Thesis 2.4: The Machine Talks Back!

by Chris Pearson · 22 comments

Save Options UI feedback in Thesis 2.4Here at DIYthemes, our goal for 2017 is a simple one: We want to make Thesis smarter and better able to accommodate your website needs.

We already made great strides with Thesis 2.3 and its built-in WooCommerce compatibility, and we also sprinkled in some features and fixes that help Thesis work better wherever you want to use it (staging servers, WP-CLI environments, etc).

With Thesis 2.4, we are pleased to introduce a new saving/response feedback system on Thesis Admin pages and the Skin Editor. Whenever you hit that green Save button, Thesis will tell you exactly what’s happening.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg with Thesis 2.4. Check out the version 2.4 changelog, or else read on for a look at the most important updates in this new version.

Compatibility with Plugins that Serve Custom Templates!

Due to the way Thesis serves templates, getting it to play nicely with Plugins that serve custom templates has always been a bit tricky.

Not anymore.

Thesis 2.4 includes a modified template launch sequence that mimics the basic WordPress template system, and this allows it to accommodate Plugins that serve custom templates.

Boom.

Thesis Skin Data Manager Enhancements

Thesis 2.3 included a redesigned Skin Data Manager, but it was still a little buggy and rough around the edges. For version 2.4, I went through every detail of the Skin Data Manager with Pearson’s Famous Code Polish™.

The result is a more robust system that performs backups, restorations, imports, exports, and default resets with speed and precision. (And for those interested, I squashed the bug with certain data failing to Export/Import properly.)

And the best part? The Skin Data Manager now performs incredibly handy…

Automatic Skin Data Backups!

With Thesis 2.4, certain actions (like Skin updates) will trigger automatic data backups in case anything goes wrong.

Restoring default options will also trigger an automatic backup, and beyond that, you can choose to create an automatic backup when performing restorations or imports.

Thesis 2.4 features automatic backups in the Skin Editor

The general idea here is that no matter what you want to do with your Skin, Thesis is smart enough to provide you with an “anchor point” to return to if something goes haywire!

More Info at Your Fingertips

Skins, Boxes, and even Thesis itself now contain handy links to relevant documentation and changelogs.

Thesis Admin documentation link

Unsure how something works? Want to know what’s new? Detailed explanations and assistance are only a click away on most Thesis Admin screens.

Valet Skin Updates

In the past, certain Skin updates required you to manually reset data like your Skin CSS, Editor CSS, or even your CSS Variables.

What is this, the 1900s?

Thankfully, Thesis 2.4 frees you from this burden with completely automated Skin updates. Now your Skin CSS, Editor CSS, and CSS Variables will update along with your Skin, and then Thesis will generate a fresh CSS file based on your options settings.

Oh, and you’ll be able to restore an automatic Skin backup should anything go wrong with the update.

Are you picking up on the trend here? Thesis 2.4 has your back!

System Status: Last-modified time for Skin CSS file

A common issue we see in support is where someone makes changes to their Design options, successfully saves them, but then the changes don’t appear on the live site.

Whenever this happens, the culprit is some sort of caching…but in the days of “Managed WordPress Hosting,” a lot of this caching is deployed at the server level—not by a Plugin you control.

System Status: Skin CSS last-modified time

Thesis 2.4 includes new System Status data that is helpful for diagnosing—and ultimately solving—these caching problems. By checking the last-modified time of your Skin CSS file, you can see whether the current CSS file is as up-to-date as you expect it to be.

If it isn’t, you may need to use your host’s caching tools (most Managed WordPress Hosts provide these) to update the cache to pick up your CSS changes.

Automatic Embed in Text Boxes (YouTube, etc)

Drop an embedded link to something like a YouTube video in a Text Box, and Thesis will now automatically embed the requested video. The WordPress post editor works exactly the same way.

Attention Devs! Data Handling Improvements

Thesis 2.4 handles data in a more simplified and universal way than previous versions. These improvements not only squashed some lingering bugs, but they also created an opportunity to further simplify the Thesis development experience.

Which leads us to…

New Escaping/Formatting API Methods

Developers who create Skins or Boxes for Thesis often need to use both escaping and formatting functions to output data that gets input through Thesis Admin screens.

The Thesis API has always contained special functions to do this, but they were unnecessarily complicated because of the way older versions of Thesis handled user-input data.

Thesis 2.4 includes new escaping/formatting methods that developers should use in their Skins and Boxes—it’ll ensure you’ve got top-notch text everywhere!

More Random Wins in Thesis 2.4

There’s so much good stuff in Thesis 2.4, we can’t possibly shine the spotlight on everything. That said, here are a few more “little wins” I know you’ll appreciate:

  • Delete Skin functionality now works on the Manage Skins page
  • Enhanced WooCommerce support for product image galleries
  • Changed Thesis Admin menu timing to avoid potential Plugin conflicts
  • Removed annoying underlines from abbr tags (new browser “feature”)
  • Alphabetized Thesis Admin Boxes submenu
  • Excerpt Box “read more” text now pulls from post meta data (if it exists)
  • New thesis_skin_memory_limit filter allows for easy memory limit adjustments

What’s next? Skin and Box updates!

After updating to Thesis 2.4, you’ll begin to see a trickle of updates for official Skins and Boxes.

