redirecting plugins. But of course, with redesigns and older sites that have had a lot of redirects over time. It’s incredibly helpful so that actually ended it makes making sense to me. We had editors kit anti spam be was interesting from the why course form plugins like Gravity Forms contact seven Updraft Plus. acf, add RCP I forgot what our CP stands for.

Brian Gardner
That’s restrict content pro from Sandhills.

David Vogelpohl
Yeah

that’s right that’s right I guessed it there in the thread and he’s like you’re right. Yeah. Was Sally had there? Oh, we got up draft Gravity Forms ACF WP rocket you know we have a lot of customers at WP Engine who have you been using nature pack very successfully as well. And so we’ve kind of been doing some internal head to head tests there to get a bead on that. But I do like rockets product. Some of these I’m not familiar with shortpixel wp sweep another one for editors kit.

Brian Gardner
Seems like there’s sort of like a commonality though. Like there’s always a forum plugin, there’s some sort of optimization or caching sort of thing or like a, you know, a block sort of thing. I think developers use plugins, like they’ve got their go to I got to do this, this and this for my client sites, where as end users, like, that’s Pandora’s box, I got plugged in, you know, 30 plugins for all these different things. 20%, of which I use 80%. I’ve just been installed, but never do. You know deactivated kind of a thing so interesting to see what the developers are building with

David Vogelpohl
well you know Travis Smith one of the shapers he’s you know he’s he’s a definitely a nerdy guide, definitely developer but he’s got kind of two lists he’s got his plugins list and his dev plugins list and it seems like he organized his similar how you’re saying which is like, you have like functionality plugins, my grab bag of stuff I’m going to use to do add certain functionality to site but then he has what he calls development plugins. So like query monitor, debug bar, WP migrate DB pro and WP staging. So is that how you think about them as well like these, these utility plugins for the builder versus like a functional plugin that adds a form or something to your site?

Brian Gardner
Yeah, but even his list of functional plugins with maybe the exception of Gravity Forms and Yoast, he still has some development type plugins in his like, and that just shows kind of the kind of guy Travis’s right. So like, his non development plugins are still development sort of centric, which is an interesting thing. So I lead it’s almost like three tiers, right? There’s like, total end user, like, this is my recipe plugin. Then there’s the sort of the in between set which are functional, but also sort of developmental and then there’s the hardcore development plugins, which he obviously uses several of,

David Vogelpohl
so kind of like ACF, like I could make a recipe thingy with ACF or I could use a recipe plugin, and so both are functional, but the ACF, one is more development focused. Yes, yes. Yeah, totally understand. That makes sense. Cool. It looks like we have a lot of the same kind of repeating patterns. I guess bill Erickson is building a lot of pw A’s sites. He had that in there. Looks like some other you know, better search and replace. I’ve used that one before. I like that one. All right, next up. The next question was when your clients or theme customer shapers are like agencies and theme providers largely choose WooCommerce over SAS e commerce platforms like Shopify? Why did they do that? Like why choose WooCommerce? over something as simple as Shopify? Is it the ability to customize familiarity with WordPress, it’s easier to manage the content and commerce together in one place. Like why? Now Brian, you know, like this GIF here with someone like eating popcorn ready to see them in the Michael Jackson GIF? Or he’s in the movie theater eating popcorn? Like, what do you think of this? I mean, I know you were like, we’re gonna talk about what others said. But just generally, what do you think of that?

