The news came as quite a small shock to me. For the past few days, I have received emails, seen facebook postings and tweets concerning some biggie announcements from the Developers of the The Catalyst Theme. I shrugged it off as the usual marketing gimmick before any major update. However, the final announcement that was sent out today really caught me off guard. Eric Hamn announced that the Catalyst Theme will not be sold anymore with immediate effect. The Catalyst Framework will be discontinued and taken off the shelf for good.
Why Such A Harsh Decision
It is hard to fathom the reason for such a harsh decision. The Catalyst was not simply a Theme that Dick, Harry or me created for fun. From what I have gathered over the years of following the development of the Theme from it’s mother, the Frugal Theme till now, every piece of code that was written for the Catalyst Theme is tainted with sweat and tears. It was their baby, nurtured from the first syntax to what is now a full blown Framework used and loved by thousands of loyal fans.
It is certainly not for me to say, but apparently, Eric must have a pretty good reason to do what he did. One of them was he wanted to concentrate on doing what he does best and that is developing third party add-ons rather than keep up with the brain wrecking process of maintaining, upkeeping and supporting a WordPress Framework.
So What Happens Now To Existing Catalyst Users
The third party add-ons that Eric will be keeping himself busy for the rest of the coming days will be the Dynamik Child Theme for Genesis and The Genesis Extender Plugin
In order to be fair to all those for have purchased the Catalyst, all existing owners will be given a free copy of the Dynamik Child Theme For Genesis which, from now-after, will be referred to as the Dynamik Website Builder. The small catch though is that you will need the Genesis Framework in order for the Dynamik Website Builder to work. Then again, for existing customers, Eric have cooked up a deal will the Studiopress guys for a 50% discount code for existing Catalyst users
The Genesis Framework as a standalone without and bundled child themes costs $59.95. Thus for existing Catalyst users, they will have to fork out approximately $30 only.
Once you have the Genesis Framework and the Dynamik Website Builder installed and activated, you will be in familiar territory. The environment is almost 95% similar to the Catalyst Dynamik Theme.
The Dynamik Website Builder
Developed as a child theme for the Genesis Framework, this is Eric’s answer to all the lovers of the Genesis who had a rough time trying to customize the framework per se.
In all reality, no matter what the Developers tells you, the Genesis Framework is not a framework that is easily customized by novices and the layman. It is not like a simple WordPress Theme that consists of the few core WordPress files which most will be able to edit once they learn some basics of what to look for and what to change.
In fact, all WordPress Frameworks are not easy to customize unless you have a good understanding of WordPress and the codes used. Thus, many Genesis users either pay for a professional to customize their theme or they simply buy one of the many pre-designed Genesis Child Themes available.
The Dynamik Website Builder, to a very large extent, simplifies the process of customizing the Genesis Framework. Now you will not have to spend extra for a ready made child theme. You can make one to your liking without having to learn complex codes and all those geeky stuff.
Frankly, there will be a learning curve as in every other software that you have never used before. However, trust me, you will master the Dynamik Website Builder in a very short span of time. It is developed with the novices in mind.
The Dynamik Website Builder sells at $77.00 until midnight July 31st when it will be adjusted to $99.95.
The Genesis Extender Plugin
What about those who has bought a Genesis Child Theme and only later find that the Child Theme is not to their liking? Can they also change things around the pre-made child theme? Would it be simple enough for the non tech savvy?
I definitely do not think so. Even pre-designed child themes are complicated to re-design.
The Genesis Extender Plugin, almost similar to the Dynamik Website Builder in features, make customizing a Genesis Child Theme a lot more easier.
Not be be confused as another Genesis Child Theme, the Genesis Extender is a plugin which works with any Genesis Child Themes. Do note that it only works with Genesis Child Themes and not any others.
Genesis Extender is presently going for $44 and like the Dynamik Website Builder, the price will go up to $59.95 after 31st July.
Can You Continue Using The Catalyst And Catalyst Dynamik
Word has it that even though the Catalyst has stopped being sold as of now, all existing users who loves the Catalyst too much to let go can still go on using the Framework and Child theme for as long as WordPress allows them to.
Which means to say, as long as WordPress lets you run the Theme without any crashing conflicts, you can use the The Catalyst. In other words, that would mean as long as you want.
However, support for the Catalyst will be stopped gradually and end totally next year end.
UPDATE: In an about turn after taking into consideration the numerous complain and concerns from existing users, Eric has promised to continue supporting the Catalyst for years to come.
So now, all those who wish to continue using the Catalyst can do so with a peace of mind knowing that it will not be an outdated theme.
Changing The Old For The New
I suppose life is such. Good things will never last long. It is important to learn the art of letting go.
I have no qualms whatsoever of changing. Even though I do have a soft spot for the Catalyst Theme I wasted no time changing to the Genesis and the Genesis Website Builder. They are nothing new to me as I have already purchased both of these scripts a couple of weeks after their release. I have also been using them in one of my other blogs.
I like both. Though I hate to admit it before because I was using the Catalyst Theme here, the Genesis is in my opinion, a better framework than the Catalyst.
Maybe Eric realized that too.