Why Santa Claus Has Nothing on Thesis 2.0.3

by Chris Pearson · 34 comments

Christmas is right around the corner, and here at DIYthemes, we’re busy filling our sleigh with Boxes, Skins, and everything else you need to run a killer website.

In addition, we’ve been testing Thesis day in and day out, and we determined that we needed one final update to the core before we could begin shipping our highly anticipated Skins and Boxes.

Let’s take a quick look at what’s new, and then we’ll explore the forthcoming goodies that would even make Santa jealous.

What’s New in Thesis 2.0.3?

First, we’ve added more quicklinks to the WordPress menu in your dashboard—now you can visit your Skins and Boxes pages with a single click.

Second, we knocked out a slew of issues that you guys raised in the forums, but there’s one in particular that I think is worth mentioning:

Most of the save buttons in Thesis 2 are AJAX saves—in simple terms, this means that the page does not refresh when you hit the save button. A side effect of this process is that you have to wait for a server response after hitting the save button, and sometimes, that response can take a few seconds (mostly on slower servers).

While waiting for this response, many users were becoming justifiably impatient, and they clicked the save button 100 times in a frantic bid to get the damn thing to save!

In a couple of unfortunate cases, this caused people’s template data to be deleted. Of course, Thesis has a Skin Manager that allows you to backup your Skin data, but that doesn’t make this problem any less of an issue (especially for those folks who lost data!).

To remedy this, I’ve instituted a fix that prevents the save button from firing after you’ve pressed it once. With Thesis 2.0.3, there’s no risk of losing data on save, but I still want to encourage you to backup your skin data—it’s a best practice when working with Thesis.

Next, I’ve made it so that Boxes can now be properly nested in the inactive area of the HTML Editor. This will help Skin developers and armchair tinkerers “clean up” that part of the interface so they can focus on their templates. [the crowd cheers]

Finally—and this really only applies to developers—I instituted a check that will only allow Box admin pages to run once, no matter how many instances of the Box appear in the active Skin’s templates.

But When Do We Get to Open the Presents?

Some of your presents have already arrived, and you can start opening ’em now. Log into this site, and then check out the 6 Basic Mods for the Classic Skin—these are highly refined versions of the 1, 2, and 3-column layouts that you know and love from Thesis 1.x.

Also, version 1.0.3 of the Classic Skin contains a sweet new Landing Page template that is designed for focus and conversions. With it, you’ll be able to create landing pages like WordPress SEO or Email Marketing for Everybody in just seconds!

Next week, we’re going to roll out the Social Triggers Skin and the AWeber Email Signup Form Box.

Shortly thereafter, we’ll release our Social Media Boxes (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest) and a MailChimp Email Signup Form Box.

Assuming everything goes according to plan, we’ll drop the Pearsonified Skin before Christmas, too.

Not yet a Thesis customer? Click here and choose the plan that’s right for you!

If you’re already a Thesis customer, click here to download Thesis 2.0.3.

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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Melvin Ram

> Next, I’ve made it so that Boxes can now be properly nested in the inactive area


Chris Pearson

I knew people would dig this little fix 😉


Nice update. I noticed that it doesn’t auto-update in the WP Dashboard yet, and when I attempt to manually upload the zip it says the thesis folder is already there and it can’t override it. Is the auto-update going to be initialized soon?

Chris Pearson

Jack, the auto-update should appear within the next couple hours for ya (if it hasn’t already).

Your WordPress site fishes for updates once every 24 hours, and I pushed this live at about 1pm CST yesterday.

joe khoei

do you have a video of how to use thesis 2 like you had one for the thesis 1? like how to build a basic site using it? everything looks different and the rtfm looks like it’s still the old one.

Chris Pearson

Joe, we don’t have a video yet, but I’m going to make one the second we get the presents out.

Also, we’ve already started updating the User’s Guide with information and tutorials for Thesis 2.

Hesham Zebida

Glad you’ve stressed on the backup point, it’s really important to avoid problems, I’ve seen many people loses their data because they haven’t done that step!

Looking forward to see the Social Media Boxes.

Chris Pearson

Hesham, drop me a line in Thesischat; I’ve got a note about one of your Boxes.

Les Dossey


Even though you rocked my boat so hard I fell out of the thing, I’m glad you did because this new boat I’m sitting in rides the waves and the currents much faster and much smoother.

I totally digging everything 2.0, including the brain strain that has stretched me to become a better developer and designer.

Keep rocking the boat Chris.

I am better for it

Only the Best,

Chris Pearson

Thanks, Les! Your story with Thesis 2 has been an inspiring one for me, and once we get these presents out of the way, we’re going to focus on getting precisely the same reaction out of others.


I know Thesis 2.x is more flexible than any other theme in the world.

I’m sorry, I’m probably in the minority. But I don’t get it. I think it’s made for people with one site and time on their hands.

I loved Thesis 1.85 with it’s almost “small” learning curve (helps to be a PHP programmer to get the most out of it).

