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Thesis 2.1 Launch Party – Part 12 – Session 1 Q&A

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Now, I’m going to open this up to questions and I clearly have a whole bunch of questions. I’m actually going to start off with questions that people asked via the signup and then I’m going to go to questions you guys asked here.

What is the Best Way to Upgrade to Thesis 2.1?

Geoffrey asked, “What’s the least painful way to upgrade a Thesis theme to take advantage of all of Thesis 2.1 new features?” Well, that is going to be skin by skin specific that is, Agility and Carta will be updated to take advantage of some of these things but there will be a process for upgrading because it’s one thing to add the features of Thesis 2.1 to a 2.0 skin and it’s another thing to incorporate them into code that you may have created when you use packages or you may have done your own HTML and stuff like that.

I’m going to try to make it as painless as possible but what I’ll be doing is providing users an opportunity for essentially a package by package choice of upgrading so you can choose to upgrade each package to the latest standards or not and switch back and forth in case it breaks something on your site. There is no painless way to upgrade from Thesis Classic to Thesis Classic Responsive, the HTML is different, the CSS is different, it doesn’t automatically upgrade, you simply have to recreate your site from Thesis Classic into Thesis Classic Responsive and when you do that, you’re going to want to be careful because if you’ve created your own custom HTML structures, that’s going to be something that’s a little bit trickier. So there’s no painless way to go from Classic to Classic Responsive unless you have a very very simple site but the chances are, you don’t.

Classic Responsive Skin Versus the Agility Nude and Carta Skins

“Is Classic Responsive a comparable skin compared to Agility Nude?” Well, Agility and Carta have a bunch of extra custom functionality that Thesis Classic Responsive does not have and when they are updated for 2.1 which will be shortly, they will take advantage of most of the things that Classic Responsive has but not everything. For example, I won’t be using that header image for feature on my skins because if you want a single header image in your skin, I have a responsive image that it doesn’t just scale the image, you can choose which image you want based on which resolution is being displayed and that is something that gives you quite a bit more control over your header image display, I’m going to keep that instead.

The Classic Responsive does not have the responsive columns packages that Agility and Carta have so I believe that Agility and Carta are more full featured than Classic Responsive but for a simple site and for many people, maybe to most people, I think Classic Responsive is probably going to be a very useful thing for them and if there’s functionality they want in Agility then they would be able to switch over to Agility. Steve says he’s in a middle of a major redesign of his website using Agility, should he wait? No, I don’t see why there’s any reason why you should wait.
The current Agility works just fine in Thesis 2.1, there are two problems with the current version of Agility in Thesis 2.1 and that is first, you just have this really long list of these choices here and I think some of those choices need to be moved back to the skin editor. Secondly, at the skin options panel, that does not work anymore but it’s going to be converted into this design scheme so that’s the first upgrade to Agility with 2.1 is that, that skin options panel will look just like this, will have this feature to it. From my perspective, there’s no reason for you to bother waiting to continue to work because Agility is going to continue to work just fine and I will have an upgrade process in place for you.

What to Know About Thesis 2.1 and How it Affects Previously Done Work During Upgrade?

Let’s see, were there other questions that were asked in advance? Let’s see, Bliss asked, “Does the upgrade destroy previously done work?” No, it does not. Simon, “I’m a newbie, what do I need to know about Thesis 2.1? Does it really empower a newbie that has not set up a blog or a theme before?” Well, I think it really does. You know, I can say honestly that it’s been a long time since I’ve been in that position and this system here seems very straightforward to me even if you don’t have any knowledge of web design or web technology, this whole thing does seem very straightforward to me.

I think the answer is yes, if you found this to be very complicated seeming then maybe not although this is as easy as it gets, I mean I don’t think anybody else out there has something that is simpler to use than this is to use for doing this kind of customization. So I do think it empowers you to do something even though you’ve never done one before and actually, that’s what really the site’s dedicated to although I think to get the most out of my site, you want to have to spend some time learning stuff because that’s mostly what I do, is teach me how to do stuff.

Is Thesis 2.1 Mobile Responsive?

