On July 24th, CobaltApps, the developer that makes and supports the Catalyst theme framework just made an unexpected big announcement that will eventually impact many websites.

cobaltappsThere is a video and a blog post from the theme developer with the announcement here:

Essentially this means that Catalyst theme framework users will need to plan on updating their website to use the Genesis theme framework, and likely the ‘Dynamik Website Builder‘ child theme (to replace Catalyst/Dynamik). This would need to be done sometime within the next year, but would be better to plan for in the next few months.

As the theme developer mentioned in their announcement, they’ll still be supporting the Catalyst theme for over another full year, so there is no immediate rush to upgrade, but we thought this is something you should be aware of as soon as possible since it is something you’ll need to eventually plan for if use the Catalyst theme framework on your website. (Editor’s Note: CobaltApps announced on July 28th that they will continue to maintain and support Catalyst indefinitely, but they won’t be making any improvements to Catalyst. Read more here.)

CobaltApps is planning on developing a good bridge plugin and documentation to make the transition easier, but the impact and time required to seamlessly update the theme framework and theme of a website is hard to predict, and would need to be addressed on a site by site basis.

Our Customers and Catalyst

If you are a SiteSubscribe Managed WordPress Services customer and are using Catalyst on your website, and assuming you want us to do the upgrade at some point, any time required to do the upgrade and then debugging and fixing the site so that it works as before (but under the new theme framework) will initially fall under your current maintenance and support plan (assuming you have a plan with us that offers some level of support), but could easily and will likely extend beyond the allocated support time for your plan, therefore falling into our normal hourly billable rate.

Due to the likelihood of incurring additional cost for this upgrade (and possible site down time), we won’t plan the upgrade for your site until we can talk with you to confirm the best approach and to work out a suitable schedule for the work involved (a suitable time for you and for us). We’ll need to at least wait until CobaltApps releases the bridge plugin.

Feel free to call to discuss how this upgrade may impact your website, and how to plan for the upgrade.

Genesis Is Great

We’ve been long time fans of the Genesis theme framework, and only in recent months did we switch over to using Catalyst/Dynamik combination for a few projects due to some additional control that it provided over Genesis.

We think this new initiative by CobaltApps to update the Dynamik theme (and Genesis Extender) and to focus on using the Genesis theme framework, thereby focusing on a winning Genesis/Dynamik or Genesis/Extender combination (hope we said that right), will in our opinion make it the best combination of theme framework and theme available, thus it is a very good theme combination for your website to use going forward.

One of those combinations will be our first choice for any new websites we’ll be building.

Alternatively, for a while now we’ve also been using the Genesis Extender plugin made by the same developers to achieve the same thing (lots of control), but with the flexibility to use a different Genesis child theme (any Genesis child theme), and this has been working marvelously.