Thesis Theme Is Not Recommended! Here’s An Awesome Alternative!


Till 2012, Thesis Theme (DIYThemes) was the best WordPress theme. It seemed more promising when Thesis 2.0 was released. But it came with no proper documentation. A lot of existing users failed to migrate to the new version. Moreover, the Thesis 2.0 was conflicting with every new WordPress updates. That's why it lost its reputation. Since Thesis Theme has not been updated for a long time, we no longer recommend Thesis Theme.

We use and recommend Thrive Themes.

WordPress Theme Frameworks became very popular recently, probably because of its power and flexibility, which allows developers to quickly create amazing websites.

I’ve reviewed Thesis 2.0 before, I actually did more than once, and each time I couldn’t rate it high for a few reasons that I’ve mentioned in my reviews.

Earlier this year, I’ve got a chance to test drive Thesis 2.1 (beta) and I had a fantastic experience. So, I’ve decided to review Thesis Theme 2.1 for several reasons, no need to mention them all here, but I must mention my main reason.. which is, I love it!

Tell me more about Thesis 2.1

There are a lot to talk about, but let me focus on what I see as a major enhancement or addition:

Bug Fixes in Thesis 2.1 took care of many issues that were discovered in the older release, and this is why I consider it one of the best frameworks ever created for WordPress (if not the best), no wonder I am using it here on WPLeaders along with a custom made Skin.

UI in the new release got a lot of UI enhancement to make it more user friendly and super easy to navigate.

Skins functionality has been enhanced, new Design and Display options has been added which will enhance usability.

Boxes now can generate its own CSS, Meta Boxes, and more. Check Thesis Box API.

Packages will be removed. This probably the most interesting news, Thesis Packages will be dropped, however 2.1 still support it. Packages will be removed totally from next releases. It was replaced by a handy CSS editor (nice addition).

Backups extended to include a new user backups section, which can be used by users, this is apart from the Thesis Manager.

Classic Skin got a generous amount of features, Classic 1.1 is extremely dynamic, it has several preset color schemes. You must check it out, you are going to love.

Why I love Thesis, and Why you should?

You see, the whole concept of Thesis 2.0 is to make use of already-written code, so you don’t have to actually code a lot, or repeat boring tasks (example: creating a setting page for your Skin) each time you develop a website. Thesis 2 should save you a lot of time by using its built-in functions, there is a huge power waiting you.

I like the fact that you (as a developer) can now add a settings page for your Skin or Box without having to code it the traditional way. Thesis 2.1 allows you to simply define a class, options array, and even a very easy way to add dynamic CSS via variables.

So, no more enqueue styles unless you really need it, which makes Thesis a lot faster if implemented in the Skins and Boxes.

This is super because, think about it… Thesis 2 dose a lot of coding work for you.


Believe it or not! When you fire up the Thesis Skin Editor in your browser, and start adding new elements to your site, you are telling Thesis what to “code“. I like that.

Final words

Between Thesis 2.0, and 2.1, there has been a lot of changes, also many users turned off because they didn’t know how to use it, they got confused and lost in the back-end, maybe Thesis was hard to understand, or those dudes are newbies and don’t know what they are missing.

Anyways, that was before. Now, and after the changes in 2.1, things should be much clear and easy to understand.

But If you are a newbie, allow me to give you a quick advice off this review. Thesis 2 gives you the power to create websites, I’ve seen many people doing awesome job, and they aren’t developer or designers, but this awesomeness will always have limits, means you can create an awesome site, but you own’t be able to create a unique and highly customized site -unless you know how things work.

I have been dreaming of building sites with a drag and drop interface, now.. I got it.

11 thoughts on “Thesis Theme Is Not Recommended! Here’s An Awesome Alternative!

  1. My review refers to Thesis 2.x which looks like other CMS not WordPress. It just does not make sense. Want to spend $$ to convince for yourself? Then go on, buy it 😉

    • “Spend $$ to convince for yourself?”

      Are you assuming that everyone else feels the same as you? There’s no convincing needed for someone who understands. You needed convincing (and obviously didn’t get any) along with a lot of others who didn’t belong in the framework space to begin with.

      Many people screamed “Thesis 1 rules!!!” from the mountain tops. Sure, you can love it because it has has a Header Image uploader and switching column layouts was easy. But that’s theme framework fluff and Thesis 1 had it wrong by including all of that. To really stand behind Thesis 1, you had to understand certain things about what made it so great as a theme framework.

      News Flash: Every single one of those important things got better with the first release of Thesis 2!

      The gripes you see around the internet, along with the ones echoing off of your bedroom walls, are based on the fact that what was once easy for a non-developer to tinker with became difficult. Is that a legitimate gripe? Sure. But it’s NOT a basis for judgment in regards to if Thesis 2 is a good framework or not. If you care so much about what everyone else uses (you must care because you’ve been floating around the internet talking crap since November 2012), build your own framework. Actually, scratch that. Pick what you consider to be the best framework and become a leader in its space. If you can talk about why one framework does not meet your standards, you can surely tell the world which ones do AND WHY. And let’s make sure “why” has something to do with what an actual framework is supposed to do… not just what you like it for.

