What’s New in Thesis 1.8.5, and What’s the Deal with Thesis 2?

by Chris Pearson · 90 comments

It’s that time again, folks. Last week, WordPress dropped version 3.4, and today, we’re releasing Thesis 1.8.5 to keep you on the cutting edge.

Of course, we’ve also been extremely busy with Thesis 2, and at the end of this post, I’ll share an update on our progress. But first, let’s take a look at Thesis 1.8.5.

Our team has been working hard to ensure Thesis has the best WordPress Multisite integration in the business, and many of the changes in 1.8.5 improve on an already-awesome multisite experience. Here’s what’s new on that front:

  • Fixed theme preview in WordPress 3.4 for normal and multisite installations
  • Improved multisite post thumbnail handling on a wider variety of server setups
  • Resolved layout.css error message in multisite that appeared (wrongly) due to certain user permissions

Next, we’ve made three small modifications that will help you keep search engines happy while providing some additional layout flexibility:

  • Updated the author microformat in post bylines so it passes the Google Rich Snippet Tool without any warnings
  • Basic HTML tags are now allowed inside widget titles, so you have more presentational flexibility in those areas
  • In previous versions, if you added a nav menu via a widget, it would display horizontally like the default nav menu. Now, menus added via widgets will display just like a normal vertical list of links, so you won’t have to waste time undoing undesirable styles.

Also, WordPress improved image captioning in version 3.4, and this affected the way Thesis displayed captions. In previous versions, we used a shortcode hack to get them to display properly, but thanks to WordPress 3.4, we no longer need that shortcode.

By upgrading to Thesis 1.8.5, you’ll be able to ensure that your image captions will display just as they always have.

An Update on Thesis 2…

There are a zillion reasons why I’m excited about Thesis 2, but the biggest reason by far has nothing to do with Thesis 2 itself.

Instead, I’m excited about what Thesis 2 is going to allow us to do for you.

Since we released version 1.7, we’ve averaged one update every four months or so, and most of those updates have been minor (by our standards).

However, once Thesis 2 is out, we’re going to increase this pace by offering new skins and other features that you can add to Thesis any time you like.

With all these new parts available, Thesis will turn into a “living” piece of software that you can enhance regularly rather than something you can only update on an infrequent basis.

Best of all, we’ll be releasing skins and add-ons all the time, so there will always be something new from us that you’ll be able to check out and sink your teeth into. It’s gonna be a heck of a ride.

Now, with that out of the way, I’ll answer the only question that matters right now: When can you get your hands on Thesis 2?

We’ve got about 120 hours of development and testing left before the alpha (only available to DIYthemes staffers) will be ready. Based on experience, I think we’ll probably have another 60 hours of development on top of that plus a couple of weeks out in the wild before the beta is ready for release.

With that information in mind, I think Thesis 2 will probably make its world debut in August.

And it will be one hell of a debut 😀

If you’re a DIYthemes customer, you can download Thesis 1.8.5 here. If you’re not yet a customer, check out our Thesis pricing plans.

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. Follow DIYthemes on Twitter for the latest tips and info on building effective websites.

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Wow – you guys & girls certainly are rocking over there in Thesis HQ – probably time for another beer & BBQ eh?

Chris Pearson

Ian, that’s a great idea. We hosted a BBQ during SXSW, but I was disappointed at the freeloader-to-Thesis fan turnout ratio.

After Thesis 2 drops, we’ll probably try to host a private event for Thesis fans in Austin who want to get their hands on the new stuff and connect with other users.

We’ve talked about an event in New York City, too, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Shelley Kauffmann

Woo, we’re about ready for another Austin trip, that would be a great excuse to hop in the ‘Stang!! 😀


One, two, three four, I declare a Mustang war! Um, that’s if I can ever find the NOS parts I need so that mine, uh, you know, will start… and stuff. 😉

Danny Cruz

I have a ‘Stang. 🙂 Maybe we should do a Mustang / Thesis car show-drive-meetup. Haha.