Adam says, “I am hoping to have a mobile theme up and running in the next couple of months. Are there ways for me to do this with 2.1?” Well obviously, you know Classic Responsive is mobile available right now. If you need something, I mean you may want to watch Wednesday session and Friday session to get a fuller understanding of all of the aspects of that but I don’t see why not and certainly, all of my tools will be ready for you to use by then. Jean asks, “When will 2.0 be as easy to use as 1.8?” Well, I think Jean, 2.0 is easier to use or 2.1 is easier to use than 1.8. Now, you have to divide up ease of use into a handful of categories, 1.8.5 could do a bunch of simple things pretty easily but anything complicated involved quite a bit of learning and quite a bit of work.

Thesis 2.1 Versus Thesis 1.8.5

Now, Thesis 2.1 can do almost all of the easy things that Thesis 1.8 could do just as easily but all of the hard stuff is way simpler in 2.0 and 2.1 than it ever was in 1.8.5 and never really fully understood why people thought that 2 was so hard. 2 was just new, it was a new way to approach designing your website and so there were new things to learn and what you knew in 1.8.5 didn’t translate very well into 2.0 but anybody who did anything difficult in 1.8.5, had they taken the time to learn to use 2, they would’ve found it was so much simpler in 2 than it ever was in 1.8.5. Even if you were using my plugins in 1.8.5, I think it’s easier to master 2 than it used my plugins to replicate 2. There are still a bunch of people out there that use 1.8.5 and my plugins and they can accomplish many of the things that 2 can do because of that but I do think that if they take the time to learn how to use 2 properly, they’ll be able to do all that stuff much simpler and a more straightforward way than you could do even using my plugins.

Can You Set Up Users to View their Marketing Materials?

Susan Kidney asked, “Can you create customizable identity systems for marketing collateral with 2.1?” I presume what you mean by that is can you set up accounts for customers or users to view their marketing materials? If that’s what you mean, sure. Now, all of that really is a WordPress function although because of the way Thesis 2.1 works in some of my boxes, that allow you to show and hide information based on the users status. I mean I think I have some tools to make that easier than it would be without my tools but the ability to essentially have member accounts or customer accounts or user accounts is something that’s inherent in WordPress and Thesis fully implements that stuff.

Does Thesis 2.1 Work with BuddyPress?

Quint asks, “Will it work with BuddyPress?”, and I got to admit, I have to idea whether or not it works with BuddyPress. I heard 2.0 work just fine with BuddyPress, I’m guessing 2.1 does but I don’t work with BuddyPress so I don’t really know. Next up we’re going to start taking questions from our list here.

Do I Recommend Downloading the Thesis 2.1 Beta Version?

Tom Huntington asked, do I recommend downloading the beta version for the class or not. Absolutely. If you’ve got a developer license, download the beta version and start playing with it. I would definitely do that and my feeling is, if you’re under development mode on a site right now, then I would be developing in beta. I am developing sites in beta right now. I assume that by the time I’m done with the site, it’s no longer going to be in beta but the kinds of bugs that we’re seeing in beta right now are so small that I myself am not worried about it and I would be developing sites in 2.1 beta.

Tecla asked if I’m going to have a recorded version of this available for watching. Yes, just like all the 2.0 Launch Party videos are on the site and available to watch. Tomorrow we’ll have a blog post posted which is a Thesis 2.1 Launch Party replay and all of the videos from the day will be on the site. Tecla asks, “I got Thesis 2 for 5 sites, can I use the information that I’m teaching for Thesis 2.1?” Yes, I mean if your sites aren’t live right now, you might as well be developing in 2.1 rather than in 2 because by the time you’re done, those things will be worked out. Although, there is no training material for 2.1 right now so if you need to be using training materials while you’re learning then you’re going to have to wait because the only training materials that are available at the moment are the ones we’re recording right now.

Is it Difficult to Create a 4 Column Layout in Thesis 2.1?

“Post displayed in four columns on the home page, which was real difficult in 2.0.” Well, I disagree Brian that it was ever difficult to do in 2.0. It depends I suppose again by how you define difficult but if you’re using difficult to say, it was difficult to do on 1.8.5, is it difficult in 2.1? The answer is absolutely no, it’s slam dunk simple to create a 4 Column layout and display posts in those layouts compared to Thesis 1.8.5. If you’re using Agility, then you have the built-in ability to create responsive columns and then you’re going to use query boxes inside of those columns to place the content and it’s actually quite simple and I’d be glad to demonstrate that sometime. I’ll certainly demonstrate that next week sometime, next week on a Wednesday live session. It’s essentially an extension of the Magazine Style Website tutorial that we did here recently.

Can You Upgrade from Thesis 2 to Thesis 2.1 Without Further Editing?

