Thesis 2.0

Why It’s Hard to Understand Thesis 2.0

Design is very important in almost everything in our life. Look around you, and inside of you. You will see that design has been implemented in Everything! Today, people tend to understand and learn more about design aspects as they realize how important design is to our lives.

So, now that we know that design is important, we can’t deny that design is hard, it’s not that easy to come up with a design, especially if you are designing for the future.

Some people are gifted though, they -simply- can see things that others just can’t see or even imagine, this is exactly what happened with Thesis 2.0, a lot of people are against it, a few people like it and see its potential.

My first impression about Thesis 2.0

When I first had a chance to test Thesis 2.0, I quickly realized its power, and I understood why it took 2 years between planning and development. I was actually impressed!

My impression didn’t came out of the space though!

I say this because I had some coding and designing battle. I was partnering with Andy Bailey -the creator of CommentLuv plugin– in a new project, our goal was to develop a WordPress plugin that mainly uses a drag and drop UI to create landing and squeeze pages in a way that no has has ever seen before.

Unfortunately, we spent more than 6 months of development with no luck. Andy had to re-code the whole thing from scratch more than once, and we weren’t satisfied about the way it works. We wanted to make something really unique and easy to use, something out of this World, but it just didn’t happen yet.

So, I see things from this point of view, and I can imagine and appreciate time and effort required in product development process.

What’s really wrong with Thesis 2.0?

I will put together a quick answer to this question based on my personal opinion, so please don’t take it personal! (if you have another opinion, shoot it!)

The short answer is : Nothing is wrong with Thesis 2.0


The problem is not in Thesis 2.0 itself, the real problem -as I see it- is in people’s minds, I think most of them got freaked out by a Technology shock!

Don’t get me wrong! Most of us would enjoy an easy to play game, but mostly you will hate a game that is hard to play!

Why Thesis 2.0 is hard to play with?

Despite the fact that Thesis 2.0 provide you with a lot of awesome and easy to use tools, you will hate the whole framework if it messes with your creativity.

This is what happen when you get challenged by an empty, white, or a blank page!

Simply, because Thesis 2.0 touches your creativity!

And, this is why you are mad with it, and you hate it.

Other examples of brilliant tools that most people don’t get!

A lot of developers has been working so hard recently to bring you awesome tools that you can depend on while designing your sites, or your clients. I’ve seen really interesting stuff, and I love the fact that the way we design and develop for the web will get several serious changes in the coming years.

Here is a few examples to look at:

Headway 2.0

I remember the same exact thing happen when Headway 3.0 was first released, a lot of people got mad, while I think it’s a fantastic theme framework.

All this was because of the blank page, no one expected or wanted a blank page.

The Product Skin

Another example is my Product Skin for Thesis that make use of WordPress widgets to simply create an awesome landing page that will help you to sell almost anything! I’ve made all styles for the user, so they don’t have to code or style anything.

Some people just love it and figure it out right away, they were able to create amazing pages. However, some others hate it to death, probably because it gives them a blank page to start with, and … it touches their creativity!

Pages and Layout Builders, and Themes

I can talk about this till tomorrow, so I will just give you a few examples of builders (these are my aff links):


What ZERO coding means?

It means that you don’t need to code! It’s simple to understand… Right?

But, why most of themes’ authors promote their themes as “zero code required” while it actually takes a lot of work and “code” to build a website using these tools?!

Here is my answer:

When a theme is advertised as “No coding required”, then believe it or not, this is true and 100% correct statement!

All what you need to do is setting up the theme, check a few settings, and you’ve got a running and ready to go site… Boom!

But, hold on a second! Why people complains?!

You see, everybody wants to have a unique and standing out design, plus specific functionality (for example: new widget areas, extra menus… etc.) People always ask for more, try to find out what’s missing, focus on cons, and ask for the impossible!

At this point, people often forgot the whole point of the new tools in their hands, they forgot that no coding is required to build a site (unless someone wants special and specific functions, then you must code it, this is something else), Again.. You don’t have to code unless you want too. This is exactly what zero coding means, and that’s how all these products has been advertised by its authors though.

So, if you don’t get it, this is your own problem, and you have to solve it between You and yourself.

You can blog, you can build websites, you can design, but maybe you can’t innovate!

Why People Attack Thesis 2.0?

In many places, Thesis 2.0 has been attacked.

I personally got a few attacks by some Thesis Theme users plus some other non-users who don’t agree with my opinion about Thesis 2.0, and I just want to say that it’s not a problem if you don’t agree with me. But, being negative all the way down won’t solve any issue, you are just complicating things for yourself, so take it easy!