Brian Gardner
Yeah, I kind of threw that in there. Just because WooCommerce is such a behemoth of functionality, a behemoth of conversation, I remember, you know, in the studio press days, trying to accommodate for WooCommerce and all the themes, so I understand all of what it sort of entails. And we probably only scratched the surface, just from like theme support perspective, like WooCommerce is a Shopify competitor. So you, if you think about it that way, like WooCommerce is a sort of platform in and of itself, but you’re putting that on top of another platform, which means there’s a lot of stuff going on, thankfully, automatic owns WooCommerce. So sort of the togetherness is a lot better than it would have been sort of if it was you know, two separate entities behind it. You know, like I have bittersweetness around Shopify versus WooCommerce. Just because Shopify is so easy to use. It’s more like, it’s kind of like the Squarespace. So it’s like, just easier to do from a user perspective. But I also understand we’re talking to people who shape you know, Genesis and WordPress and the community stuff. And so we’re the builders that were talking about it, I can understand why Yes, to your point, easy to manage everything in one place, I can customize some basic, you know, storefront stuff, in the theme that I’ve already created. So like the idea of a developer kind of having to go into Shopify and learn maybe a new theming or styling system, you know, unless it was like a fully on, you know, big store, in which case, I would just say use a subdomain have a store, have the designs be similar. They don’t have to be like pixel for pixel. But I was ready to see sort of what people would would say hence the Jeff.

David Vogelpohl
All right. All right. Well, I guess to kind of summarize some of these thoughts here. Like I think my my comment was, like, I remember my agency days, like, if I had a really simple store, like almost, you know, just visual customisations, I might use a SAS thing, especially if the customer had low budget, because I could, you know, get a store spun up very, very quickly, you know, and send the customer on their way. But, you know, when the customer needed, you know, specific types of content, or specific types of integration or changes to the funnel behavior within the checkout process, things like that. That was always WordPress and Whoo, or whatever. But that was like my pattern. It seems like though, to kind of look at these answers. Ryan Murphy, if 3200 creative is a very technical person, he’s building some headless Shopify. sights. Sally gatch she says that her clients actually rarely choose the platform. They just want to store that does x. And so her familiarities with Lucy she often builds their

Brian Gardner
checkout what Anita said though she This is the one that co Yes, yes, yeah, exactly. Yeah, I recently moved. And this is actually the opposite of how I would have expected it to go. Right. I moved from Wu to Shopify, which makes sense. And you’re like, Oh, this is so much easier. It’s cleaner, like, there would be no need to. But then she follows up by saying, then they move them back to Wu. And I was like, Whoa, normally like I’m from Shopify to woo didn’t like it. It was too hard or clunky. Then we went back, but it was the other way around. I was caught by that one.

David Vogelpohl
Well, and I think it gets down to the customization point. And I think also the content and commerce side. So like, if you have a Shopify store, like obviously, they’re good at e commerce, but they’re bad at CMS. And WordPress is wonderful, and CMS. And so when you combine the two, you can really start to build very interesting experiences. Now, of course, Shopify has their headless offering. There’s other ways to customize Shopify and build apps. But it’s really out of the reach of most WordPress developers. And then, excuse me, the lionshare developers in the world, frankly, based on their skill sets today, they have to learn new skill sets to do those things. And for Nita, that means that she can’t drop widgets, she can’t drop blocks. She can’t add functionality and uniqueness to the experience like she can and lose when she’s trying to help her clients stand out. She doesn’t have her full toolkit. And this is true for a ton of people. Maybe not Ryan with 3200 creative like Brian’s a super hardcore engineer type person. But for the lionshare developers out there and website assemblers, people using plugins and themes. These things are just frankly, out of reach in a platform like Shopify, and I think it really gets back to that customization part, which I think is such a critical value in WordPress. I think the other thing that surprised me on people’s responses were how often they were building e commerce stores where they didn’t use Woo, they just had web pages that describe the products or services. And then they would use an external payment system or process or provider to facilitate that transaction, but not actually have the product catalog and things behind the scenes and WordPress, obviously a lean and mean way to build an e commerce store. And I knew I built a ton of those in my agency days. Were you surprised to see that as well? Brian?

Brian Gardner
Ah, not really. I mean, it kind of depends. I mean, e commerce, are we talking about digital products, that’s sort of a different beast than, like physical products. That depends on the volume. Like if you’re, you know, if you sell like three shirts a week using something like Gravity Forms, and like, you know, a connection to stripe or something like that. That makes sense. If you’re Jeff Sheldon at Ugh, monk who is selling like 5000 t shirts a day, then you need something that can hold up with that volume. But the one thing we haven’t talked about here, that kind of just thought about because I saw something on Twitter just not too long ago this morning, relative to subdomains and subfolders and things like that. There’s like an actual SEO thing here at play, too. Because if you’re using WordPress for CMS, and you’re using Shopify, undoubtedly you’re either on a subdomain or a different domain, right? In which case, that’s a completely brand new site. That’s a different site from the main site.

