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Thesis 2.1 for Web Design Professionals – Part 1 – What’s New in 2.1 for Design Professionals?

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Well good morning everybody and welcome to our final Thesis 2.1 seminar for the week. This is Thesis 2.1 for the Web Design Professional.

Who is this Seminar for?

So who is this seminar for? This seminar is specifically intended for people who design websites for a living and who tend to do that with Thesis 2.1. You probably have already been designing sites with Thesis 2.0 and Thesis 1.85, but maybe not.

The subtext of that, of course, is that you have a reasonable understanding of code especially CSS. And so I’m assuming that you’re going to be comfortable with the material that we’re talking about today because this is more technical than the presentations that have gone on before.

It also assumes that you’ve already watched the first and second sets of videos. If you haven’t watched those, I encourage you to do so because I’m not covering ground today that I’ve already covered in the past.

If you’re not in that position, by all means, feel free to watch along but know that the whole purpose for this presentation is for people who are doing this for a living and who have a fairly high level of technical knowledge and expect to employ that when they’re using Thesis 2.1.

Thesis 2.1 Perfect for Web Designers

As far as I’m concerned, Thesis 2.1 was made for you guys. I swear, when I first saw Thesis 2 I thought that my business was dead because there was so much power in what Thesis 2 could do. It didn’t require you to learn how to use PHP and didn’t require that much CSS. And since what I perceived to be my bread and butter was teaching people how to customize Thesis using PHP and CSS, it seemed like Thesis 2 was essentially making me irrelevant. It turned out that wasn’t the case.

Infinitely Customizable

But having said that, I still believe that Thesis 2 and now Thesis 2.1 is especially beneficial to professionals. And I’ve said this several times but in this case, I’d like to say it again. One of the reasons is that Thesis is infinitely customizable and that’s the case with very little HTML coding, not very little HTML knowledge.

Very Little PHP Coding Necessary

You still need to understand how to structure pages using HTML and that sort of thing. But you don’t actually have to do it yourself. Very little HTML coding, almost no PHP coding which was extensively necessary in Thesis 1.8 for anything that you wanted to do or many things that professionals wanted to do.

But now, you have almost no PHP coding necessary and the CSS coding is very easily handled and managed. That is, you’re going to see this in a minute but there are some great tools for coding your CSS inside of Thesis 2.1.

Now when I say almost no PHP coding, I’m saying that because there is no PHP coding required for you to use custom templates on anything. There’s no PHP coding for you required to create additional sidebars or place them around on templates. No PHP coding needed for you to add various menus to various places on your pages. No PHP coding necessary in order to style custom post types or custom post type archives or custom taxonomies.

All of this is all handled inside of the visual editor, inside of the drag and drop skin editor in such a way that you’re almost never going to need to use PHP. And I think that’s an extremely powerful thing for designers because it frees you up to do what you’re good at.

You know, I’m pretty good at PHP but I am lousy at design. And it seemed to me that as I was looking at this that really, the person who is good at design, who imagines a web page design and then lays it out in the PSD file was going to love this version of Thesis because it’s so simple to take that design and implement it.

New Set of Powerful Developer Tools

Thesis 2.1 in particular has a whole new set of very powerful developer tools. First, it has this integrated code editor with syntax highlighting which is totally cool. It’s very nice to have syntax highlighting in the code editor. And I’m so dependent on it that up until this point, I still often use my own code editor just so that I can get that benefit out of it.

It also has a new very powerful developer’s toolbox which we’ll be discussing tonight and it still has packages. And we’re going to suggest today a methodology for using packages even though packages are being deprecated.

Moves Clients out of the Skin Editor

Another reason or perhaps, the 3rd reason why Thesis 2.1 was made for you developers is because it moves your clients out of the skin editor. That’s really the big philosophical demarcation between Thesis 2 and Thesis 2.1. Thesis 2 required any customization to be done inside the skin editor.

And so if you had a client, you say, “Oh shoot! I really wanted to just change this font size.” We had to learn an awful lot in order to figure out how to change the font size. If they wanted to change the content of a text box or if they wanted to change the menu that was being used in one place or another, they would have had to go find those boxes in the skin editor and know how to change them. There was a whole bunch of knowledge that had to be acquired in order to do very simple things. Thesis 2.1 has eliminated that all together.

Now in Thesis 2.1, you can add the content to text boxes and set options and make choices that are very simple inside of the dashboard without ever entering into the code editor. And it’s a much more familiar interface for a regular WordPress user. They’re accustomed to the idea of a settings panel where they open up settings and choose settings and then those settings are chosen. Thesis 2.1 makes that possible and pulls many of the design decisions out of the skin editor and into the dashboard for your regular user.

This makes it much easier for your user to not have to call you to make a change. This means that box options are now set from the admin panel and design options are set from the admin panel. That’s essentially what all that means.

Thesis Classic Responsive Skin

So what’s new for you? Well, first we have the Thesis Classic Responsive skin, right? The original skin was Thesis Classic. That has been replaced in 2.1 with Thesis Classic Responsive. In fact, 2.1 will not ship with the original Classic. It will only ship with Classic Responsive. So if you’re using Classic in some other place and you want to continue to use the original Classic, you can still export that skin and install it on another site. But Thesis 2.1 is not going to come with the original Thesis Classic.

New CSS Code Editor

It has a brand new shiny CSS code editor which is absolutely cool and I’m looking forward to showing you. It has dynamic variables and essentially, all of the settings that are set inside of the design and content options panel are reflected in these variables. And those variables are inserted into the code and that makes it very easy for somebody to set an option and have that option populate throughout the rest of the CSS.

Variable are Dynamically Edited

Variables used to be something that sat there and you’d create a variable and use it. But you’d have to open up that variable to edit it if you wanted to edit it. Now variables are dynamically edited, at least, the ones in Thesis Classic are dynamically edited from the dashboard and then available for you to use inside your CSS.

Box Options Display Now in the Dashboard

And the box options display has been taken out of the skin editor and has been placed in the dashboard. And this is going to be a two-edged sword, certainly a two-edged sword for me because I have lots of boxes that I don’t want to expose to the regular user. I want them to be only exposed to the designer. And so I have a bunch of changes I have to make to my boxes so that those options don’t display in the dashboard. But that is one of the new things that you will either enjoy or not enjoy but nevertheless work with.

Faster Skin Creation and Transporting Data Between Skins

Thesis now also has this great new developer’s toolbox which is an extremely powerful tool to allow you to speed up your skin creation, to create new skins, to transport data between different skins, that kind of thing.

Using Packages Until 2.2

And then of course, as you probably have already heard, packages are deprecated which means that they’re still there but they will, apparently not supported in 2.2 which you know, is months and months and months away. But nevertheless, sites that are currently dependent upon packages are going to have to migrate away from packages.

Now, as I said, I’m going to suggest a methodology today of how to use packages in 2.1 effectively without getting caught with your pants down when 2.2 comes out. But anyway, if you look at the Thesis Classic Responsive skin, you’ll notice that there are no packages being used there. Packages all still exist in the package editor but Thesis 2.1 is not using them in its own skin CSS.

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