Update on Thursday, March 06, 2014:
I am now quite comfortable with Genesis and slowly phasing out Builder from my toolset.
Today one of my clients mailed me:
I see you switched your site over to Genesis. I am quite surprised to see you did that. I’m glad you will now know your way around Genesis, but I am quite curious to understand what motivated you to make the move. You were pretty set on ithemes as I remember.
I was asked the same in UWDMSG WordPress Skype group and by another iThemes user via GTalk.
Therefore I just want to take some time to write why I switched this site’s theme from Builder to Genesis.
Just a few months ago I was in the minority camp that did not like Genesis. But a ton of never-ending glorious reviews made me take a second look at it again last week. I started playing with Genesis Sample child theme and was totally frustrated by not being able to figure out how to add a darned logo image linking to the site URL in the header, a pretty basic task if you will. The standard practice seems to be setting the image as a background for one of the header elements which didn’t make sense to me. Luckily I stumbled across this post that shared the same sentiment and provided a nice working solution.
Browsing StudioPress forums, I saw two users that would benefit from my discovery. I shared the link and provided further CSS to help them. Their thank you replies encouraged me and soon I was going through other posts, downloading various Genesis child themes and helping others. 3 days and 200 forum posts later, I slowly got the hang of Genesis. I saw a ton of real-world sites built on Genesis through all this and really liked how compact the generated HTML is, how fast the sites were loading (in general) and how beautiful they looked – especially the typography.
Thus changing this site’s theme just happened to be a natural progression. Luckily it was made easy, thanks to WP Engine‘s staging feature. I copied the live site to staging with a single click, set up the theme over there and once happy with it, implemented the same on the live site (even though I could copy from staging to live).
Now does this mean that I will stop using iThemes Builder to create new websites? Absolutely not. There is no theme that is as flexible as Builder at this moment for me. I can probably write the CSS selectors without even Firebugging and in my sleep when working with Builder. There is nothing to think, nothing to refer to, I just go methodically from top to bottom and can create or re-create any website with Builder usually in 4 to 5 hours. All this came with the experience of making over 22,000 posts helping others in iThemes forum. Some may say, you can do any PSD to WP using Genesis as well but I have not reached that stage of expertise and experience with it yet.
So for PSD/HTML/existing sites to WP, I will continue to use Builder.
If the clients like any of the turnkey theme designs from StudioPress, I will use Genesis for such projects.
I hope that I will master Genesis to such a level where I can use just that to build/re-build any kind of website. I am just not there yet.
And, just for my own future reference here’s (1 MB jpg) the old design.