We all need to make Thesis Theme better framework, and this is what the DIYThemes staff are after. (I say that because I got the chance to work closely with the team being part of Thesis 2.0 testing group, and I am really enjoying it, it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had).

Trust me on this, we need to work together to make things better, so why not join the party?!

Giving a good feedback always makes a difference. I remember that I didn’t design FamousBloggers.net by myself, but it was a result of great feedback from many awesome people helped in designing the blog.

Believe me, we are so lucky to have these new design tools, and we must be thankful for those developers who do the hard part of the work for us and appreciate it. Try to help them out, support their ideas, and work together on making our business better.

Why it’s Hard to understand Thesis?

It’s now handed to you!

You see, it’s not enough to just say “I do’t like it”, at least explain your point of view!

Tell us…

What’s the hardest part in Thesis 2.0? Why?

And, in your opinion how we can improve it?

Image : © vladgrin – Fotolia.com

I create websites with WordPress, and I develop Thesis Skins. I am a social network lover. I am also the night creature who works hard to keep this project up. Owner and founder of the Famous Blog.


Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox, plus download our FREE 15 minutes later marketing guide.

We respect your privacy!
{ 32 comments… add one }
  • j March 18, 2013, 9:12 am

    I hate thesis 2… i’ve never seen anyone take something so good and make it so bad…. it sucks….!

  • Pam February 19, 2013, 8:33 pm

    I HATE thesis 2. I have been building sites for 15 years. It does not reflect changes. it does makes something as bone head simple as changing a font size impossible. I used thesis 1 just fine.

  • elle February 19, 2013, 12:33 am

    Great post! I like to think I’m pretty savvy for a self-taught food/healthy lifestyle blogger when it comes to Thesis theme and html/css tweaking – which has me SHOCKED that I have zero idea how to even get my column width right in Thesis 2. I expected Thesis 2 to be more of a visual editor designed like Firebug. Margins vs. padding have always gotten me screwed up but now that we’re left to add up every pixel in our container ourselves and get the measurements just right – it’s overwhelming. Maybe I missed it but is there a more basic tutorial (starting with page composition) than the one put out by Thesis? This is definitely not a theme for the average blogger anymore – which makes me sad because Thesis 1. was great for beginners and was something I grew into. Do you know if they’re planning to phase out Thesis 1. at any point in the future?

  • akhilendra
    February 15, 2013, 5:04 am

    Hi Hesham, i am using blogskin on the previous version of thesis. Have you upgraded blogskin? I haven’t upgraded so far to thesis 2.0 because i wasn’t sure if it would be compatible with blogskin. Please confirm.

    • Hesham Zebida February 15, 2013, 3:16 pm

      Hi Akhilendra,

      First of all, I would like to correct “upgrade” to “switch”!

      Yes, I’ve made BlogSkin 2 which is developed for Thesis 2, but it’s not always a good idea to switch. My advice is to stick with what you have for now.

      One more important thing, I don’t recommend you switch before you actually test and get familiar with Thesis 2, then make a decision.

  • Samuel Chan January 22, 2013, 10:30 pm

    Hi Hesham,

    Thanks for the article! Would you be able to do a follow-up post to this one, now that thesis has gotten past the initial rush stage and released a few stability improvements and bug fixes to its framework?

    • Hesham Zebida January 22, 2013, 10:43 pm

      Sure thing, I am working on some stuff and getting ready to write.

  • Evan Mugford January 14, 2013, 6:40 pm

    I really don’t understand what thesis has to offer? If you say it to a “pro thesis” person, they will say you need to be a developer to understand….well I am a developer. I work for very large companies and have got many to use wordpress. BUT for the life of me I don’t understand , as a developer, why would I want to use thesis, and learn all the custom hooks and the messy control panel, instead of just starting with a blank theme, and coding what I want. Wordpress has a great template system, great docs, and everything you can do with a hook you can do in wordpress’s theme/function files, in less time without the need to learn the hooks thesis uses. I really don’t see a reason for any of these “frameworks” really. I code around 3-4 sites a week, all from scratch , many with custom plugins, all with custom from scratch ( blank) themes, I just don’t get the need for thesis? I gave the benifit of the doubt and took a look at a bunch of the “hooks”…before the content….why not at the top of the page file? before the widgets…once again, why not the top of the sidebar….the cool menu tool…doesn’t wordpress have this built in? yes , yes it does…so why learn all this bs , when its easier without. Ive built massive wordpress sites, commercial plugins ( mowpop for example – very simalar to the drag and drop you wanted to create, that you mentioned in your article ) everyday blogs, large ecommerce wordpress sites, etc. And have never had an issue using my functions file, and editing the theme I created for the client. And know exactly where everything is, because I put it there.

    anyone ? please explain to me what thesis offers that stock wordpress and a blank theme doesn’t offer?

