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Thesis 2.0 Theme Review – WordPress Theme Framework ReInvented

Well, last month I finally convinced myself to try out the Thesis 2.0 – Drag & Drop Framework. The theme is in the market for 2+ months but I didn’t started using it until Alex come with the MD3 for 2.0.

After spending a few days with thesis 2.0, I can say that 2.0 is a robust drag & drop theme framework that comes with a nice set of features.

I don’t want to turn this post into just another thesis review post, so expect a long read!

While many people complained (even I did) about how clunky the new version is, but it seems 2.0 isn’t that bad. Though, I don’t have any plans of updating any of my sites that are running on thesis 1.8.x!

The theme was in making for 2+ years; many people turned away and started using other theme frameworks like Genesis & Woo Framework.

To test and see how thesis 2.0 works, I installed the theme on a brand new blog. I spent more then 3 hours playing with the latest version and it turned out a robust theme with a lot of options to customize. FYI, the DIYThemes (the company behind this framework) has decided to keep developing both the frameworks and it makes a great sense for people those who don’t like the drag & drop 2.0 version can stick with the 1.8.x.

Some Background about Thesis theme

When thesis theme was launched there weren’t as many WordPress theme frameworks as now. Thesis theme was launched March 29, 2008.

I started using thesis in 2010 and since then I have been building sites with it. Thesis 1.x version come with a lot of fantastic options, hooks and functions, that a beginner developer can easily style his thesis site.

Many A-list people like Neil Patel, Ileane Smith, Corbett bar and Pat Flynn has been using the framework and all of them are still using 1.8.x!

Thesis Installation

Installing the theme isn’t as hard as you might think. Actually it’s pretty simple, just like any other WordPress theme. NO FTP or any file permission change is required, it was a must in the 1.8.5!

The latest version creates a whole new look inside your dashboard. The UI is pretty nice but not something I expected in 2.0! The buttons are actually Dropdown menus and each of the Thesis 2.0 features can be accessed.

Tips for Getting started with Thesis theme

Once you start playing with thesis you will realize the Chris, Lola and Missieur are giving you some cool thesis tips to improve your thesis powered website. I have never seen something like this in any other theme frameworks.

Thesis Site Options

So let’s begin exploring “Site” options which is the first button on the navigation menu. As you will hover the mouse on the “site” options button, you will see links to the following tools:

HTML Head:

This section is where you can manage everything related to the head area of your site and do little things like set your favicon, verify your site with Google and Bing webmaster tools.

On the right hand side there are two options – first one is, Site Verification, which lets you verify your site with Google & Bing webmaster tools and second option is, Google Rel author, which you can drag to the head area, to show rel=”author” tag in every page/post of your site. You would need to add Google+ profile id in the rel author settings.

If you run a multi-author website, you would need to enter each author’s Google+ Number on their user profile page.

Tracking Scripts:

This is the section where you can add Google scripts and other scripts that helps to improve your website. It’s a handy way to add scripts to your thesis website.

404 Page:

This is a simple that lets you create a custom 404 page. All you have to do is to create a new page from the WordPress dashboard, and then choose it in the 404 options.

Very handy feature for creating a 404 page!

Home Page SEO:

The most important page of your website, where you will put an awesome title, description and keywords for your website. There are also options for noindex or nofollow your website, but labeled as ‘not recommended’.

Unlike other themes, thesis 2.0 doesn’t support WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast. So you would need to stick with the Thesis SEO option.

Thesis Skins

Thesis allows you to install more than one skin at a time, similar to the default ‘themes’ page. FYI, you can’t run more than one skin at a time.

Select Skin

Very similar to the WordPress theme uploader and all your child skins/ themes are listed here.

Thesis 2.0 comes with two default skins – Classic skin and the Blank skin. Classic skin is the same as the default thesis 1.8.x skin and blank skin is a blank page so you can start building the skin from scratch.

Skin Editor

The most complicated settings in the whole 2.0 – this is what you will think at the first look, but once you start playing with it you’ll going to love it.