Yes, there will be a new version of Agility and Carta and right now, we are working on a system that won’t update 2.0 boxes, the 2.1 unless the skin has been updated to 2.1 and we’re in the final throws to getting that working. “Can you upgrade from 2.0 to 2.1 without any further editing?” Yes, you can, you won’t lose anything by upgrading to 2.1 from 2.0. Now, I strongly recommend that you back your site up just in case something happens but there’s no reason why a 2.0 skin won’t work reasonably well in 2.1.

Can You Create a Site with Twitter Bootstrap?

Susan, let’s see, okay I’m going to come back to your question, Susan just a second. “Can you make a site like what many sites are doing with Twitter Bootstrap, they are full width of the browser window?” George has asked that question. George, that’s a beginner question, right, it’s not a beginner task but yes in fact, I know about at least one skin system that was created using Twitter Bootstrap and there’s no reason why you can’t take Twitter Bootstrap and do that but that is a web developer’s job, it’s definitely not a newbie, non-techie job because Twitter Bootstrap’s still requires you to know an awful lot of stuff about web development and web design in order for you to accomplish it but I do know at least of one person who’s done that.

I think Jim, you probably got the answer to what if you want a different color, not just a complementary color, just click in the thing and you can pick your color. Angie says, “I’ve started building a new site with Agility Responsive. Would I recommend switching over to the Classic Responsive or carry on with Agility?” I would stick with Agility because the new Agility will not well, in the first place, Agility is responsive whether you’re in Thesis 2.1 or 2.0, it’s going to stay responsive. However, Responsive Classic doesn’t have really any of the tools that I’ve created in Agility for making them a more complex responsive website so Agility is more suited to a complex website than Thesis Classic is.

Will the New Agility and Carta Include the New Features of Thesis Classic Responsive?

“Will the new Agility and Carta include the new features of Thesis Classic Responsive?” Most of them, not all of them but most of them. Like I said, we won’t be doing the header image but we will do an expanded version of the color picker and stuff like that. Malcolm asked, is my training of upgrading Thesis from 1.8.5 to 2 still applicable to get us oriented transferring to the Thesis new 2.1? Well, I’m going to teach a seminar next week. It hasn’t been advertised yet but I will teach a seminar on how to upgrade from Thesis 1.8.5 to Thesis Classic Responsive in 2.1 and I’m going to teach that next week, I’m going to show you how to do that so that’s probably a better choice.

Discussion on Data Portability

Let’s see, will the new facilities in Thesis 2.1 allows to convert Agility to Carta? Well, kind of, and we’re going to talk about that more on Wednesday. We’ll talk about data portability actually on Friday, Friday is when we’re going to talk about data portability about taking things between one skin and another but I can’t imagine why you would want to but I’m open to the question. Mike Nickel says, “You can use the exact PHP plugin in the widget box”. Yeah, you’re right you can do that inside of a text widget or actually not inside of the text widget, it creates its own text widget where you can put that in and then you can put that into a widget area rather than putting that in a text box.

Let’s see, Steve had a question about the second text box. Okay, Steve I’m going to talk about stuff like that in Wednesday session. Today’s session is all about how to use essentially design options, content options to customize your site where it doesn’t require to know anything about HTML or CSS. Wednesday, we’re going to talk about how to use the skin editor and we’ll answer the question how would you add a second text box or remove it from a specific template or whatever, we will be answering that question on Wednesday.

Let’s see, Pamela Anders says my audio went out. Did you answer the PHP question? I think the PHP question you’re asking about Pamela was, can you put PHP in a text box and the answer is no, you cannot. You can only take HTML which means that any kind of HTML, CSS, Javascript, just not PHP.

How is the Sidebar Text Box Different from a Text Widget?

Let’s see, how was the sidebar text box different from a text widget? Well, in many respects it’s not different at all, you could simply use text widgets. More advance users will use text boxes for inserting HTML in between other boxes that needs to be inserted. In this application and what we’re doing right here, it essentially is indistinguishable from that text widget really but there will be times when it’s a very useful tool but those aren’t times we can talk about today.

Jim asks, “Does the slider need to be responsive?”, and the answer is well, no, probably not although a fully non-responsive slider may have code that interferes with the responsiveness of Thesis, I mean that’s the nature of the responsive beast. So responsive is still more complicated than non-responsive and some things can break responsiveness and you’ll undoubtedly find some of them there someplace but in this case, it didn’t need to be responsive. John asks, does that text box work on any template? John, I think you’ve got a bunch of text boxes in the skin that you’ve been developing with me and it’s a text box, it’s a text box, it’s a text box.

