This is a continuation of a series of posts about reworking my website into one that is entirely WordPress based. The series starts here:
I now understand the product road map at Imagely (nee Photocrati) much better. Photocrati came first, along with a basic set of non-responsive galleries. Then The company developed the responsive gallery set NextGEN Pro, and reworked the Photocrati theme to work with those galleries, and to be responsive itself. Then they started deebveloping a new line of themes that were less configurable than Photocrati — a lot less — that run as child themes to the Genesis framework theme. I asked the folks at Imagely if they had any plans to make a Genesis child theme that was highly configurable and effectively replaced the Photocraci theme. The answer was no.
So I got worried that Imagely might, at some point in the future, stop fixing bugs in Photocrati and stop making versions compatible with the then-current releases of WordPress. I wondered how bad that would be, as long as the NextGEN Pro galleries work. In order to find out, I decided to see what kind of effort it took to change my main web site from Photocrati to various Genesis child themes.
I started with some of the Imagely themes. I couldn’t get any of the two or three I tried to be anything like what I wanted. So I went to the website of StudioPress, who did the Genesis framework. They have lots of child themes for sale. I tried a couple, and couldn’t get them in the same area code as what I was looking for. Was I gonna have to break down and write code?
Fortunately not. I found a plugin called Genesis Design Pallette Pro that is designed to allow menu-based configuration of many of the StudioPress Genesis child themes. I tried it. It worked a treat. Sure, there were some things that I wanted to tweak that I couldn’t, and those things varied from child theme to child theme. But, given the right child theme, it was pretty easy to get very close to what I wanted.
For this blog, I started with a child theme called — are you ready? — Daily Dish Pro. I modified it until it looked like what your seeing right now, if you are looking at this post within a few days of October 1, 2016. Just to provide a level set, here’s a snap of the way the blog looks right now:
I’m pretty happy with it. I like the calendar in the sidebar much better than the cramped, ugly thing that Photocrati puts up. The formatting of the trackbacks is fixed. I’ve got a lot more flexibility in how the blog formatting is done. In fairness to Photocrati, it appears that it was intended as a gallery/portfolio theme first and foremost, with a little light blogging thrown in. Used that way, it’s pretty good. But, with my three WordPress instance approach, I don’t have to compromise.
A couple of downsides: I don’t have the navigation aids to the previous and next post at the bottom of each post like I used to, and I can’t figure out a way to get a full-width banner image without coding.
In fact, the whole experiment turned out so well that I decided to abandon Photocrati, and stay with the Genesis approach. Can I do the same thing with my main gallery site? The answer is yes; I’ve already done a lot of the work. But that story will have to wait until tomorrow.