This morning Chris Pearson announced the release of Thesis 2.0. The Thesis theme is one of the most popular WordPress themes on the market and fans have been awaiting this release for quite some time. Chris announced this release as an AppSumo offer in an interview with AppSumo. I’ve edited that interview down to what I believe is the substance of this announcement. In this interview Chris lays out the problem that Thesis 2.0 is trying to solve and gives some hints at the new features available in the new release. Chris followed up on this interview with a blog post that you can read on DIYThemes.
Thesis 2.0 will be released on October 1, 2012
Chris has been talking about Thesis 2.0 since 2010. In the video he definitively states that the release date will be October 1, 2012. There was an extensive Alpha period but no Beta period. Thesis 2 is public now in its full production version.
Thesis 2.0 will solve every web development problem
Well, maybe not but Chris does identify a couple of problems that “most of the time” Thesis 2.0 will solve. I’m assuming that by “most of the time” what he means is that for the majority of customization tasks these will no longer be an issue. Having played with it for a week I can easily say that over 90% of the code related questions I answer here and on the DIYThemes forums will no longer have a code answer. This demo site was created in Thesis 2 without a single piece of hand written code.
- You have to know how to code to customize your site – With Thesis 2 you’ll want to understand some code concepts but you won’t need to know code syntax because you won’t be handwriting any code.
- Too many pieces of software needed to develop a site. You will very rarely ever need a code editor anymore and you only need FTP for problem solving.
- FTP is a stumbling block for new users. I know that first hand which is why I try to teach it early and often. I still think it is an essential skill to have, but you aren’t going to need it nearly as much as you used to.
- Code editing is a pain. Editing in a code editor then uploading an edited file then testing is cumbersome. Users should be able to do all of their “editing” in the WordPress dashboard. This is absolutely the case, you will be able to create almost anything without resorting to actually writing code.
#1 – No FTP Client Will be Needed
I was skeptical of this at first . However it does appear to me that the typical user will not need to use FTP when customizing their site. Don’t loose the skill because there are plenty of other reasons for needing to use FTP. However, customizing Thesis isn’t one of them.
#2 – No Code Editor Needed
Chris is saying 2 things here – First that you’ll hardly ever need to edit code and second that when you do you’ll be able to do so from the dashboard. This is not hyperbole! The god’s honest truth is that you will almost never need to edit code. Period. Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of things that never need code again:
- You wont need to write code to create custom templates
- Different template styles for different post types
- Custom sidebars ANYWHERE
- Different headers for different pages
- Different templates for posts
- Different template styles for different archives
- Different styles for various pages and page elements
- Feature boxes
- Background images
- Custom menus ANYWHERE
- Custom menu styles
The one exception to this is when you ACTUALLY need to edit PHP. In that case you’ll still use a code editor.
#3 Never Edit an HTML File Again
What he’s really saying here is that “There are NO HTML limitations WHATSOEVER!” Seriously, if you felt constrained in the past by the HTML limitations of the full width framework or the page framework they’re gone now. Anything you can imagine in HTML can be done with Thesis now. And you don’t have to write the HTML. All you have to do is drag the elements around. Some of them are even smart enough to clear their own floats.
#4 – No CSS Code Writing Needed
He describes this as creating CSS by selecting and configuring options. An example of this is creating and inserting a menu. Insert the menu, configure the menu styles, call it good. It sounds similar to what I’ve been doing with the plugins. (This may make some of my plugins obsolete.) He shows an example of the nav menu CSS editor in his blog post.
Enter Thesis Packages – apparently the real meat of this editor will be managed by Thesis Packages. Packages appear to be collections of styles that you can apply to various elements. It looks like you create a package, apply it to an element and once you’ve configured the CSS settings it’ll write all the CSS for you.
Feature #5 – Drag and Drop Interface
This one’s no longer a hint! In a recent blog post (after the interview) Chris outlines, with screenshots, what he’s talking about. Thesis 2.0 will come with an all new drag and drop “Skin” editor. In it you’ll be able to add all kinds of elements including various column configurations, nav menus, loops, feature boxes and a new feature of Thesis called “Boxes”. Boxes are like plugins – only better. (Surely not better than my plugins – perish the thought!). Plus once you’ve dragged something in place there is the CSS interface that allows you to style everything by simply selecting settings.
Feature Hint #6 – New SEO Features – Thesis 2.0 will incorporate HTML Schema
This involves adding information to HTML tags to help search engines understand the content. It tells search engines what “type” of content each element on a page represents. You can learn more about that concept here.
Feature Hint #7 – Ability to Purchase and Add Modules or Snippets of Functionality to Your Site
The example he uses is of buttons or Aweber signup forms. You’ll be able to purchase these little parts individually and then drop them into your site. It kind of sounds like a new form of plugin. Knowing how Chris feels about plugins I’m guessing he has a new “improved” system for adding additional functionality without adding plugins.
Feature Hint #8 – No Training will be Immediately Available
OK so perhaps this doesn’t sound like a feature to you, but it does to me! That means that there will be plenty of opportunity and need for BYOBWebsite. We’ll begin providing training the day Thesis becomes available. In fact, I’ll be hosting a Thesis 2.0 release party where we will unwrap Thesis and see what it’s all about!
New Pricing Structure
So apparently the pricing and licensing structure is about to change. There will be a “lifetime” purchase available for $197 that will give the user access to lifetime support and updates, but all other purchases will be subject to a 12 month renewal. The good news for existing Thesis owners is that you will continue to receive lifetime upgrades and support. There was a little confusion about this early this morning but it has now been definitively answered by Chris in his blog post.
Thesis 2.o Release Party and Training Sessions
The first week in October I will host 6 Live Free Public Seminars where we will examine Thesis 2.0 at length. Sign up for any of those sessions from you BYOB Member Dashboard, from our Facebook page or for DIYThemes Forum.