Because of the changes to data handling in this new version, we are refining Skin data and adding helpful features like full WooCommerce compatibility, improved CSS organization, and more advanced text and form input formatting.

We’ve already updated our Classic Responsive and Social Triggers Skins for Thesis 2.4, and you can grab those now via automatic updates.

Note: If you’re using any other Skin that doesn’t yet have a 2.4-compliant update, you may need to use the Fix CSS Box to tidy up your design after updating to Thesis 2.4.

You can also expect a steady stream of Box updates in the coming days. Certain Boxes, like AWeber and MailChimp, need special treatment to bring their UI behaviors into line with the new saving/feedback system in Thesis 2.4.

Fortunately, I’ve already updated these Boxes along with a few others, and you’ll receive these automatic updates in the Thesis Admin, too.

How you can get Thesis 2.4

If you’re already a Thesis user, version 2.4 is available now via automatic updates in your WordPress Dashboard.

If you want to install Thesis 2.4 on a new site, you can download it here (login required).

If you need to purchase a Thesis license, check out our pricing page and see which Thesis license is right for you!

Questions or comments about Thesis 2.4? Let us know in the section below!

About the Author: Chris Pearson, Thesis creator and DIYthemes founder, is obsessed with optimizing the web and making sure every last detail receives the attention it requires. You should follow him on Twitter here.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

SEO Republik

So true. We need themes that are compatible with Woocommerce. Because woocommerce plugin is amazing. Thank you

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Babu

Hello,

Could you elaborate on “Fix CSS Box” for non-Classical Skins? According to its page, “Fix CSS Box” is needed if there are “unwanted slashes (/)” in my CSS. What kind of slashes are those? The only scenario I can think of is CSS comments (/* */). So, if I remove all CSS comments, I should be fine?

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Chris Pearson

Babu, the Promo Skin, for example, includes a bunch of icons for various byline items, etc.

In the CSS, each of these icons is presented with “extended characters,” which might look something like this: \e800\e4240. These are intentional slashes necessary to render the icons properly.

Typical CSS also includes declarations like this: input[type="text"]. In versions prior to Thesis 2.4, Thesis would save this as: input[type=\"text\"]—these are unwanted slashes because they should not be present in the final CSS output.

If, after updating to Thesis 2.4, you feel that certain aspects of your design are not rendering properly, then you probably have some unwanted slashes appearing in your CSS file. You can use the Fix CSS Box to remove them, and you can always revert back in case anything goes wrong because the Fix CSS Box creates an automatic backup every time it runs.

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Babu

Chris, thank you for the explanation! It answers my question fully.

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Navan

Great Update.

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Andre Chaperon

Chris, nice one bud!

1.) When is Effectus going to get the 2.4 compatibility update?

2.) Are there any issues running Effectus v1.1.1 with Thesis 2.4?

Andre

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Chris Pearson

Hi Andre,

  1. Matthew is working on Effectus now, and we’re looking at releasing the update next week.
  2. The only issue is having some unwanted characters (slashes) in your CSS file that could affect the rendering of some elements. You can resolve problems like this with the Fix CSS Box, or you can just wait for the 2.4-compatible update.

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Vivek Parmar

Thesis 2.4 comes as a much-awaited update and when compared with other theme frameworks we don’t find many features. Automatic Skin backup is really needed one.

Thank you Chris for making Thesis theme and making life easier 🙂

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Chris Pearson

My pleasure! I hope you enjoy the new update and can benefit from some of the new features.

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Carl

Hi Chris,
Does this mean Thesis is compatible with Beaver Builder Plugin which is an awesome css editor I regularly use?
Thanks for your theme updates
Carl 🙂

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Chris Pearson

Carl, I didn’t test every Plugin out there, and I don’t know precisely how Beaver Builder works. That said, if the Plugin uses the template_include filter to serve its own templates, it’ll work with Thesis 2.4.

Test it out and see!

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Ron

Hi Chris,

Are there any manual fixes that need to be done to get up and running with 2.4?

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Chris Pearson

Hi Ron, this completely depends on the nature of your site and, more specifically, what data you have input on Thesis Admin pages.

If you have any questions at all or would like assistance with 2.4 after updating, please open a support request, and we will help you out!

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Poslaju

Just installed thesis on my new blog. Its awesome! I really like it. Very clean design and fast loading theme. Thanks for creating such an awesome wordpress theme all the time 🙂

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Collins Agbonghama

Awesome update Chris. Glad to see more update love given to thesis.

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Nitin

I am using thesis theme in one of my blogs. Seriously this theme is best in terms of readability.

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Gowtham V

Awesome update with Thesis 2.4 Chris.

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Bilal Ahmad

Thanks for another update Chris. Keep us feel proud on Thesis.

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janine

Hello,
Im wondering if anyeone would know if i update my wordpress theme to the recent ones, will i lose anything that i’ve created with beaver builder – a plugin to created pages?

Thank you

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Chris Pearson

Hi janine, all your changes will be preserved when you update Thesis. Thesis does not affect the data from Plugins or other parts of WordPress.

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Tamal

Hi Chris, happy to see the brand new updates to Thesis 2, looking forward to check them up.

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Tim

Stoked with the update. Thanks!

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