I have an old mustang, she’s barely on her last breath. Needs a new transmission but I would love a road trip (if it makes it). All I need to do is make it one way 🙂

John Reeves

Funny, I just checked my e-mail. Two new messages.
1.) Dyithemes, 1.8.5 release
2.) Special deals, from place where I get my Mustang parts
Weird huh?


My vote is for the NYC bbq!

Neil Andrew DuPaul

I second this notion.


My vote is Kansas City – the BBQ capitol of the world.

Adam Baird

Can’t wait for 2.0!

Puneet Sahalot

Loved the two new features, styling of menu in widget areas and HTML tags in widget titles. 🙂

Chris Pearson

Excellent! It always feels good when people appreciate small tweaks like that.


cannot wait for the thesis 2.. yeahh.. august right?

Chris Pearson

Folks, here are 5 other minor changes in Thesis 1.8.5 (login required) that didn’t make this announcement post.

John Sexton

Thanks for the update, Chris!

Nice to see an update and I’m looking forward to 2.0 for sure.

Let me know if you need beta testers.

All the best,


Hi Chris, great to get an update.

As a new Thesis user, I’m loving learning what I can do with my blog! Looking forward to future updates and features 🙂

The support forum is fantastic and there are a few people in particular that have helped me immensely.


Tom Nunamaker

Thanks for the update Chris!


We’re extremely excited about the prospects of Thesis 2.0!

One questions. We’re currently having a custom skin designed for our current Thesis build. Will existing skins work seamlessly with Thesis 2.0?



Chris Pearson

Austin, Thesis 2 is about 95% different from Thesis 1, so I don’t think we’ll be able to guarantee perfectly seamless transitions for existing skins.

Despite this, I have been able to identify all the areas where Thesis 2’s Classic skin is different from the current Thesis. With this information, we’ll be able to craft tutorials that will help people make the transition.

In addition, our entire staff will be hanging out in the support forums helping people with transitions in the weeks after Thesis 2 is released.

So, I guess this was really just a long-winded way of saying, “No, the transition won’t be 100% seamless, but we’re going to work with you to make sure you get the result you want.”

Haroun Kola

Looking forward to 2.0
It sounds so exciting! Especially the skins

DJ Rony

Well. it’s been long I am waiting for the thesis 2.0 . I hope the upgrade from the previous version will be easy. And do you have any plan to upgrading theme from the admin panel?

Chris Pearson

DJ Rony, we are working on an awesome updater that will allow you to update all the new parts of Thesis (skins, add-ons, etc) with the push of a single button in the admin panel.


Great news. Glad to hear about the improvements and the upcoming release of 2.0. I think 2.0 has been rumored for well over a year at least, maybe more.

One thing I would like to see is seamless transition for existing Thesis sites to the 2.0 version. I remember when WordPress introduced new class/ID’s on the main nav menus. Had to go visit every site I had worked on and “touch” things to make it work. Hopefully this will not be the case with Thesis 2.0.

Here’s to looking forward!

Chris Pearson

Berchman, I absolutely understand your concerns, and that’s an area where we’ll be putting in a ton of work during the alpha and beta periods.

For an honest assessment of where things stand right now, see my reply to Austin above.

If my memory is correct, you were one of the first people to really run with the idea of Thesis and custom templates.

With that in mind, I think you’re really going to love the Thesis 2 template editor, as it will allow you to create custom pages much more quickly and in a much more organized manner than ever before.

Chris Aitken

Hi Chris — thanks for the update. I’m one of the folks that periodically “pings” you via Twitter for updates; very much looking forward to seeing what y’all have in store for us with 2.0. Hope to be one of your beta testers …

Cheers, Chris

Sergio Felix

Sounds like Thesis 2 is going to raise some huge buzz when it finally makes it to the market.

