Visitors the last couple of days will have noticed that Tonia’s Roots has a new look! Making this change has been in the back of my mind for about a year, and the time finally came a few weeks ago to move forward.
The reasons for the update were mostly performance-based, but the site has a fresh new look as well. Tonia’s Roots has been around for almost seven years and has undergone several changes along the way. The previous style change was implemented three years ago, so it was time for an update.
One of the major back-end changes is switching from the Thesis framework to the Genesis framework. The prior theme was built on Thesis 1.x and I designed the theme myself, which involved a big learning curve. Unfortunately, Thesis development went dark not long after I implemented it. A couple of years ago they came out with Thesis 2.0, but it was completely new program that I would have had to learn (plus it wasn’t really ready for prime-time when it was launched).
Since I was going to have to learn a new program anyway, I decided to switch to the Genesis framework. Genesis is produced by StudioPress, which is a Copyblogger company and I trust the folks at Copyblogger to keep it up to date.
In today’s environment, it’s vital to have a responsive theme, which adjusts automatically to whatever screen a reader is using. As a workaround, I had been using a mobile plug-in and theme, but I really wanted the main theme to be the one seen across all devices. I found a responsive Genesis child theme that I liked and then tweaked the color-scheme to my preferences.
Discontinued TNG-Wordpress Plug-in
This was a biggie. I’ve used the plug-in for about five years to integrate my TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding) family tree site into WordPress. The plug-in started out good, but then the developer fell off the face of the earth and stopped supporting it. Eventually, other people in the TNG community took it over and it works now, but it’s fussy. It doesn’t respond well to site changes (like upgrades) and it doesn’t play well (or at all) with certain plug-ins and themes. Moreover, it’s SLOW.
I tried several options to to keep the WordPress and TNG integration, but I finally decided to just let them run side by side.
There is still a link in the primary navigation menu to take you to the Family Tree, but that portion of the site now has a somewhat different look than the main site (although keeping the same branding and color scheme).
To get back to the main site from the family tree, just click on the Tonia’s Roots logo.
Upgrade to TNG 10.x
During the process, I also upgraded TNG to the current version. I had been using 8.x, but I was afraid to upgrade due to the aforementioned plug-in fussiness. The new version is also mobile-responsive, which is big plus. There is a new vertical ancestry chart, if you prefer that view to the traditional pedigree chart view. My favorite part is that I was able to turn Google maps back on (it didn’t play well with the plug-in); maps are so essential to genealogy research that I hated not having that information readily available.
I imagine I will be making small tweaks and fixing unforeseen problems for several days. If you see anything that looks wonky, please let me know.