  • lawmacs
    October 26, 2012, 5:28 pm

    Nice write Hesham i too believe that there are issue with Thesis 2.0 first of all the anticipated update that we waited two years for did not comes out with a manual and secondly you mentioned creativity yes all good and well but Thesis 2.0 lacks what every good design does and that is been “User Friendly” and that is why it fails for any products to be great it has to be user freindly the drag and drop design is complicated however the idea behind the product is great but it needs lots of work to take it to the level it intent to be. I strongly believe that Chris sets out to get rid of all the developers of skins for the product (that is just my Opinion) With all that said Chris needs to get a good users manual out before its too late.
    lawmacs recently posted..Easy Ways to Make Your Website More InteractiveMy Profile

  • Robert
    October 26, 2012, 4:37 am

    Speaking from a non-developer perspective, I don’t like Thesis 2.0 as much as the previous version. There are lots of works to do and learn. Maybe I have stayed in my safe zone too long to try new things, but again, I found it difficult to use Thesis 2.0. My favorite framework is still Genesis since it is more easy to use.
    Robert recently posted..34 Trending WordPress Photography Themes For PhotographersMy Profile

  • zimbrul
    October 25, 2012, 9:31 am

    As Thesis 2.0 is a theme for developers I’ll adopt Ileane’s approach to the theme and carry on. Yeah, I ve got a Thesis licence but I might use in in the future. For the moment I cannot get my head around Thesis 2.0. Could be because my reduced creativity :lol

    • Hesham Zebida October 26, 2012, 5:30 pm

      How is it going after Thesis 2.0.1 ?

      • Zimbrul
        November 13, 2012, 4:14 pm

        Today I had a great revelation: “it’s not me, it’s you”! Yeah, i’m not stupid nor I lack imagination but Thesis 2.0 does not make sense for an average WordPress user.
        Today I’ve downloaded the new skin from Alex@Kolakube calked MD 3 and I thought that will make Thesis look like WordPress. No man, it didn’t.
        If Thesis 2.0 make it easier for you to develop themes in WordPres, fair enough but it’s no good for me as it does things very difficult. Simple things in WorPress become difficult in Thesis 2.0. If you want a no code touch type of framework go to Catalyst, go to Headeay, even WooThemes or Thesis 1.8…

  • Darren October 24, 2012, 3:14 pm

    I just realized today that there was a new thesis. At first I thought it looked quite complicated but now I’m excited about the different things I am going to be able to do with my blog. Still working on getting it to look how it use to.

    • Hesham Zebida October 24, 2012, 4:37 pm

      Glad you liked the new update, I hope with this update things will make make more sense.

  • Sachin October 24, 2012, 10:12 am

    Hi Hesham,

    Just landed on one more post from you through Google, though I do read most of your posts. I am not a coder nor I have knowledge of html or php. I found it extremely difficult to play with thesis 2.0 and as you said I started to hate it. (I still use thesis 1.8.5 to my micro niche blogs) Most of the blogger that best in coding says it is awesome. I am waiting for someone who will write a good and helpful article to start with thesis 2.0. Shall I expect one from you? or just tell us some resources to learn from. Thanks in advance!

  • Daniel October 24, 2012, 7:39 am

    Good write up, but I think the problem is simple expectations in contrast to what was delivered. Personally I don’t think Thesis is going to recover easily from this one, given the current competition. Unless they have something that really stands out from competing themes that has really strong appeal to segment of the market. For example Headway had a ruff ride with its release of 3.0, but the visual editor is a 1 of a kind approach. No other framework allows you to draw layouts in the same way.

    Right now Thesis’s strongest asset is their name, history & following. That will only get them so far. The theme & framework landscape is not the same compared to when Thesis first came out. Back then it was a trail blazer. The competition was weak back then & there where low if no expectations at all, that is not the case now. People simply didn’t have as many options.

    Given all the options people have today, most users when they find a theme or framework they like enough to invest serious time in, they are not going to switch easily unless given REALLY good justification to do so. This is a big problem for Thesis 2 and is related to what I wrote above. If your going to force people to do things in a a “new” way you better bring some SERIOUS innovation to justify new learning.

