I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chris Pearson this week. Chris is the author and genius behind the Thesis theme for WordPress. Thesis has a long history (long in WordPress years) of innovating and pushing the boundaries of WordPress themes. Thesis was one of the first themes to offer a comprehensive system of design options, allowing regular folks to customize the appearance of their site.
History of Thesis innovation
Long before child themes existed, Thesis had a system of customization and upgrade that allowed the end user to customize their theme without jeopardizing the underlying code and without risking losing that customization in upgrades.
Thesis pioneered dynamic stylesheets, which allowed for easy customization without requiring the user to edit any files. It also extended the WordPress hook system to allow users to add functionality to their site without having to create new templates or theme files.
These innovations, once radical, are now commonplace in WordPress themes.
Thesis 2.1 continues this history of innovation. Not only does it provide a simple to use interface for customizing a site using design, display and content options but it also provides the technically inclined with an entire theming engine called the Thesis Skin Editor.
The Thesis Skin Editor gives designers absolute control over the html of their templates while at the same time providing them with a sophisticated CSS editor that easily integrates variables, significantly streamlining the coding process.
Chris Pearson’s vision for Thesis
I’ve broken this interview into 4 parts. In the first part I ask Chris to describe his vision for Thesis and what motivates him to continue to innovate. Please disregard the poor voice over as my microphone was not recording and I had to create new audio for my part of the conversation.
Why use Thesis?
In part 2 of the interview Chris describes what Thesis 2.1 has to offer to 3 types of users. First he discusses what Thesis 2.1 offers complete newbies, those who have no knowledge or experience with web development or code. Next he talks about the tools available to the DIY website builder who wants to know some code and who enjoy learning how to develop their own site. Finally, he talks about the real innovation available to professional web designers.
How Chris created the DIY Themes homepage using the Thesis 2 query box
In part 3 of the interview Chris demonstrates the power of the Thesis 2.1 query box. In my opinion, the query box is one of the most powerful innovations of Thesis 2. He demonstrates how he used it to create the homepage of his site, its default use in the Social Triggers skin and then shows other ways it can be used.
An hour of Q&A
The final part of the interview is actually an extended Q&A session where Chris answers audience questions. In that process he demonstrates many of the features of Thesis 2.1 and shows just how powerful a development platform it is.
I’m excited about the prospects for developing sites with Thesis 2.1. What do you think of what Chris had to say?