I’ll admit that when I first saw the Thesis wordpress theme I wasn’t really keen on it, in fact I really didn’t see the point. While I’m not a programmer by trade, I know enough HTML, CSS, and PHP to make things happen in the code. However after seeing some of the behind the scenes stuff on Rae’s blog I finally gave it a try, and PURCHASED MY OWN COPY. I can now say that I’m a big fan of Thesis, and am probably what you’d call a brand advocate. If you’re like me and can do your own programming, or just don’t get why Thesis is cool, then read on, and I’ll try to explain some of the benefits.
If you are a novice programmer of have no programming experience, Thesis makes it really easy to dip your toe in the water, since Rae did an excellent job covering that in her Thesis review I won’t rehash that it here. But what about those of us who can do some coding, are developers or publishers, or have more than one website whats the advantage? Chances are you’ve graduated past the free themes and you are using a premium theme like someplace like solostream or woo themes. They are nice looking themes for sure, but they have their limitations. Lets imagine you want to customize the look and feel a little, add or remove things, I can tell you from firsthand experience it’s not an easy task, sometimes it can be excruciatingly difficult, because you have to start modifying the core theme files. Every few months the theme will get an update and therein lies the problem, you’ve now got two choices, stick with your old version of the theme which has your customizations, or migrate all of your changes back into the new version of the theme. If the theme has updated because of a wordpress update, your’re pretty much screwed (I speak from first hand experience here).
When you work with Thesis you won’t have these problems. To customize Thesis the only thing you have to do is change two files custom.css and custom_functions.php. Every time thesis updates, you copy those two files, upload the new version of thesis, and put your two files back. That’s it there’s no go ing back through the core files trying to figure out how to put your modifications back in. Again I’ve done this several times across multiple blogs, not just this one, and each time it goes off without a hitch.
Knowing that I only have to work with these two files is huge time saver. If you’ve ever tried to work with a theme someone else wrote, you know that working with template files can involve a bit of hunting and pecking, is that coming from archive.php or archives.php, where is the author template pulling from, which sidebar file is that coming from, again working with thesis has already saved me a huge amount of time, so I can get more done, and less time wasted on playing with the code.
Another bonus of thesis is how easy it is to change the layout. Sometimes when you work with “pixel perfect” layouts you run into problems. You need to put a 250px wide widget in your sidebar, but the designer made the column 200px wide. In theory you should just be able to go the CSS file and change the two width and everything falls into place. However everyone who has been coding for more than 24 hours can tell you 99% of the time it’s never that easy. You’ve got to spend time going through multiple nested CSS sheets and classes, and hope that a graphic wasn’t involved. However with Thesis it really is that easy, you choose how many columns (up to three), how wide each one is, hit the “big ass save button” and you’re good to go (screen shot below click to enlarge)
For me the biggest bonus of using thesis comes from the time it saves me. Once you understand how to write hooks customizing thesis really is breeze. If you run more than one website you can leverage the programming across multiple sites even though they all have a different look and feel with different custom CSS file. Hooks are really easy to write, lots of people share theirs, you can see my thesis hooks here, and I do plan to publish more. Simply put Thesis helps me get things done with my blog, instead of wasting time on design, themes, and set up distractions.
To be clear this is not a sponsored post, or sponsored review. I bought my own developers license with my own credit card, I was not given a “review copy”, comp’d, reimbursed, or in any way incentivized to write this post. I wrote it because I like the software and I use it, and to be honest I think a lot of you could benefit from it to. In fact I like this program so much I’m announcing a new section on my blog called Recommended where I’ll be listing software I use and think is worth using and owning.
If you think thesis is cool and want to give it a try, a personal copy is $87 and developers license is $164 (under priced IMHO). if you only run one website the personal copy is fine, have more than one the developers license, lets you put it on as many websites as you want. You can also always upgrade from a personal to the developers license. If you found this review helpful and want to pick up your own copy of thesis, you can use my affiliate link to make your purchase.