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Thesis 2.1 Launch Party – Part 2 – The Thesis 2.1 Interface

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Now that we’ve talked about all the reasons that Thesis 2.1 is a spectacular development platform, we’re going to move on to the Thesis 2.1 interface. This is a site that I’m working on,, and this is what the default installation of Thesis 2.1 looks like right out of the box.

Notice that I’m using the beta version but the beta version is going to be essentially identical to the regular version. So if Thesis is out of beta when you’re watching this, you don’t have to worry because the only thing is happening between now and when the final version is released is bugs are being fixed. The interface is going to look the same.

Anyway, here we are in Thesis 2.1 with bright new colors now and if we come over to the Thesis home, this is the new Thesis screen.

Admin Menu

Thesis has this quick Admin Menu over here and then also has the select dropdown menus across the top. This Admin Menu is essentially for those things that you’re going to do the most often when you’re developing your site from scratch. Almost all of this really is suitable for somebody who doesn’t have any technical knowledge but just wants to use these tools in order to customize the appearance of their site.

Home Screen

So the new home screen has got lots of good information and I encourage you to go through and read it. It has some quick links to various aspects of Thesis 2.1. It also has some quick links over here to special elements inside of the classic responsive skin. The drop down menu is divided up into a Skin menu, a Site menu, Boxes, Packages and a More menu.

Skin Menu

The Skin menu is essentially the place where you are going to customize the skin and the specific skin that you happen to be working on at the moment. A skin in Thesis is very similar to a child theme in other WordPress themes which means that it’s essentially what the site looks like and what’s displayed.

You can switch themes back and forth without changing the content. You can completely change the look of your site by switching skins. This Skin Editor edits the stuff that is resident in the skin.

Some things are not resident in the skins, that’s going to be case no matter what skin you’re using and those are edited elsewhere but this Skin menu brings up the sections for editing that relate to the specific skin that you’re working on at the moment.

Site Menu

The Site menu is the menu where you adjust or set those settings that are specific to the site. That is, they’re going to be the same regardless of which skin you happen to be using.

For example, your Google Analytics tracking ID is going to be the same no matter what skin you’re using; that’s under here in the Site menu. The same thing is true with the favicon and your RSS feed and your blog page SEO. All of these kinds of things are not skin dependent information, these are site dependent information and even though you switch skins, these won’t change. Whereas here, if you set up a settings in your design section and then switch your skins, all this design information will be different because you’ve chosen a new skin.

Boxes Menu

The Boxes menu is a menu that allows you to essentially install Thesis specific plugins. A box is similar to a plugin except that it only works inside of Thesis and it has its own special method of installation. As you can see, I’ve designed a whole bunch of different boxes that all work fine in Thesis 2.0 but most of which do not work perfectly in Thesis 2.1. I’m quickly bringing them all up to speed.

Later on today we’ll look at installing a Thesis 2.1 box and then incorporating it into our skin but this Manage Boxes is the place where you can upload a box, you can activate a box and you can delete a box in a fairly straightforward manner.

Packages Menu

Packages, this is the prehensile tail I guess of Thesis 2.1. Packages were a method of developing dynamic CSS that Chris introduced in Thesis 2 and he’s decided to faze those out in Thesis 2.2. They’re still supported in 2.1 but by the time Thesis 2.2 comes along, you won’t be wanting to use packages. I’m not going to talk about packages at all this week because we won’t be using them in any of the things that we’re doing here.

More Menu

Then the More menu can take you over to Thesis blog, takes you to the Thesis User Guide, Thesis Support Forums, lets you sign up for the affiliate program and also shows you which version of Thesis you’re using. You can see here I’m using 2.1 beta 11 right now. That’s the whole new Thesis interface really.

Review the Site We’ll Be Creating Today

Let’s click on manage skins. This is where you can choose which skin you want to be active and I do have a Thesis Classic skin installed on here as well. I want to just activate this for the moment and then we’ll come over here and view the site.

Well, except for this one thing here, by the time we’re done this week, this is what the site’s going to look like. We’re not going to do all of this today because some of this does require you to do a little bit of coding but we’re going to come back here and activate the Thesis Classic skin.

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