Thesis comes with Drag & drop theme builder, that you can use to build your theme from the front-end. You can create the custom designs from within the thesis dashboard.

In Thesis 1.8.x you had to add a lot of code snippets to the custom_functions, but with thesis 2.0 you can add anything a few clicks without touching any code.

With thesis 2.0, there is a whole new HTML, CSS and Image that will let you customize your blog from the front-end.

Thesis Boxes

Thesis theme is packed with innovation and one of the most innovated feature is Thesis Boxes. This is a useful feature for non-tech users, now they can easily upload the thesis box or package to add a new function to their websites. Basically, it aims at solving problem of tweaking functions.php or custom.css templates, with 2.0 you can achieve the new functionality without touching a piece of code.

With thesis boxes, you can customize the blog as you want, all from the front-end. Each box has different set of options and properties and it takes less than a minute to add a new box.

It also has box import feature that lets you migrate all the settings of the theme with ease.

Thesis Packages

Well, innovation doesn’t end yet. Another feature that shows its usefulness is “Packages”. In previous version, if you wish to increase margin or padding or to change the font size, color, you need to have some knowledge of CSS.

But the 2.0 comes with thesis packages, which lets you add specific css properties without messing with code.

Creating and adding thesis packages is pretty simple. Once you create a new box, you have to add the css properties such as border, margin, padding and font-family.

In last 2 months, a lot of new child themes and boxes have been released for Thesis 2.0!

Free Themes for Thesis 2.0

There are not many free skins available for thesis 2.0 but there are 2 awesome skins that I would love to share with you.

Legendry Theme

The free skin created by Hesham Zebdia, yes this guy has created a lot of awesome themes & boxes for Thesis 2.0 ;). Anyways, the Legendry is a pretty simple theme with a sliding optin form. I did like the color scheme that he used in the theme.

Download Legendary theme

BizLife

BizLife is another awesome free child theme. This one also has a custom home page and is designed & developed by Puneet Sahalot.

Download BizLife theme

Premium Themes for Thesis 2.0

Marketers Delight 3

I know a lot of people who are using Thesis 2.0 theme only because of this theme. Marketers Delight 3 is an awesome theme build for bloggers and marketers. I am not going to write a review of this theme here, but in short Marketers Delight is one of the best themes.

MD3 Features

Full Details & Download

BlogSkin

BlogSkin is a perfect theme for internet marketers, bloggers, and multi-authors blogs. The theme comes with several awesome thesis Boxes, custom landing page template and 2 different Mods for 2 and 3 columns layout that you can switch between any time.

Blogskin Features:

Full Details & Download

Quik Theme

Quick is a responsive child theme with a complete magazine look. If you want to a 2 column design with magazine look, then Quik is the theme for you. The theme is developed by the Themedy Team.

Quick Features:

Full Details & Download

Grind

Another nice looking theme by Themedy. Grind is a business or corporate theme with fully responsive design. There are very few business themes available for Thesis 2.0 and Grind is one of them. Perfect theme for starting a business website.

Grind Features:

Full Details & Download

Free Boxes for Thesis 2.0

Author Box

I have been playing with a lot of themes recently and most of them come with an author information box, but thesis 2.0 doesn’t has a default author box. After doing a little search on Google, I found a perfect author box for thesis.

Author Box Features:

Download the Box

Social Media Box

Another useful box to add in your theme is SocialShare. This box adds social media buttons at the bottom of every blog post. With Social Share, Thesis users can configure vertical or horizontal buttons via Thesis itself.

Download the Box

Final Thoughts

Thesis is no doubt, a great theme framework for WordPress, but there are some things that need to be worked out. There’s not much documentation or child themes or custom boxes, but looking at the community thesis has, it won’t be long before you will see a lot of awesome themes & boxes.

Of course, Thesis isn’t for everyone! You would need to have at least some basic knowledge of web development plus the theme doesn’t come cheap. The price of basic version is $87 and it only includes 12 months of upgrades.

Get the Thesis Theme Framework

Have you tried Thesis 2.0 yet? I would love to hear your thoughts about thesis 2.0 in the comments below!