And awesome updates on Thesis 1.8.5, I was just looking for the Google Rich Snippet so this is super timely.



This is good news, indeed.

Thanks for the update!



Most of us Thesis fans who’ve been customers since 2008 have died holding our breath for 2.0.


Steve & Sally Wharton

Seattle Event in Sept? It’s our best summer month (secret local stuff and all that)


Wow, this sounds very exciting and cool. Looking forward to getting my hands on Thesis 2. And I guess I better implement 1.8.5 now so my images stay healthy and well.

Clara Mathews

I can’t wait to see what I can do with Thesis 2.0!

Val Heisey

Thanks for the update – glad we can add html to widget titles – that will take care of an area that I had hoped would be changed. Looking forward to 2.0.

Keep them coming!


Will it work on PHP 5.4? Right now WordPress seems to run fine, but Thesis breaks.

Chris Pearson

John, I didn’t mention it in this post, but with Thesis 1.8.5, we went through and fixed all the warnings that were occurring in PHP 5.4.


For me, there is nothing comparable to Thesis out in the market place right now. Thank you Chris for the Update and another big thanks to your team for working that hard and quickly on the New 1.8.5 but especially for working super hard on Thesis 2.0 to bring us the best they can.

You Rock and freaking Roll


Chris Pearson

Thanks, Philippe!

Les Dossey


Thesis theme 10
Support Team 10
Added value 10
Coolness 10
Integrity 10

What can I say….10 across the boards

Only the Best,

Les Dossey
The Man’s Man Coach

Dave C

Um – great news but just wondering……….I know my way around thesis but going in and setting folder permissions and renaming folders is something that is stiil scary, I tried once and failed 🙁 so I havent updated from 1.8 even. Do you reckon that with 2 you may have some kind of silver bullet that would allow us to update automatically? I assume there are a few more like me out there?


Chris comes-up with some pretty wild bullets sometimes, so I guess this can’t be called a definitive answer — but based on my experience, from forever ago through today, it’s extremely difficult to force a server (your web host provider) to assign “this” permission to this folder, “this” permission to that file, etc — with a simple FTP or CPanel upload of a folder/file set.

I cheat on the renaming part by extracting Thesis locally — on the desktop of your computer — and changing the names there. So that might help with part of your concerns in upgrading. The thing to watch for (and the reason for the renaming in the first place) is to be sure you don’t overwrite or lose your existing “live” site’s /custom folder or its contents by going that route.

Campbell McArthur

What is scary about renaming a folder? Now PHP that’s pretty intimidating when starting out but a folder rename?

Chris Pearson

Dave C, Thesis 2 is going to ship with automatic updates, and to be honest, I think we’re gonna have the smartest upgrader in the business. You’ll dig it.


Wicked news and it couldn’t have come at a better time, I was actually torn between a couple of different product offerings for a client who needs some serious upgrades, Now I know the right product for the job cant wait till August.

Alex Blades

Finally a time table when Thesis 2 will be released. The anticipation for thesis 2 is so thick, you can’t cut it with a knife, you need a chain saw. Sounds like thesis will be the only theme a marketer will ever need, can’t wait to get my hands on it 😉

Patrick Willmott

I have just purchased this theme and you drop a update, just like that? Awesome! Plus Thesis 2 soon…can it get any better?? The functionality of Thesis at first glimse is great, I’m sure there’s more great suprises I haven’t even come across…Does anyone know of any secret tweaks that work wonders?

Usman Latif

So we finally have an estimated launch date. Great to hear it. Looking forward to it. And the fact that it will have skins and add-on adds to the excitement. Hope it’ll easy to add/remove and update things (skins & add-ons) in Thesis like we can install/remove plugins from Wordpress.

David Bruce

Oooooh. I can’t wait. This is super good and it fits with my master plan of a revamp. thanks all!


Thesis is already a beast of a theme with what it offers…it will only get wilder, sexier and awesome with Thesis 2. Grt goin Chris!!!


