It is already over two years ago that we had a first look at the Dynamik Website Builder. That was shortly after the initial release. The current version is 1.7.1, so an up-to-date Dynamik Website Builder Review is definitely justified.
Dynamik is actually a Genesis child theme, so you need to install the Genesis Framework prior to activating the Dynamik Website Builder.
However, Dynamik is not an ordinary child theme. It is a very special child theme. It is a child theme that empowers you to create your own, custom Genesis child themes. Without the need to code.
By the way, the Genesis child theme deployed here on Wilwebs has been created with Dynamik too.
With Dynamik, you can build turn-key websites by point-and-click. It does not matter whether you want to create a custom home page from widget areas, or style your website as you have imagined. Just point-and-click.
With the following recipe you can cook your own Dynamik website:
- configure the General Settings
- check the Dynamik Design tabs to style your website
- set the preferred Widths
- add EZ Home Page and/or widget areas
- export your Dynamik Skin and Genesis child theme
Installing and activating Dynamik works exactly the same as with a regular WordPress themes.
The Dynamik Website Builder adds three pages to the Genesis panel: Dynamik Settings, Dynamik Design, and Dynamik Custom. For this post we will concentrate on the Dynamik Settings, and the Dynamik Design pages.
The Dynamik Theme Settings page includes three departments:
- Child Theme Info
- General Settings
The Child Theme Info states some general information, summarizes your WordPress development and offers a link to the knowledgebase. This is also the place to enter your Dynamik license key. By activating your license, you are able to keep your installation up-to-date without the need to login to the customer dashboard with Cobalt Apps.
The General Settings allow you to configure the Dynamik Website Builder according to your needs.
The most important options are enabled by default: the Responsive Design, Code Editor Highlighting, Column Classes, and HTML5 Markup.
A very nice feature is the ability to add Custom Thumbnail Sizes. These thumbnail sizes become available next to the WordPress Image Sizes and the full image.
You can select any of these image formats when you configure the Genesis Blog Page Template, apply the Genesis Featured Page or the Genesis Featured Posts widgets.
And enabling WordPress Post Formats, bringing Tumblr like post features to your blog, requires no more than a click.
The Import/Export. options allow you to transfer your settings as entered within the Dynamik Settings page and the Dynamik Custom page.
You can for example export these settings from a localhost, and import them at a live site – your own or your customer’s.
The Dynamik Design Options is where most of the action happens.
On this page you create and maintain the styling of your website. The customization options are grouped under 22 tabs:
Do not be overwhelmed by this list. Yes, it is an impressive list, but you will see that you find your way around quickly.
Not only are the available styling elements grouped logically, but the order in which these are listed is also very logical.
When you follow the list in order, you start by the main element – the body – and work you way to exporting your custom Dynamik Skin of Genesis child theme.
In addition, you do not need to style from scratch. Most elements are pre-styled to give you a head start.
We are not going to examine every single styling options, but you will get an decent impression of Dynamik’s power. A power that you can unleash with ease.
Body and Wrap
The Body and Wrap comprise the foundation of a website and set the tone for the entire website.
Dynamik comes with twelve websafe fonts – like Arial, and Times New Roman – and two Google Fonts. The preloaded Google Fonts are Lato and PT Sans. You can remove these and add your own Google Fonts with the Google Font Control.
Here you also set the primary Body font. And you can even enable support for Font Awesome icons.
Your main decision at the Wrap is regarding the site structure. You can choose between the default fluid and a fixed structure.
Other options of the Wrap include the background, borders, shadows, margins, padding, and the border radius. The border radius determines how round corners are going to be.
Let us have a closer look at your options concerning the site Header, so that you get an impressions of how styling with Dynamik works.
For the Header Title Font you can choose from the websafe fonts and the Google Fonts loaded at the Body settings.
In the image above you see the default options regarding the header. With one exception, that is the hover color for the Site Title. I have changed that value to Wilwebs green.