      Sitting back watching how so many of you stood behind Thesis 1 and have the nerve to say Thesis 2 sucks is driving me crazy. Certain things in Thesis 2 are/were annoying. I got it. But anyone who understand what made Thesis 1 what it was in the first place also understands why Thesis 2 is the most powerful framework ever for WordPress. Sit ANY so-called WordPress developer down and let them have a look at what it does in regards to WordPress theming and I guarantee they will say it’s powerful. They may not like it… but it’s powerful.

      You, my friend, are not adding value. You are trolling. Before Thesis 2 was released, you were out and about telling people it would probably never come… as if you were “done” extracting value from Thesis 1 or something (yea right). After it’s release, you’ve done nothing but bash it because it doesn’t look like WordPress. Neither does Headway. Spread the love.

      Why do you continue to talk crap? You obviously saved money by not buying a Developer’s License with Thesis. Why not use that money to buy something better and erase Thesis from your memory? Oh wait, you’re too busy trolling other folks about their practices… while comparing them to how Thesis does it better. Stop it.

      Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one with something to say so I can’t take all of my frustrations out on you. And if you’ve been called dumb by Chris or Alex, that’s not cool. You’re smart. You’re a genius, actually.

      Now please go do what a genius does and create something better or show the world why something else is already better. Just make sure you’re firing on all cylinders… because that won’t be easy.

      Or how about you just move on?

      $your_input = NULL;

      • There’s been a lot of crap spoken of 2.0 from both sides of the fence.

        Just because somebody makes a couple of critical comments it doesn’t mean they’re trolling, anymore than the people who defend it are worshipping.

        Rather than feed the troll, why not put your energy into writing a post on how 2.0 works? Because all I’ve heard from Chris, yourself and the rest of his buddies is that it’s big shiny thing, but nobody knows how to make it shine. And that’s it’s biggest achilles heal right now.

        Whilst I understand why you step up and defend 2.0, you and Chris are mates after all and I’d do the same, it’s difficult to balance you’re view of 2.0 as being the ‘most powerful framework for WordPress’ when you have also said that you don’t recommend it to your clients unless they specifically request it.

        And when I see you tweet Chris to tell him how you’ve ‘just thrown up over this guys comment’ I can’t help but think that that’s a little beneath your otherwise very professional image.

        • Dave,

          I think you took the whole thing from the surface like many other people who didn’t -and still don’t- understand the concept of Thesis 2.0 release. Trust me, I hardly know Chris and Sean, and I believe it’s not about being buddies at any way, I am 100% sure this is a pure personal opinion from Sean (come on -maybe you don’t know- the guy developed his own framework, and practically I think it’s awesome, he don’t need to do any of that!).

          I -personally- almost hated Thesis 2.0 when it was first released, not because something bad in it though, but because I knew -as a developer- I will have to work my ass off really hard to get the most of it, upgrade my already made Skins, and continue supporting my clients.

          I knew I will stuck at some point, and I was upset because I love and I appreciate Thesis too much because it changed my whole life, and I depend on it! (I simply have a survival story to tel about Thesis).

          Now that 2.1 came to the light, things has been changed, and I can say easily, that this is what I was expecting, and I have got a fantastic framework to work with.

          If you haven’t heard about those who designed unique websites, even though some of them are not designers/developers, but they’ve got it right! Please check this post of mine over at FamousBloggers, it’s all pure unique Thesis 2.0 sites that are made by people who deserve respect.

        • More assumptions being made, unfortunately.

          “Just because somebody makes a couple of critical comments it doesn’t mean they’re trolling, anymore than the people who defend it are worshipping.”

          Having something critical to say about Thesis 2 does not bother me. It’s not my product. I didn’t help create it. I have never been paid a single dime from DIY Themes to produce anything. So I have no motives to speak out other than I seriously can’t stand the trolling.

          Likewise, as Hesham has already pointed out, you do realize that I’ve pretty much stopped using Thesis about built my own framework, right? How is that worshipping? It’s actually the same exact thing I told him to do. Think about that for a second.

          “Rather than feed the troll, why not put your energy into writing a post on how 2.0 works? Because all I’ve heard from Chris, yourself and the rest of his buddies is that it’s big shiny thing, but nobody knows how to make it shine.”

          False. I told people exactly what they needed to know a month after its release. Those who knew HTML and CSS understood. Many of those who didn’t know HTML and CSS changed their focus. A select few, like the guy I’m addressing above, continue to talk down on the framework but stayed completely out of discussions like mine. Why (I think I know the answer)? Also, my site was “shining” on Thesis 2 when that post was published.