Waiting for the 2. version, too. It will hopefully rocks 🙂


wow Great . can’t wait for thesis 2.


Can’t wait for Thesis 2, it has been a very long time coming indeed.


I am patiently waiting for thesis 2.0…Features Sounds great


Let’s hope the wait has been worth it. There has been much frustration among some of the earlier Thesis adopters… It’s nice to know that 2.0 isn’t vaporware.

It is good to finally here some sort of real time table. Thanks.

Alison Moore Smith

I’m very glad to hear about the multisite emphasis. I use Thesis on my multisite and look forward to even greater compatibility.

Also, can’t wait for 2.0. FINALLY!

Paul Chardon

Yesterday I started with upgrading to 1.8.4 (which was not succesful) and yesterday I decided on using multisite. And just NOW I find in my mail box your great announcement on 1.8.5 and mulitsite! So you guys are great in time!! I am excited to see how it will work out (and my problems with 1.8.4 hopefully solved).

Terence Milbourn

I am not using my version of Thesis here at the moment but somehow I have a feeling v2.0 might be a good place to start. Is there an upgrade path planned, so that I can start with 1.8.5 already, or is it best to wait until August and only do it once?

Chris Pearson

Terence, here’s what I recommend: If you don’t need a highly-customized design right away, then Thesis 1.8.5 is an excellent choice right now.

However, if you know you’ll want to customize your Thesis installation, then you might be better off waiting for Thesis 2. Customization will be easier and more organized, and you won’t have to deal with the transition to Thesis 2 (though I expect the transition will be painless).

Terence Milbourn

An un-customized website? Is there such a thing?

Chris, I am interested to find out why you think Thesis 2 will be so different.

Is there a feature list somewhere or overview somewhere?

Mark Williams

Thanks for the update CP! Those features even in 1.8.5 are solid so am pretty excited about 2.0 and especially the skins – skins baby skins! 🙂


I will still look to 2013, after all the talk and waiting there is no point of creating timeline expectations.

I am sure 2.0 will be excellent, but will the user have to learn a new framework?

My suggestion: Don’t tell anybody what you are working on.
In the mean time, push out regular updates even if they are small.


Looking forward to that, especially regarding skins. I love Thesis because it has all the functions I really need for my sites, and you guys are always keeping it on edge for as long as I’ve been your customer. The only thing I didn’t like so far was that I feel kind of stuck with a “typical Thesis layout” (I know there are more choices, but that’s kind of over my head), so if the new skins are going to be released, that’s just gonna some more awesomesauce into the Thesis soup.


Re: Thesis 2. I do like the idea of more frequent updates, but I just want to upload a new version, have all the old stuff work, and have the chance to implement new features.

The new paradigm sounds like more work to keep things in sync and up to date?

Chris Pearson

Jezza, the new paradigm will be about a zillion times easier to maintain and use.

Dr. Lawrence Kindo

Whoa! Good to get the updates and the update on Thesis 2.0 is good news to us Thesis Fans. Can’t wait for August!

Brandon Cordoba

I’d definitely be willing to go out to Austin & hangout w/ you guys no mustang though just an old Trans Am, can I still come? 🙂

Happy Hotelier

From what I’ve seen being tweeted from time to time I can’t wait to see the new fonts working in 2.


Finally the ETA for Thesis 2 is out Yay..!!! Excited…!!!


I installed 5 but have a bug with the header. I went back to 4 until I have more time to figure it out. But, so far none of the standard stuff fixed it.

Chris Huntley

I also have a problem with the header in 1.8.5.

Adding the header image seems easy enough, but then it doesn’t show up on the site. I changed custom-sample to custom, reset design to the default, but still not working.

Any ideas anyone?



Thanks for the update guys. WP3.4 screwed new photo captions but Thesis 1.85 sorted this out just in the nick of time. Thanks for the timely update and continuous improvement.