David Vogelpohl
I thought Google had walked back on that I thought they had treat they now treat subdomains as in as one domain.

Brian Gardner
Name, you’re right, last I knew they didn’t, because I sort of did a little research on my Oh, yeah, I

David Vogelpohl
use that technique to get extra rankings. That is my understanding was I’m not, you know, I’m not super deep on SEO anymore. But I do recall a few years back, that had been changed. But I do think it is relevant, like you’re managing two different sites is likely summit SEO implication you at least have to keep track of if it isn’t like some super material thing. But like it having the content and the experiences in two different places. That’s just doubling your management. And so like we do see people often and rightfully so that have SAS based e commerce platforms that they use for their store. And then they use something like WordPress for the CMS part and the marketing part and the landing page part and you know, the parts where you have to be creative, and then the parts where you don’t necessarily have to be creative, but would be good. I guess, if you’re optimizing your funnel, then maybe you just want to, you know, put pictures and prices in a catalog and hasn’t shown a web page, then yeah, SAS SAS thing that you don’t highly customized might be a great thing might be a great thing. So but I still like think you still have to augment it. And so it’s, you know, kind of doubling up your maintenance requirements. It’s making it harder to integrate those things together. And, you know, almost certainly SEO definitely SEO considerations, if not flat out things that might be challenging or even bad for you. All right, next question. What do you wish The Genesis product universe would do to address building with WooCommerce stores. So get some more plugins suggestions here. It’s nice people reply, you know, added some guidance on some of the questions. But Anita is asking for more WooCommerce blocks that integrate with WooCommerce. And we got some, you know, raised hands and heart eye emoji to that one. What do you think of that? I think that’s actually super cool. I love the total landing pages, I would love to build with more like woo integrated blocks.

Brian Gardner
If I guess the real question is, are we saying will Genesis build and provide blocks specifically for whoo? Or is that to somebody saying, I just wish WooCommerce itself would provide its own suite of blocks? Well,

David Vogelpohl
people said both, right, like good Genesis blocks have blocks that are integrated with Whoo. And then of course, there were comments around blue blocks itself, you know, we blocked themselves from, you know, from from WooCommerce and automatic, but I think like both it I mean, we did ask the question relative to Genesis, more so the Genesis box context.

Brian Gardner
Yeah, I think even collections and things like that, right, there are some out there already that sort of demonstrate this store. And that sort of emulates, like the Squarespace or the Shopify, just want to click it, and then have it show up, and then like, just change it to be my things. So from that perspective, I think, you know, again, with WordPress, sometimes things take a while to get into core. And so like, it’s just better to build your own version, if anything temporarily right? To do something that really enhances the other side of the software, right? Like, I think there’s total opportunity to say, hey, if anything, we’ll build some great collections or some layouts that demonstrate really interesting, well designed ways to create a product page, right, which is one of the reasons why with Gutenberg or the block editor, I get so excited now about building e commerce sites is because you no longer have to hack template files to like, arrange the way like a single product page might look, you could build it the way you want. And with blocks, it’s going to be so easy. So I get a little more excited and energized more so in the past about WooCommerce and stuff like that now with sort of the blog system.

