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First Impressions of Thesis 2.0
Yesterday was like Christmas for many in the WordPress community. October 1st marked the release of Thesis 2.0, an update that has been several years in the making. Like most of you, I refreshed the DIYthemes so often that I thought it might go down! After waiting most of the day for Thesis 2.0, I decided I’d go to sleep and check for 2.0 on October 2nd.
After spending a few hours with Thesis today and struggling to figure out how to implement a full-width framework, I am prepared to give my impressions of Thesis 2.0.
What Is Awesome?
Thesis 2.0 is radically different from any other WordPress theme I’ve used, even Thesis 1.x. In talking to my mentor about the new Thesis, we decided that Thesis could best be described as “revolutionary” (completely different) as opposed to the typical “evolutionary” (incremental updates).
For many reasons, this is amazing. The forward thinking in many of Thesis 2.0’s features will completely change the WordPress landscape. The ability to create boxes and visually edit templates is essentially a way of visually editing CSS.
The skin editor also allows you to easily implement features such as: Schemas, Hooks, Filters posts by author, Change order of posts, and much more. Because of this, Thesis 2.0 is very much a developer’s dream. It allows you to easily configure areas and add fairly complicated programming without lifting a finger.
The skin editor seems fairly intuitive to me. Yes, it will definitely take some time to get used to if you are used to Thesis 1.x, but I believe you will fall in love with the skin editor in 2.0 once you become familiar with it.
One of the things I like so much about Thesis 2.0 are all of the options under the “Site” button in your Thesis options. The “Site” button gives you options such as HTML Head, Tracking Scripts, 404 Page, and Home Page SEO. My favorite of these is the 404 Page option because it allows you to edit your 404 page just like any other page! Talk about easy :)
Thesis is also planning on releasing several Boxes, Packages, Skins. Documentation will also be coming shortly.
What Could Be Better?
As of October 2nd, there are no documentation, skins, packages, or boxes in the Thesis backend. On top of this, I felt like I was jumping into a maze as I was playing with Thesis 2.0. Chris Pearson was available through twitter to answer small questions, but why would there be an update released without having some type of documentation or tutorials in place?
Because of this lack of documentation, I don’t fully understand what many of the Thesis 2.0 features are. In a Twitter conversation that Matt Gross (@mattonomics) and I had, Matt said, “we are operating under the assumption that getting the software out there was more important than anything.” I believe this was a slightly flawed idea because if people don’t know how to use the new Thesis 2.0, then it is essentially useless.
Most confusing to me is the CSS section of the skin editor. I am assuming that the “Skin CSS” is a list of variables that correspond to the CSS packages on the right, but it is hard to confirm that as there is no documentation. Adding custom CSS is very similar to Thesis 1.x. You click the “Custom CSS” button, enter your css, then click “save and compile css.”
My Overall Impression
I love the DIYthemes team and I think they’re building something really awesome. I think that Thesis 2.0 is an amazingly powerful theme for those that want to learn how to use it. But, I don’t think it should’ve been released yet. I am also certain that the DIYthemes team will work their butts off to make Thesis 2.0 much more user friendly by releasing packages, skins, boxes, and documentation in the coming weeks.
This reminds me very much about the current Apple maps fiasco. For those that haven’t followed this story… In the latest iOS 6, Apple ditched the established map app using Google’s data to launch their own map service. Many people hate the new map app from Apple.
Very much like the Apple map app that was recently released, I think Thesis 2.0 is a solid product but it needs to be polished a bit more. Should you upgrade? That is ultimately up to you. Thesis 2.0 will give you some very powerful abilities that would be much harder with any other theme/framework out there. But be aware that, as of now, there is very little documentation and you will soldiering ahead mostly blind.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Have you tried Thesis 2.0 yet? What were your thoughts? Leave a comment below with your answer.