The Thesis Theme 2.0 Review

The Thesis Theme 2.0 Review

Around Halloween of 2012 DIY Themes, the company that manages the Thesis Theme, released a long-awaited Thesis 2.0. It was billed as an update, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a brand-new theme. And the new theme is nothing like the old Thesis theme.

You can read the hype and sales pitch at DIY Themes‘ website, so I’m not going to get into the features. It’s a WordPress theme(a framework, really), and allows you to customize your WordPress website. Just like you would expect a theme to do. It’s the “How” that has caused a major explosion in the Thesis camp.

Thesis theme loyalists insist it’s a framework that is brilliant and maybe even ahead of its time. Those especially seem to be the ones that are planning on selling accessories such as skins and packages for Thesis 2 and the moderators of the thesis Forum. Then there are the rest of the crowd that shelled out nearly $200 for a WordPress theme that was hyped (and still is) very hard, to appeal to a market that doesn’t like to, or doesn’t know how to, code. Basic code as it is, most people that are looking at Thesis are drawn by it’s promise of not having to touch code. That was technically true for Thesis 1.85 as well, although it resulted in a site that looks a lot like this one you’re reading right now. This site is on Thesis 1.85, which I’m fine with. It really is a solid WordPress framework. But Thesis 2 was going to open doors and free you from programming restraints and be a (barf) game-changer. And I suppose it can break you out of the Thesisy-looking sites of days past, but you’re going to have to code, I’m afraid, whether you know it or like it or not.

I was a Thesis affiliate. I’ve taken down my Thesis banners from all the sites that had them. I can’t endorse a theme that has disappointed and even angered so many. I learned to use Thesis 2 really well, and had considered selling themes for it at my site Thesis 2 Skins. But that project’s on hold indefinitely now. I still may because I don’t feel betrayed like a lot of Thesis customers do. I’ve built around 8 or so sites with Thesis 2.0, but only have 3 on it now, and they’re essentially playgrounds.

The issue for many is that in order to use T2, you must know CSS and HTML, or at least know how they work together. However when you learn CSS and HTML you’e pretty well set to not need a framework like Thesis anymore.  You can code free blank sites and it’s a quicker workflow as well. Thesis 2 does have a “canvas” editor where you can see your changes immediately. But for me, at least, it’s no harder to just have another tab open with the page I’m working on open and just refer to it. With Firebug open, it’s a breeze to make quick edits to a child theme, which in turn is simple as pie to set up. I’ve moved several sites to WordPress’s own Twenty Twelve and made a child theme to do the same thing I would have done with Thesis. But faster and for free.

Ironically, by the time you learn Thesis, you’ll have outgrown it.  Another warning I’ll share is that the money-back guarantee is being adhered to quite strictly. It’s taking many 30 days to realize they just aren’t getting it and are unable to get the refund past 30 days, which makes sense. Just be aware and don’t lose track of time.

Depending on what your goals are and time-frame, you may be much better off going ahead and learning A) How to make a child-theme(I promise it’s easy) 2)basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript(they, too, are easy) and of course PHP. That way, you don’t have to learn that anyway plus a new tool, which has scant documentation. You’ll save yourself a ton of time and $200, and have some nifty new skills under your belt. If you just refuse, no matter what, from what I hear and see, Headway Themes has a similar product that is worth taking a look at, if you are in the market for a drag-and-drop framework. Just wade into the Thesis pool carefully, because it drops off fast.