David Vogelpohl
Yeah, it’s just such you know, it’s like, if you have like just a product page, and like, that’s your marketing strategy, like you’re gonna lose, right? Amazon, the bigger e commerce marketplaces and retailers are just chewing that up. So you have to stand out and my opinion is the way you stand out is by presenting your your products and the things you sell and unique ways and interesting ways from a content layout interactivity perspective, and if I’m in a dumb system hainault collecting things and not being able to iterate on that voice in the web pages that I build well then I’m gonna lose and I feel like you know, blocks are a great way to empower people especially those content creators and marketers to create that content that’s going to be linked from social media or your email blasts or whatever and it’s not I mean it might be a beautiful product page it’s you know, if it if it if it doesn’t have that interactivity and allows you to tell that story in to support those marketing plays, well then the generic ish product page is just not going to do the trick. So that’s why I think the blocks are super important. Now I do like no wise recommendation there around like leveraging styles for existing rule blocks in things like themes and other contacts within the Genesis universe, which is kind of a nice way to leverage what’s already there instead of building new blocks I thought that was a really good suggestion there from the why. We’ll do more questions around this in the future and if anyone listening has any ideas, please join us in Genesis slack to share that. Alright, let’s move on to our next question. All right, so it looks like the next quit Brian, did you like shift your microphone and like your lighting and like I’m wearing a different shirt?

Brian Gardner
Yeah, I don’t know what happened maybe time or something?

David Vogelpohl
Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. No, of course Brian. You know, the answer is that we broke in the Genesis live cast episode for the shapers recap ended into two recording segments, but for a very good reason. Brian, can you explain to everyone why we did this?

Brian Gardner
Yes, we were recording the first half of this and I looked up at the clock and I realized it had struck 10 o’clock central time here in Chicago on Monday and I had news to break so

David Vogelpohl
we talked about it earlier as if it already happened like this, this Genesis community live. Like it’s out the door at this point. I feel like our cars are showing our car. Yes again.

Brian Gardner
Yes, I have come on board full time at WP Engine. Finally, I kind of always say in fun parentheses, finally. So a developer relations advocate where I will go into the community and talk to people who are using our products, those who aren’t. And just generally help people adjust to WordPress as new way of doing things by the Gutenberg block editor.

David Vogelpohl
Right? Good. I like it. Matter of fact, this very live cast is right in line with that mission. So I like that a lot. Yep. So glad to have you here. I thought it was really fun as I welcome you there and some of the internal slack channels just looking at the caliber of WordPress folks, Jason ball and Jason Cohen and Chris wiegmann. All fan Heidi, that was really special to see that all in one place. Super cool. Okay, so now that we’ve completely broken through the fourth wall here by by acknowledging the break and recording, we’re going to go ahead and continue with the shapers episode here. So the next question up here is raw. I asked Rob Stinson, who’s on in the shapers group, he’s part of the WP Engine product marketing team. But he says Rob, I say Rob Stenson and others have commented that quote, The easy things in WordPress are getting easier. And the hard things are getting harder. This was Rob’s observation that building a site without code because of Gutenberg is getting incredibly easy. But creating custom software, like plugins with WordPress is getting harder. Brian, you’re the first to comment. What are your thoughts on this?

Brian Gardner
Yeah, like I generally can speak to this. Because I do create for those who are using it on sort of the call the entry level, but just the user level. So while I am not a heavy programmer, I don’t build plugins, I don’t build things that interact with WordPress core, I can’t speak to the level of difficulty in which that is going from what I’ve heard grapevine and sort of otherwise, it seems to be that way. I hear people talking about well, it’s PHP based now it’s rack based. And now it’s this base and that base. And so I kind of understand it from afar.

David Vogelpohl
From the theme developer, and I mean, themes are software in a very real way. But I think you have a very, very, very relevant point of view there.

Brian Gardner
Yes, that is true. It has become easier for me, as I’m working on developing and building products and things like that, right for WordPress, the theme dot JSON stuff, the things that are becoming newer to us, you know, as builders through WordPress core has enabled us to stop having to kind of do it our own way. patterns and things of that nature are examples of we don’t have to build plugins that house containers the way that we did three years ago, and that just WordPress is sort of iterating. And, you know, it’s going quite quickly, to be perfectly honest, it’s hard to follow along. And the documentation is poor, because things are, you know, out of date, two weeks later, or, you know, one version later. So, generally speaking, though, like, as a builder for WordPress, on sort of the elementary level, yes, it has become easier to serve up the ability for people to use the product and use it the way I think WordPress has intended it to.