    As it stands, everything that can be done (from what most of us know thus far) in Thesis 2, can be done in other themes & frameworks. In many cases can also be done faster and easier. Will see if this changes, but I don’t think it will.

  • Aernout
    October 24, 2012, 6:26 am

    “a lot of people are against it, a few people like it and see its potential”

    I, funnily enough, believe I belong in both groups. I am wholly in favour of the new Thesis 2.0. I think it offers fantastic ways of tweaking and designing that (for me) were unheard of before. I have been able to do stuff to my (test) sites I would not have been able to do before, as I am not a coder, but a designer (I am a photographer – see my link). The WP Codex is like reading a dictionary for me: horrible area. Thesis 2 allows me to do what I actually can’t do, which is great.

    I bought HeadWay today, simply to see what “drag-and-drop” is like on their framework, and wow: amazingly simple to use…! No idea if it could do what I’d want it to do, but I fear not. The boxes used in Thesis 2 are ingenious.

    As far as we (you and I) visit the same forum, it’s not that people are “against” it – apart from a very few people, probably. Most frustration there as well as critique in the more nuanced reviews on the web comes from the fact that there is zero documentation, that many are confronted with settings and bugs that prevent it from working as intended, that promised updates, skins and boxes are not forthcoming and that – on the dates on which those would be forthcoming – nothing comes out and yet again the deadline gets extended through a twitter blurb to something vague like “end of this week”.

    It is that quite unprofessional approach which unnerves customers. Not the white page, where people “fear” their own creativity, as you put it.

    You call on us to be positive, and assist and advise.
    No problem. I’ve been in media for 25 years.
    Let me know where I can be of help.
    Because I too appreciate Thesis 2 for its incredible potential.
    Aernout recently posted..Bling & BluesMy Profile

    • Hesham Zebida October 26, 2012, 5:40 pm

      Aernout, thanks a lot for sharing your opinion with us, really thoughtful.

      I agree that the biggest mistake was releasing the new framework with no documentation. I assume they are working under huge pressure, and you may know that documenting a software is actually a continues process that never ends. So, documenting this framework is not an easy job, especially at this point (when you expect that some stuff will be changed during the use test).

      I personally never been able to document any of my Skins because I was doing a lot of changes and additions, it didn’t make sense to me that time, creating docs and edit/update them every week or two. Not proud of that though.

      P.S. There is a couple of sticky posts in the DIYThemes forum, there you can place suggestions for documentation, and you can of course let them know about bugs if you found any, I am sure that you will get good respond.

      Thanks again, I really appreciate your comment.

  • Ileane
    October 24, 2012, 6:08 am

    Hi Hesham,

    I’m just being patient and seeing what happens with your new Blogskin when it’s launched.
    I think bloggers get frustrated because they had some expectations because of all the rumors before the updated Thesis was ready.
    To tell you the truth, I’m happy with the Thesis Awesome Blogskin I have now so I can’t get frustrated or excited about the update.
    Thanks for all the behind the scenes info. Chat soon!
    Ileane recently posted..Bloggers.com a Network all Bloggers Should JoinMy Profile

  • Servando Silva
    October 23, 2012, 2:20 pm

    So, basically it’s a Framework, not a Theme. I do understand that and I’m a little tech savvy, but if you’re not, maybe it’s not the right thing for you.
    I still use the Genesis Framework in most of my sites.

  • Sanjib Saha
    October 23, 2012, 12:30 pm

    Hi,The post is quite informative. I differ in opinion at certain points though. Designs are meant to be productive and make the task easy. Complicated designs cannot be considered as a milestone in invention for they are hard to put into implications. And things that mess with creativity are sure to be disliked. But over all Thesis 2.0 needs to be understood for it is an outcome of great brains and hard work.

    • Hesham Zebida October 23, 2012, 7:35 pm

      When I said “Thesis is messing with creativity”, I meant here that Thesis is reaching sensitive areas which lazy people don’t want to go!

      All this confusion will end soon, wait till some cool Skins, Boxes and Packages comes out, I am expecting people to get crazy with Thesis 2.0!