But with Thesis 2.0 I’ve jumped in and tried to “intuitively” use it and learn it — twice for about 45 minutes each time.

It’s impossible.

In order to use Thesis 2.x I need to go back to school at Thesis U and read and read and watch videos — just to get a theme running! …not even “customized.”

Again, I’m probably in the minority. I’m a WordPress user not a mechanic. I just want to drive the car and put oil in it every three months, not spend the first week in the garage learning how to add wheels and doors to it before I can use it.

I have the four hour work week–only my four hour work week is four times every day.

I try to see where the new Thesis learning curve fits in with all the other things I need to do like adding content and relevant ads to multiple sites, building email campaigns that don’t burn subscribers, responding to email and managing social networking 100+ times each day, developing new products and sites, working on direct and passive SEO, backlinking to promote my sites, studying and testing the Google Gods to see what works and why some things are dying, as well as managing, maintaining, updating and upgrading existing sites, while researching and learning to keep ahead of things in the IM world at least 49%–

Themes should be quiet and not heard!

Where do I find the time to stop everything and learn how to — use a theme?

I don’t. I keep 1.85 on the ones that have it and move on using my 100+ other, professional, premium *turn key* themes that make a website live in five.

Flame away Thesis aficionados and Mac users. I’m sorry, but my job is not to learn how to *use* a theme. It doesn’t make money. When I want to tinker I play Lego’s with my kids.

Can I sell my license or give it as a “gift” to somebody who’s wondering what to do with their time?



You’re not the only one in that boat. I’m hanging on though. I think there will be a user guide eventually. Thesis was always the best for being user friendly. I’m having faith they will remember those of us who never became web developers or designers.

I wouldn’t sell your license. Once a guide is available I think it will become simple to work with. We just need to get the hang of it all over again.

On the plus side, I did figure out how to add widgets to the footer. Big deal, eh? But, I still can’t change font colours or get those damned widgets in the footer into columns. I’ve been using old Thesis after my first crack at Thesis2 when it was new out. I’ll probably just go back to that again. I use a really good freebie theme on my other sites but I’m trying to stick it out with Thesis on the big site.

Bruce Simmons

Chris, then you and I are in that minority together.

I work 50 hours a week, squeeze time out to play webmaster-man. When I heard there was a new and improved THESIS coming, I had faith in the powers that be and jumped right in.

In fact one of the defining aspects of THESIS versus some “other” competing theme, was its ease of use and not having to go and learn to be a programmer.

But now, I’m feeling frustrated I dumped bucks and have to (hopefully) wait for either spelled out tutorials (that aren’t videos) or a different interface. Where I did install TH2.0, took me three hours to sort out what was up. Once I got it to a sort of acceptable look, (but so far from what I was hoping for), that I stopped and backed off. I mean for gads sake, I can’t even figure out how to change column widths!!!

THESIS GUYS: You’ve made this blogging environment an alien environment and very discouraging. I put it on a test site and I AM GLAD I did.

You know what I’d love to see? A THESIS 2 that installs, accepting your site exactly as it is except for the framework being improved. I also want to see the same interface I had with pre-2.0 so I can make sense of it and not be driven to this level of disappointment. WE AREN’T PROGRAMMERS!!!

It seems you totally got carried away with this and completely forgot about the little guy who doesn’t program. I’ve actually never seen a product come to market where the user guides come last, after a release.

I’m so frustrated that I’m tempted to jump ship right now, knowing that at the moment, I am stuck with 1.85.



Same here, exactly.

I’m an end user, small business owner with a couple of sites. I know way more about the web, seo, Wordpress, etc. than any of my business friends. My websites do the job intended, which is to provide information and produce leads. But I’m way over my head with Thesis 2.

For now, I’m pretending it doesn’t exist, except for clicking on the news updates that show up in my email now and then. I’ve freelanced out some coding tidbits here and there in the past but was mainly able to run my entire Thesis sites by myself, using the tutorials and forums when needed.

Now I’m just waiting for 2.0 it to become easy enough to try again (I used up all the hours I’m willing to spend becoming reacquainted with what “defeated” feels like), or for some freelance gurus to emerge who declare the product ready for prime time and who I can hire to refresh my outdated sites.

I’m not complaining, just stating my reality. I’ve read “Who Moved My Cheese”, so I can deal. But after waiting for so long I wasn’t expecting an “upgrade” to render me incompetent of running my own sites with said “upgrade”.



Chris, can Thesis people who have paid $164 upgrade for $33 for Pro?

Chris Pearson

Yes. Log into this site using the Login button in the top right corner, and you can purchase an upgrade from your “My Account” screen (which is where you get redirected immediately after logging in).

Mike Lewinski

I just posted in the forums. I’m missing the skin manager tab and can’t make backups. The wordpress dashboard is prompting me to upgrade from 2.0.3 to 2.0.2. I was unable to ever get the prompt to upgrade to 2.0.2 to go away.

Chris Pearson

Mike, did you go ahead and click the button to upgrade from 2.0.2. to 2.0.3? If so, did it say that there was an error during the upgrade?