David Vogelpohl
Yeah, and I think that provides a lot of power to custom developers, because every custom developer has some non technical user who’s make creating content with that site. So I like to see that that that synergy there. I think you brought up, you know, here and of course, in the meeting theme JSON, which I had not considered when I drafted that question for the meeting, as a really nice example of how, you know, creating themes is getting much easier from scratch, and that’s a really good call out. I know, you also touched on, you know, from the plugin developers perspective, the technologies that you have to understand and implement and do well as drastically grap. And so, you know, I think that’s a valid point there by Rob Stenson, Chris wiegmann actually has a good post on this as well. Yeah. That I thought good goes really into it. So if you’re watching or listening or reading, go check out Chris Wegmans posted there’s a really good breakdown of it. I’d say the rest of the shapers responses were kind of pretty much in that same kind of vein. So you know, good sentiment to keep in mind. But I think I agree with your theme JSON call out that’s really making theme creation much more accessible to many more people. And the people I know who are sophisticated theme developers like it too, because they’re like I can do that quicker. Look at that, right? Yep. So what do you think of that part?

Brian Gardner
Yeah, I think and I mentioned this in my post on the thread there. The only thing I don’t love and have never loved about WordPress is that always feels somewhat half baked, right? They’re always iterating and putting in new features, but one or two of which make it into core, the rest of which are still experimental. And while I love that, because it gives us the ability to kind of forward thinker forward prepare, there’s days where I’m like, okay, 5.8 shifts, but there’s only like 10% of theme JSON that’s there, which is good, good to cut your teeth, good to understand. But like, now I can kind of taste the potential of where it’s going. There’s like that 90% 50 of it might be in Gutenberg the plug in right now, the 40% still not done. And so like, it just kind of always perpetually feels like, we’re working with software that’s never finished.

David Vogelpohl
Yeah. And I think you may bring up a good point, particularly with new features. And I remember asking this question or prior shapers meeting, like when are you going to adopt Gutenberg or something? And they’re like, I don’t know, like six months, a year after it’s released? Because, you know, and that’s, you know, pretty true. I think for a lot of software like this, you know, those first iterations, and I think people are kind of trained to wait for the documentation and the feature parity and bugs to work out. We see that quite a bit, of course. Okay, on to our next question, have you created a custom block yet? either from scratch with Genesis blocks? Or another way? And if not, why not? Let’s see, I’m gonna start with Sally here. I see Ryan’s comment. I’m gonna get back to that. But she says that she’s been building with ACF blocks. And she said she’s built several and that she’s been meaning to try Genesis custom blocks, but hasn’t gotten around to it. I think like, I think that’s another thing Brian is like, it’s not just like the features that you might kind of settle on and wait to see how they shake out and how they might work. And for bugs to be worked out. It seems like your tools are also that say like, Sally’s a Schaefer and like, she has access to custom blocks and custom blocks pro and like, just hasn’t had the time to get around to it. She’s a hard working person out there. And he’s in Cali. And she’s, she definitely is. And, you know, she’s got bills to play and clients to keep happy. I mean, showing like you can infer, empathize with, right, yeah.

Brian Gardner
Yeah, I think it’s tough for people. And you know, even prior acquisition, one of the struggles was, as Genesis evolved and implemented new ways, better ways of implementing things and features or whatever. There’s always sort of that secondary people who build on top of what you’re building, right? Even. So we’re building Genesis on top of WordPress, WordPress moves fast, Genesis has to move fast, but there’s still another sort of train on that car, or, you know, car on that train, I guess, where then they have to say, Okay, now, WP engine or StudioPress, or Genesis has implemented a new way of handling, you know, implementing demo content, we have to then learn that, but we’re also trying to pay the bills. So it’s like, kind of a balance between how do I invest in sort of progressing into the future versus I got to just stay afloat and pay the bills and just work with what I know and what has worked traditionally.