What to Do When Using Shortcodes in Thesis 2.1?

“So if I have a WordPress plugin for a bunch of shortcodes, how or what do I need to do to use it in Thesis if anything?” No, you don’t need to do anything. I mean if you’re talking about plugin like J Shortcodes that lets you wrap a text in shortcodes and transmit columns and stuff like that, all of that stuff works just fine. Any kind of shortcode that worked in your content area will continue to work and as you saw, if you want to wrap HTML in shortcodes in the text box, that will work as well. Any shortcodes, it doesn’t alter whether or not shortcodes work, it just happens to be a way in which shortcodes do work in 2.1.

How Will Thesis Make Changes after 2.2?

Brian asked a great question, “Will Thesis continue to make big swings to where we must change our website once a year or can we count on them after 2.2 or just making small minor upgrades?” You know, I don’t have any idea. I would like to believe that that is the case, everybody knew that Thesis 2 was going to be hugely different than Thesis 1.8.5 was going to be and we all expected that. Thesis 2 had really big aspirations and those aspirations included not needing to know any HTML and not needed to know any CSS in order to make stuff work, not having to write code and Chris had to retreat on some of that stuff and so Thesis 2.1 will require some CSS writing that 2 didn’t require which we’ll talk about on Wednesday. But the HTML system, I would like to think is largely unchanged between 2.0 and 2.1.

The thing that changed the most were box options configurations and packages and variables and I wouldn’t be surprised if we continue to see changes in the CSS stuff in 2.2 because I believe that he is going to want to recover his dream of dynamic CSS and that’s my own personal feeling about it. In the meantime, I will be creating my own sets of plugins to provide the opportunity for dynamic CSS in Thesis 2.1 in a similar way to the way I did it in 1.8.5 and I will certainly make sure that that stuff continues to work in 2.2 even if packages evaporate and because of that, that’s my strategy actually.

Anytime now that I plan on anything that’s going to write custom CSS, I’m going to use a system similar to what I did in Thesis 1.8.5 until I’m sure that Thesis 2 has a system in place that’s not going to have this kind of issue but upgrading is going to continue to be an issue, I would guess in 2.2 as well. I don’t know that for sure and I might be wrong but I’d like to think that 2.2 stuff will be back worthy compatible but Chris said that it’s not going to support packages so obviously it’s not going to be compatible with what was built with packages in 2 and by that time there’ll be a way to upgrade it better.

Can the Classic Responsive Be Set to Full Width?

Keith asked, “Can the Classic Responsive be set to full width?” No, it cannot. I’m going to probably create a set of skin mods that are similar for Thesis Responsive Classic as I did for the standard Thesis Classic but I haven’t had the chance to do that yet but they will come along and that’s skin mod, will include a full width version of the skin. It probably will not include a 3 Column version of the skin because the way the skin is written, it’s automatic calculations of site width and column width and that kind of stuff. It’s really dependent upon either being 0, 1 Column or 2 Column so I don’t think I’ll be coming up with a 3 Column skin mod for it.

New Upgrades in Agility Responsive Menu Style Package

“Current sites use Agility in responsive menu style package, will you have new upgraded way to handle?” Of course, yeah, we will both be upgrading those and we will have new ways of doing it. For example, the next upgrade of that menu plugin will copy all of your package settings and then move them out of the package and delete the package because we’re going to move away from the packages but that will all happen for you without you having to do anything about it so that kind of stuff is going to happen.

Does WordPress 3.5.2 Work with Thesis?

Let’s see, does the new upgrade of WordPress 3.5.2 okay with Thesis? Yeah, I’ve tested with all 3 versions of Thesis that is 1.8.5, 2 and 2.1, works just fine. Also works just fine with all versions of Genesis 1.8, 1.9 and beta 2. Do I have another site URL besides the test site that works in the Responsinator? Well, this site will work in the Responsinator, I mean the one we just worked on in fact, this is the one we just worked on, isn’t it? Yeah, thesis2demo so the one I gave you earlier was, this is the thesis2demo, I’m not sure what you mean by beyond that. Jim asked, “Should I start using 2.1 beta?” Yeah, I think so.

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