          “Whilst I understand why you step up and defend 2.0, you and Chris are mates after all and I’d do the same, it’s difficult to balance you’re view of 2.0 as being the ‘most powerful framework for WordPress’ when you have also said that you don’t recommend it to your clients unless they specifically request it.”

          I don’t defend Thesis 2 because Chris and I are cool. I defend Thesis 2 because I can’t stand to see a community of people present subjectivity as objectivity. Subjectively, how do you really think I feel about Thesis 2? Think about it. Objectively, nothing compares. I don’t know how else to explain that. Not Volatyl… not Genesis… not Headway. You all have to understand it’s not even in the same league. All you see is the user interface and what it takes to build a website. Like Hesham said, that alone can be enough to absolutely hate it. However, a bad user experience or work flow does not take away from its power. Yes. It is the most powerful framework for WordPress. I can honestly say that because I’m thinking… not feeling. If you want to talk about feelings, I’d rather people use my framework (duh). To think my feelings drive me to stand behind Chris and Thesis is a reach. I’m grown.

          “And when I see you tweet Chris to tell him how you’ve ‘just thrown up over this guys comment’ I can’t help but think that that’s a little beneath your otherwise very professional image.”

          I can understand that and agree with you there. At the same time, though, because I can’t see who you really are, I have to ask if you really follow me anywhere. If so, haven’t I always done this? I speak what I believe to be real with the best of intentions… always. It hurts some feelings here and there. Maybe it makes people dislike me. But that’s part of the game.

          Zimbrul is a troll and my opinion is not random based on his above comments. We’re coming up on a year of this and I’ve been here watching it all. Have you?

          • Well, nothing like a bit of War and Peace Sunday afternoon reading 😉

            Look, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, whether that be negative or positive, even your mate Zimbrul. But sometimes the best reaction is no reaction, right? I know, I’m a fine one to talk!

            I think we can all agree that the past 10 months haven’t been DIYs finest, but hopefully things have plateaued and things will finally start to come together. If they don’t, I’m going to bite the bullet and subscribe to Zimbruls blog!

            And you know what? At the end of the day it’s just a bit of software. We’ll all wake up in the morning and the world will still be spinning on its axis.

            Hoorah 🙂

  2. I have played around with the upcoming version of Thesis 2.1 and can say that there are copious improvements to the framework. As a non-coder, I saw the power of the drag and drop interface in 2.0. Right away I could design something that was not anywhere else. Yes, it took some time to get to know the interface, but it was worth it.

    I love designing for CMS style websites, and at this moment, there are quite a few boxes to achieve virtually anything you want. One of my favs is a box that takes custom fields and allows you to drag and drop them (as many of them as you need) within a given template. Possibilities for code input are limitless, and it does work wonders for Schema code which WP keeps breaking anytime I view something in the “Visual” editor vs the “Text” editor. Wonders I tell ya. No bulky plugin, no custom PHP… just a simple box that makes Thesis do wonders wherever I want it to on a given page.

    Thesis 2.1 will have much more to offer and the Classic Responsive Skin is something I hoped would come out. Few more days… only few more days till 2.1 drops.

  3. I’m not ready to rate Thesis 2.1 yet, but I AM excited to try it out now that I’ve updated. I am one of those people who wanted to start blogging and had very little experience coding. I did my research and knew Thesis had an excellent reputation. In the end, I chose Thesis 2 over the Genesis Framework because my research led me to believe that Thesis would allow me the easiest way to DIY on the web design and NOT have my website look just like everyone else’s.

    I was super frustrated with Thesis 2 when I first started using it because it took me SO LONG to learn how to use it. I ended up watching numerous tutorials and at the end of the day, I still needed to learn some coding to manipulate some of the HTML and CSS. I guess I shouldn’t complain about that. It’s probably a good thing that I’ve been learning it all. It just wasn’t what I was expecting when Thesis was advertised as more of a drag and drop with no coding necessary type framework. I feel like that was somewhat misleading.

    I am excited to see that much of what was challenging for me getting started has been overhauled in Thesis 2.1. It actually DOES look more like what I was expecting when I first decided to choose Thesis over Genesis. I have a vision for how I want my website to function. I haven’t actually made the changes I want because I knew the coding would be a barrier for me and I was somewhat dreading taking on the task. I’m interested to see if Thesis 2.1 is going to make it easier for me to make some of the changes I’ve been dying to make!

    I will admit that I was thinking of abandoning Thesis 2 for a while. I didn’t because I was afraid I’d spend more money and be just as frustrated as I already was. As I’ve learned more about how it works, I really appreciate how brilliant the Thesis 2 framework really is especially for people who want to DIY and don’t have a lot of experience coding (and really don’t have the budget to hire a developer). I’m glad I stuck with it. I am excited to explore the possibilities with Thesis 2.1!

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