  • zimbrul
    October 23, 2012, 8:48 am

    Why Thesis 2.0 is difficult to understand? The answer is simple: because you are expecting to find a WordPress theme and you find something else. Thesis 2.0 does look like more like MODx or Typo3 rather than WordPress. If I wanted to do sites in these two CMS then I won’t be here commenting on your article. If I want to learn another CMS I simply go and learn another CMS.
    On the other hand, if I want a drag and drop WP plugin or theme I know where to go to find something like that. Simple. I can chose Headway 3.x or I can choose Catalyst Themes (not iBuilder, those themes look ugly).
    Now, tell me WHY should I work with Thesis 2.0 the WordPress theme that does not look like WordPress?

    • Hesham Zebida October 23, 2012, 7:30 pm

      Bison, I understand your point of view, and I see that Thesis admin page is kind of strange, anyways it was the same since the beginning, it never melt with WP UI on the first place since Thesis 1.x, Thesis has and force its own personality!

      It’s great thing to have several products in the market that plays well with every taste and skill level, so after all we are not limited to one framework. The weird thing though is I am still excited about Thesis, and I am actually able to produce cool stuff, so I can’t go with another framework, I don’t have good reason!

      P.S. I like how Catalyst Theme work this out, and also the new stuff they made for Genesis.

      • Zimbrul
        October 24, 2012, 2:59 am

        I did forget to mention: I did not have any problem understanding and creating sites with Thesis 1.8 …

      • Alice October 24, 2012, 6:42 pm

        The thing is that Thesis, despite all of its desire to differentiate itself, is still a Wordpress theme.

        Thesis is OK if you want to be part of the community forever and ever and live happily ever after in the Thesis bubble. However, I think every developer should (at some point) stretch their wings and see the broader world. Thesis 2.0 tries very hard to bring real options to users who can’t code and still want to do their own designs. It does a good job, and I think it will improve as more updates are added. However, as a developer who is comfortable with coding, I don’t feel comfortable using 2.0–not because I can’t, but because it is a step backwards in terms of usability and future proofing my sites.

    • Puneet Sahalot
      October 25, 2012, 4:31 am

      There are certain things that we need to learn for a better tomorrow. I can understand the frustration that it might cause. Even I had a real tough time to get started with it. But, after that I found out how powerful it is.
      I haven’t used any other drag and drop themes / frameworks so I am not sure if they give this much amount of flexibility and control over the code at the same time or not.
      Best example could be, converting an XHTM / CSS website to WP site. With Thesis 2.0 I can create exactly same XHTML structure and use the CSS from my old website with new WP site.
      That will definitely save me an incredible amount of time and efforts!
      Puneet Sahalot recently posted..Thesis Eleven40 : A responsive Thesis 2.0 skinMy Profile

  • Tommy Griffith
    October 23, 2012, 12:40 am

    Totally agree. I tried installing Thesis 2.0 temporarily, and while I read widely about how great it is, it was extremely difficult to understand. Migrating to Thesis from WordPress was way too difficult, and I reverted back 🙂

  • mitz
    October 22, 2012, 11:02 pm

    I am using Thesis 2.0 right now and thanks to your free skin, I have found my way with a few things… But now I am stumped.. I do think most of it is damn easy but then the road blocks come..

    One problem I did face… I wasn’t happy that Thesis 2.0 cleared out the URLs of my post images. Not sure if this happened to anyone else though..

    I really shouldn’t be playing as it wastes time for me, but I love gadgets, and thesis 2.0 is a big one!
    mitz recently posted..Google Plus vs Facebook For Business – Who Wins?My Profile

    • Hesham Zebida October 23, 2012, 6:25 pm

      Mitz, I see what you mean, and thanks for sharing this, I am working on the new BlogSkin 2, but didn’t came across that images issue before reading your comment, I didn’t reply to you yesterday because I decided to work on it first.

      I know that Thesis 2.0 do not delete the old meta data, so images are still in your database, and there is more than one way to bring those images back.

      Good news though, I made a new Box that you and any other Thesis user can use when upgrade from Thesis 1.x to x.2, with this Box you can display images based on Thesis 1.x post image.

      This is something I will need in the future as well, FamousBloggers.net has 1300+ published posts, so it won’t be cool to leave images behind, so thanks for the good feedback.

      I will send you a copy of the Box to try it out.

    • Puneet Sahalot
      October 25, 2012, 4:34 am

      I think the bug for image captions and Post Image URLs is fixed in the latest 2.0.1 upgrade.
      Once you get used to the interface you will realize that it’s super easy to take control of your site’s design in a few clicks. You don’t need to be a CSS wizard or any expert. 🙂
      Puneet Sahalot recently posted..Thesis Eleven40 : A responsive Thesis 2.0 skinMy Profile

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 3 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)