Having used other Themes for other sites but used Thesis for my company site since it’s inception, I can safely say I wouldn’t use anything else now.

Looking forward to the awesomeness of 2.0!

Keep up the good work,



Hi Chris,

Thanks for the update. Can I just ask, how responsive will Thesis 2.0 be for creating mobile-optimised websites and blogs?


wow… i can’t wait.. update now.. ~~


Please, please, please make Thesis 2.0 and everything around it fully responsive. FULLY responsive (resizing header images, prettier nav menus, etc…).

Teresa Hessler

Hi Chris,
Sorry to post this here but I don’t know how else to reach you. The folks over at WPML told me to contact you about joining their program to work together with them on theme compatibility issues. Please contact me so I can forward their message to you and you can then understand the small challenge that needs to be resolved.
Teresa Hessler

John Quimby

Thanks for this

June 19, 2012


Nice! Will be Thesis 2 a responsive theme?


And what about migration SEO post option (will this be easy)? Thank you for your answer and I am really looking forward! 😉


Looking forward to play with Thesis 2.0 on my dev channel. But a full upgrade of my main website will probably have to hold out for Thesis 2.1, that is sure to weed out some unexpected bugs. (There always are.) End of August is great timing for testing and getting to know the new system. Leaves plenty of time for a complete update later this year.

Jason Mathes

Thanks for the update Chris. I absolutely love Thesis… but (always a but)

I do have a personal gripe about Thesis.

Sure I can hack WordPress with the best of them – but I realized that the update process is a complete and utter pain in the ass. For me it takes 10 minutes. But I can’t imagine those new to WordPress or Thesis muddling through all this just to update their theme!

Will you ever be able to put together update scripts so it will be able to update itself instead of us doing it by hand? I’m hoping that in Thesis 2.0 you can get this worked out.

Thanks again though for all of your hard work you’ve put into this awesome framework. I couldn’t use WordPress without it!

Bui Hong Diep

It’s nice to see your update to version thesis-185, I have just used thesis for few months but Iam so please about what you had done in thesis theme and do hope that you still keep us up to date.

Thesis is the best theme I have ever used in my blogging and SEO my post contents.

Thanks and best wishes


Good that I checked up for updates before installing the theme on my new site. Waiting impatiently for Thesis 2. Thanks Chris.

David D Ochoa

I just love love love love love the edits to the widget styling! Being able to control the title right off the bat is wonderful. I can’t believe I never even suggested it to the Thesis staff.

Daniel McClure

Really looking forward to seeing what Thesis 2.0 has to offer, it’s already great and you’ve been working on this so long it has to be amazing! Well either that, or I’ll be sorely disappointed 😉


Thanks for the update Chris!

Quick question:
Will Thesis 2 be ‘responsive’ to different screen sizes – especially in the mobile context…

Jane Boursaw

Apologies in advance if this is answered somewhere. I’m excited for 2.0, but will we be able to jump from 1.8 to 2.0?

Charlie Moore

Sounds good, Chris. I’m sure Thesis 2.0 goodness will be worth waiting for. I know you were hoping for an August release… are you getting close to golden master?


will thesis be responsive


I’m upgrading a site from Thesis 1.8.2 to version 1.8.5 and it seems that the following file has disappeared: /lib/functions/widgets.php. We were using the function “thesis_widget_recent_posts” from this file. Wondering if there is a replacement for this function?


Have belatedly discovered the “Killer Recent Entries” widget, so that’s solved it! I feel I should mention that “thesis_widget_recent_posts” is still referred to in your Customising With Hooks page (http://diythemes.com/thesis/rtfm/customizing-with-hooks/) – this was part of the source of my confusion!

Mark Healy

I have paid for Thesis 2, however I can only find 1.8.5 version can you advise is this the same or IF it isnt version 2, where do I actually download version 2…

cheers, Mark