Now that we’ve talked about the SEO benefits of Thesis 2.3 it’s time to talk about the third reason Thesis 2.3 for WordPress will knock your socks off. And that is that Thesis 2.3 is infinitely customizable.
Customization for the Non Technical Person
There are a couple of ways in which we can think about customization because there are different skill levels that approach building websites every day.
And so for the non technical person, for the typical website owner, blogger, small business owner, the person who doesn’t say “gosh I love tinkering around with my website”, the person who just wants to build a website and let it do its thing, Thesis provides us with skins.
Skins give us all kinds of control. Each skin is different. Each skin has different levels of control or gives you control over different things but nevertheless skins provide us with a level of customization that non enthusiasts, if you will, can do.
Fonts, Color Scheme Generator, Colors, Layout Options
For example, Thesis Classic Responsive Skin gives us complete control over the fonts that are used on our site. It’s got a color scheme generator to let us fool around with colors. It gives us good control over the colors on our site without having to mess around with CSS and it gives us a bunch of control over the layout.
All of this happens not in the skin editor but on the easy option menus provided by Thesis.
Customization for the DIYer (Website Enthusiast)
On the other hand for the DIY person, the web enthusiast, the person who just loves working on their site – I have a ton of those people – and professional web designers, Thesis gives you easy custom templates for everything.
It doesn’t matter what it is, if WordPress can output it as information then Thesis can create a custom template for it to display that. So if it’s a post type, if it’s a category tag, a custom taxonomy, it doesn’t matter. You can have any kind of custom template for anything that you want.
Thesis has been ahead of WordPress on many things for years. I remember back in 2009 when I decided I was going to start using Thesis, Thesis had thumbnails and post images and also a menu you could configure.
At the same time in the WordPress world menus were either created via plugin and the rest of these other things were either created via a plugin. There was no interest really in usurping the plugins place for providing you with either a decent menu system or with images associated with your posts or pages.
WordPress eventually came up with a new menu system and then later on came along with featured images and these are things that we take for granted now in WordPress but those were all started with Thesis.
Chris: Custom PHP and Custom CSS as well.
Rick: That’s right, I was going to save the CSS for Tuesday but the latest release of WordPress provides for the ability for you to use custom templates on posts. There are still no custom templates for archive pages and stuff like that but you can now use custom templates for posts and in the post editor you can choose a different template.
That’s WordPress trying to catch up to the power that Thesis already had and has had for a few years. It doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s displayed with a template you can have a custom template for it.
WordPress Template System
Chris: A real quick aside here. This might be too far into the weeds but it’s funny the way WordPress has evolved regarding templates. They still have the super rudimentary, level 1 thinking as basic as you can get, that’s what the WordPress template system is.
It’s a file based template system with a naming convention and a literal file in WordPress that says “if this kind of request is made then look for a template with this particular naming scheme”. That’s how it works.
Interestingly they’ve kind of wrapped this old system with some high tech wrappers that you can interact with as a developer and that’s how the custom post type system came about. So the custom post type is mostly data driven but then at the moment of truth it says, okay if we have this then look for this template name. And it just seeds it’s final output to the old file driven system.
And it’s funny, that system is actually better suited for Thesis because Thesis just detects whatever post types are registered on your WordPress site automatically creates templates for them that you can edit if you want and save your own data and save your own templates for those pages. I just find that kind of funny the way that has evolved.
WordPress has clearly seen the light with data driven output and they are still trying to shoehorn it into the old system and there are plenty of problems that go along with that. It doesn’t scale for people out in the wild. But this does. This picks it up right way.
No Programming Necessary for Thesis Template System
Rick: And the template system that WordPress has requires a programmer. The Thesis template system does not require a programmer.
You don’t have to know PHP, you don’t have to know a naming convention, you don’t have to know where the file is supposed to go. You don’t have to get the code straight in order for the custom template to work.
All you have to do is go into the Skin Editor and move things around the way you want them. So, it’s a world of difference.
Add Widgets, Menus and Text Boxes Wherever You Want
And you can have widget areas any place you want them. You can have as many menus as you want wherever you want them. And there are no HTML limitations.
Chris: I want to speak to that. We’ve got text boxes as well which is basically just put text anywhere you want. You drop a text box in there, you want to place code in it whatever you want.
I didn’t realize the extent to which people had kind of used these in a hacky way…they used these to solve their problems. And I had no idea the extent to which people were doing that until the most recent update when it killed script and input functionality inside text boxes. All hell broke loose because people were like, I’m relying on these so much. We used to have this functionality can we please have it back. Number one, I wasn’t aware what people were using for it was even allowed and number two I wasn’t aware of the extent to which they were doing it. It was rampant and obviously very useful to people and it’s interesting. I didn’t plan it for that but in retrospect it’s pretty interesting that people solved problems using those tools available.
Rick: Right, exactly. Anyway, there are no HTML limitations and you can say that for anybody else.