It is up to you in which degree you want to change the default settings. But as you can see, you can change the styling of each element like for example the Site Title, by point-and-click.
Do you rather have a logo image? Just upload it at the Images tab and select the image from the drop-down menu where you read Select Logo Image. Set the dimensions of the logo, and adjust the padding and margins when necessary.
Dynamik makes use of all the greatness of the Genesis Framework. And Genesis offers you a choice out of six layouts for your pages.
The utmost left in the image above, the one with the right sidebar, is called the content-sidebar layout. The second from the right, is the sidebar-content-sidebar layout.
With the Widths settings, you have the ability to set the column widths of these layouts. Just enter your preferred values and the wrap width at the right will tell you how broad your website will be including the necessary margins.
The EZ section offers the most powerful settings of the Dynamik Design Options. These settings allow you to:
- create a custom static homepage
- include a sidebar on the static homepage
- enable a slider on the homepage
- activate a Feature Top area
- add a Fat Footer
Let us explore these options a little bit more.
First you have to decide what you would like to see on the homepage: the default blog template, or a static homepage. In case of a professional website, you will most likely opt for the static homepage.
Next have a choice out of five dozen combinations of widget areas on the homepage. Just select the desired layout, and Dynamik will create the widget areas for you.
All you have to do to populate the homepage, is drag the desired widgets to these areas on the Widget page of the WordPress Appearance panel.
Besides the layout of the content areas on the homepage, you can also display a sidebar or slider on the homepage. Just click the appropriate checkbox. That is all there is to it.
Sometimes you want to have an area between the header and the content where you can display something newsworthy or important.
You can construct such an area with the settings at the Feature Top EZ-Widget areas. Just check the pages where you want the Featured Top to appear, and drag for example the Featured Page or Featured Posts widget to that area on the Widgets page.
A Fat Footer is a footer with widget areas, and Dynamik lets you choose from six layouts for the Fat Footer – well, seven when you include ‘Disabled’.
What to do when you prefer a different Fat Footer on the homepage, than on the inner pages? Just leave the checkbox in front of ‘Home’ empty, and add three row with three widget area at the Static Homepage EZ Widget areas.
The image above shows the widget areas after saving the EZ settings.
The Header Right area, and the two Sidebars are the default widget areas, all the other widget areas are a product of our clicking at the EZ options.
Export Your Website
When you are working on a website with Dynamik, it is a good habit to export your work in progress as a Dynamik Skin. A Dynamik Skin includes your work in a propriety format. You can import such a skin in other installations of the Dynamik Website Builder.
And once you are finished with your website, you should also export the finalized website as a Dynamik Skin and store it in a safe place.
Whenever you – or your customer – wants any adjustments, you simply reload the Dynamik Skin regarding and make the desired adjustments.
Besides exporting a site as a Dynamik skin, you can also export the site as a Genesis child theme. All you need to run the Genesis child theme is the Genesis Framework.
Hence, you can create a custom website – a custom Genesis child theme – with Dynamik, which will run independently from the Dynamik Website Builder.
Some Final Words
Because Dynamik takes advantage of the Genesis Framework, so can you. All those powerful options of Genesis are also available when working with Dynamik.
Just think of the possibilities of all those pre-cooked code snippets ready to apply with Dynamik.
We did not touch the Dynamik Custom page with the more advanced options of the Dynamik Website Builder. We will get back to those on a short term.
However, we did touch everything you need to create a custom Genesis website – without the need to code.
The Dynamik Website Builder is available with three plans:
- Single Site – $89
- Up To 3 Sites – $149
- Unlimited Sites – $239
The prices stated includes one year of support and updates. After the first year, you can renew your license for 50% of the original purchase price.
And you can always request Cobalt Apps to upgrade your license.
You do not need Dynamik to run your Genesis Child Theme – only Genesis.
When you have any questions regarding the Dynamik Website Builder, or Genesis, just leave a comment, and it will be my pleasure to get back to you.