I purchased the Thesis theme about a 2 years ago with the promise that I would be able to get the new Thesis 2 when it was released. So I setup Thesis version 1.5 on my blog and patiently waited for the 2.0 release. Then I waited some more. Then after a year and a half with still no Thesis 2, me and much of the Thesis community began to think that maybe it would never arrive. Just when I lost hope, Thesis 2 finally arrived and became available for download.

That first day, I was so anxious to get Thesis 2 loaded on my blog and start using it. I read a few of the instructions for installing and using it, but like most techies, I figured I could just skip over them and figure it all out while using it. After about 20 minutes of messing around with Thesis 2 though, I was left confused. Confusion led to frustration. Frustration led to sadness. Where were the simple fields to fill in things like font size and color? Where was my “Big Ass Save Button”? Where was the ease of use I had become so accustomed to? They were gone, and what appeared before me was a complicated mess. I immediately began to think Thesis 2 sucked. With that thought, I logged out of my blog and carried on with my life, never intending to look back.

A couple of months later, I began to think that maybe I missed something on Thesis 2. So I gave it another try. I watched several of the tutorial videos before tackling it this time. But once again, I found myself confused about how to use the system. So I Googled other blogs to see whether or not others thought Thesis 2 sucked or if it was just me. I found quite a few bad reviews. Once again, I gave up, intending never to look back.

Another week went by, and I had some maintenance to do on my old site that was running Thesis 1.8. I went into the classic Thesis interface and made a few quick changes with ease. It was then that I realized I had been looking at Thesis 2 the wrong way. Thesis 1 and 2 are completely different products. Thesis 1 is the simple to use framework for novice coders. Thesis 2 is for the big boys, the advanced users who really want to do something serious with their site.

I originally felt that I shouldn’t have to take the time to learn how to use Thesis 2 when Thesis 1 was so easy to use. Maybe it’s also because I’m lazy. Like anything in life though, if you want to do something great, you have to learn how first. With that, I began to play around with Thesis 2 some more. I watched more tutorials and with little effort came up with a pretty decent looking website (the one you see here, built in under an hour). The ability to move blocks around my entire site and place items like comment boxes, bylines and post thumbnails right where I wanted them was worth the learning curve alone.

Thesis 2 Post Boxes
The ability to drag and drop areas of your page anywhere you like is the most powerful element of Thesis 2.

Now, after spending a weekend getting to know the system better, I’m starting to realize that you can do some very powerful stuff with Thesis 2. It doesn’t suck! The problem is the expectation that Thesis 1 users have for version 2. If you have the expectation that Thesis 2 will do everything Thesis 1 does only better, you’re only going to be disappointed. In reality, they are two totally different products. They should probably be called different names. Maybe Thesis 1 should be called Thesis Basic and Thesis 2 should be called Thesis Pro. Though, I do believe that Thesis 2 should have an editor that is similar to the one in version 1 as an option. Maybe that will come in time.

For now any Thesis user should be satisfied with either version. It just depends on how far you want to take your site. Purchasing the Thesis framework will still provide you with both options. Both are great for any WordPress Website.

Update: Thesis 2.1 has been released! This new version addresses many problems users experienced with version 2.0. There is even a new “Classic Responsive” theme that allows you to modify the design similar to the way you can with version 1.0. DIY Themes have also released a ton of documentation to go along with version 2.1 to help you get acclimated to the way the system works.

Published by Mitch Bartlett

I've been doing things on the Internet since 1994. Former dot-com era IT guy. Currently I provide technical solutions to people for fun and test software for a growing software company.

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  1. Hey Mitch,

    I hear you man. You’re dead on. The problem is that the marketing of this albatross called 2.0 made it sound like using it was easier than running a hot knife through melted butter.

    I simply don’t have time to become the Jedi Knight of coding. I have a business to bootstrap in my free time. For this reason, Thesis 2 sucks harder than a famished babe on Jessica Simpson’s oversized breast. It’s useless to 99% of the bloggers out there. I hope Pearson wakes up to that and does it quick.

  2. I have a good knowledge of HTML and CSS, nevertheless I don’t get Thesis 2.

    I used the Thesis 1.8 theme because it made life easy. That’s what themes are for.

    If I want to get down and dirty with scripting and spend DAYS learning to use a commercial theme why should I bother? I can take a basic free WordPress theme, create a child theme and tweak it to my heart’s content whilst keeping my hard-earned dollars in my pocket.

    I think your initial thoughts were correct. Thesis 2 sucks.


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