David Vogelpohl
Awesome. Speaking, awesome. No idle battle, I’m sorry, no, I out of Spain. wonderful community leader has a fairly large community there of Genesis site creators, they’re in Spain. And then the Y works with video also owns awesome press, which is Genesis theme company. And he’s made some really nice new themes that you can find on the StudioPress marketplace. But his themes have one click theme setup and all these beautiful demo blocks that load with the with the themes, and I was imagining that he made all the blocks and he replies here, it’s like, well, even we made some blocks. But we only made one block for that theme. And I was like, how, wait, what, what am I missing here and we go under the thread. And basically, he was leveraging existing blocks within Genesis blocks, as well as core blocks, and then adding styles in his theme. So it felt very much like a custom block experience for that theme. And of course, it was because the look and feel is integrated all the way through all the different kinds of blocks. It’s incredibly well done with you know, a relatively low engineering investment there from the Why do you Did you see that? Do you agree with that assessment

Brian Gardner
I did. And I resonated heavily with it because you know, I like to build and Nathan rice and I have always sort of defaulted to just kind of the WordPress way of doing things. We never wanted to reinvent the wheel, we never felt the need to sort of brand ourselves within the dashboard. And so it was always easy for us to be more creative on the front end of it all then try to like over orchestrator over develop on the back end. And so from a maintenance standpoint, which is the point I think he was sort of alluding to is I just have to make it look pretty and don’t have to worry about things breaking because it’s WordPress core and that that kind of in and of itself usually kind of lends itself to being stable.

David Vogelpohl
Yeah, exactly. Well, great to see that from the why, and great to get the feedback in general from the shapers. Our last point of the day in the meeting was a little bit more of a serious matter. One of our fellow shapers, gentleman named Nick Croft, you’ve likely heard me mention him in prior shaper updates, has a family member that’s going through a health crisis. Many people in the Genesis and WordPress communities saw this unfold and social media still unfolding. My heart. Certainly WP engines heart goes out to Nick and his family. And so we asked them to send you know, private notes and sympathy and prayers, some of the other shapers shared and I had the opportunity to chat with Nick very briefly not distracting him, certainly in any way. But some of the community members had kind of banded together and created a site to for those that wanted to contribute to support Nick and his family during this time. Certainly a lot of medical bills and other expenses associated with this. I think it really been heart warmed, or very heartwarming to see the Genesis and WordPress community kind of come together to support NEC. And very proud to be part of a community that does things like that. If you’re listening, if you’re watching, reading and you you want to also contribute, you can go to geek hearts dot online, again, sites set up by community members links to a GoFundMe page, you can make an anonymous contribution if you’d like. or, you know, if you just want to keep making your thoughts. Sorry about that. If you want to just keep making your thoughts and prayers. I think that’s great, too. So Brian, I know you’ve been Nick for a good number of years. And he wrote the book, Genesis explained, it’s been a shaper since the very beginning. Just to really leader in the community that I don’t know if you have anything to add?

Brian Gardner
Yeah, I’ll just add that Nick’s always had the heart of a giver, you know, he’s always wanted to help, you know, from support kind of how he came in through our community to writing the book, and even what he’s doing now. He’s always just been one to lend a hand. So like, it’s kind of one of those times where it’s like, he would never ask for it back. But I certainly think and I tear up even thinking about it just it’s time for the community to give back to Nick because of what they’re going through. So

David Vogelpohl
yeah, absolutely. definitely been following him very closely on social media there and, you know, again, my my heart certainly could be PNG targets out to Nick and his family and, you know, just wish his family members speedy recovery and what they’re going through. So ending on a bit of a somber note there, but, you know, really wanted to make sure to take that time to honor Nick. And, you know, mention again, geek hearts dot online if you’d like to contribute. So, Brian, thank you so much for joining us today. teleporting back. weird seeing us now because like you work here and like, yeah, it took us three years to get to this point. But here we are. Alright. Well, I guess as we now so cool. All right. Well, thanks everyone else for listening and watching and reading. This has been the shapers recap for September 2021. Again, this has been your host David Vogel poll. I’ve been a proud member of the Genesis community for over eight years, and I love helping the Genesis community get better together with my friends from the shapers

As a reminder, the Genesis Shapers are a global, hand-selected, and diverse group of people representing companies from across the community who share a representative voice for the strategic direction of Genesis, which is combined with the feedback we receive directly from customers across social channels, and through Genesis WP on Slack.