Mike Smith

Thanks Chris,

It gets better and better! Could you please post a link to where we can make suggestions/requests?

Cheers, Mike

Chris Pearson

Mike, there’s a section dedicated to requests in our forums.


Awesome! Glad to see the save-button gun laws have been passed for the trigger-happy savers among us ! 🙂


Where is the upgrade procedure from version 1.85 to 2.x? At this point I think you guys should focus on getting a smooth upgrade procedure in place, not tell your customers too bad- you have to recreate a new website with the 2.0 framework, or stay with the old 1.85 version. I am going to be patient for about 6 month, and if nothing happens, I will begin to upgrade, but Thesis will be out of the question, because you have not thought enough about your customers.


Thanks Chris…

Been waiting for these goodies to arrive and start a new site layout. Hope it arrive soon before the 25, right before Santa knocks in my front door. 🙂



BUILDER is a much easier & more intuitive to use framework and much more flexible than Thesis. I’ve used both. And tBUILDER/iThemes has such a huge and helpful community.

Chris Pearson

“BUILDER is…much more flexible than Thesis.”

Based on what, exactly? In our forthcoming videos (and Skins), you’ll see that Thesis is indeed the gold standard when it comes to everything that matters for websites: speed, performance, SEO, flexibility, design, portability, you name it.

Unlike you, I’ve spent a significant chunk of my life thinking about every aspect of websites, and I know that Thesis is the only platform that brings it all together.

I wouldn’t bother to sell the product if it weren’t the best in the business…by a mile.


How about efficiency, Chris?

Now before you tear me apart and question my comment, let it be know that I love Thesis 1.8x and have done very well as a developer working with it exclusivey.

That being said, as a web developer you have to see the gaping hole in the design of the 2.0 system. I’m talking about the fact that you have to do every change to every different template. So where it once took one line of code to remove the Thesis attribution, it now takes four screens and saves to accomplish the same thing. If this software is ever going to be a viable tool for developers, it will need to address this issue.

Chris Pearson

Mike, my original T2 build contained a “default” template that would apply changes to all other templates. Problem was, that template never rendered anywhere in its entirety, so it was confusing to people who tested the software.

I completely understand your concern about removing the attribution or any other element (obviously, I sought to have this be a one-shot deal), but have you stopped to consider how few templates you actually have?

A typical site will have anywhere from 4 to 6 templates. The Classic Skin ships with 5 different templates. This means that you’d only have to remove an undesirable element from a 4–6 templates—not a huge deal for code-free functionality, in my opinion (but yes, slightly annoying).

Considering the nearly infinite upside that comes with being able to see your templates all in one place (something no other theme can boast), I don’t think this is a deal breaker for most people.

Now, with all of that said, we certainly have some options for attacking this issue. Personally, I’d like to see “add to all templates” and “remove from all templates” functionality in the HTML Editor.

Because of its structure, Thesis 2 is easy to modify and should therefore be considered a very powerful work in progress. Because it operates in a space that no other software has gone before, it’s clearly going to have some growing pains.

Despite that—and many people will agree with me here—Thesis 2 is already an amazingly powerful piece of software that allows you to create HTML without ever writing a line of code.

That’s truly remarkable, and I encourage you to try and see the forest from the trees here.

Yes, some things are annoying and not currently optimal, but we are working every day to knock out those issues and show you exactly how revolutionary this platform really is.

Madhav Tripathi

Thanks Chrish,
It was an waiting upgrade.

James Artre


Alf Martinsen


When trying to update the skins, i’ve got an error message, stating “you are not allowed to perform this action”

I am running on WP 3.4.2, got the same error when trying to upgrade to 2-0-3!

any help/thoughts.

Joan A Detlefsen

Time for me to get back to my website. This means that some of the little bit I had learned has been forgotten. Yet with the passage of time, I understand other things better. So, help! How do I move my lugubrious 1.8 to the new shiny cool look? Do I skip everything and go to 2.03 and what will or will I find there or missing? I understand my page width is too wide. I don’t even know if that is due to the ‘padding’ I selected (.5) or what. Do I start off with a Skin at the same time, although I never dipped into those waters due to fear?
Thanks for any guidance!
Joan A


problem solved… once upgraded to WP 3.5 .. 🙂



Don’t tell me it’s the best thing since sliced bread, show me.
Don’t tell me it’s easier than all the rest, show me.
Don’t tell me it’s powerful, show me.

2.5 months on and you’re still telling and not showing.

I don’t have the same level of experience as your developer friends. I don’t understand what the 2.0 vision is or how it’s supposed to make my life easier.

You can keep banging on about dragons and killer websites until the cows come home but until you stop telling and start showing I’m not going to ‘get it’.

Bruce Simmons

Hey guys… how long, IF you will, will you be supporting the pre-2.0 versions of Thesis? I’m freaking out because this new world of 2.0 looks like an alien landscape to this guy and if I don’t have the time to figure it out, I’ll be left out in the cold.