Thesis 1.7 Brings New Functionality That Improves Your Site Immediately

This article is deprecated! Any technical information refers to software versions that are now obsolete. Please visit the DIYthemes Blog for current updates, or check out the old Thesis Blog for a treasure trove of website marketing insights.

Hooo boy… I’ve gotta say—this is the most excited I’ve ever been for a Thesis release. On the technical side of things, I rewrote a significant portion of the software to add functionality and increase efficiency at every turn. From a practical standpoint, Thesis 1.7 is noticeably faster, far more comprehensive, and way more detailed than previous versions. In other words, it’s pretty doggone slick 😀

But the best thing about Thesis 1.7? That honor may go to the new Options Manager, which not only allows you to backup your Thesis settings, but also gives you the ability to share settings with friends! Skin developers will be especially keen on this new functionality, as it will allow them to distribute recommended design options without having to create long-winded and highly technical installation tutorials.

At any rate, the list of changes in Thesis 1.7 is long (but awesome), so if you’re ready to get started, dive right in!

Insane new SEO controls and detail

Thesis has always been optimized and ready to perform in the search engines, but there were still some areas where exacting, precise controls were lacking. Not anymore. Version 1.7 contains a totally redesigned document <head> that allows for SEO customization at a level that no one has ever seen before. With 1.7, you’ll be able to control the robots <meta> tags (noindex, nofollow, noarchive) on every post and page of your site, and better still, the new Page Options will give you total control over all these details and more on your Category and Tag archive pages! Optimize everything, because that’s how you win on the Web, and that’s what Thesis is all about.

Options Manager

If you’ve ever delivered a Thesis site to a client, then you know what a pain in the butt it can be to go into a new site and set every single option by hand. With Thesis 1.7, you’ll be able to save and restore the Thesis Options without having to be woefully inefficient. Oh, and skin developers? You’ll be able to use this new functionality to share font and design settings, and this will make it easier to help people set up your awesome skins on their sites!

Completely reorganized options pages

The more I organize the underlying code, the more I’m able to organize the controls you use to unleash Thesis’ potential. In version 1.7, you’ll find five main pages under the Thesis Options: Site Options, Design Options, Page Options, Custom File Editor, and Options Manager. These pages are all leaner, faster, and more sensibly-arranged in 1.7; simply put, my efforts here are designed to make it easier for users to do more with Thesis.

Increased efficiency from every angle

Quite literally, every single page load is faster with Thesis 1.7. Whether you’re browsing your site or navigating the reorganized Thesis Options, you’ll notice snappier interface behavior that can be attributed to two main things. First, I improved the way each page is generated by implementing smarter, more efficient PHP object modeling. Second, I changed the way options are delivered throughout the theme, thereby reducing the overall page load thanks to fewer function calls. These improvements also allowed me to eliminate the antiquated header.php and footer.php files, and now Thesis can deliver your site’s pages faster than ever before.

Include a slew of JavaScript libraries!

Pretty much everyone can benefit from having Javascript libraries at their disposal, and with Thesis 1.7, you’re just a click away from the most popular ones. Add jQuery, jQuery UI, Prototype, MooTools, and others with a single click, and kiss those old JS library folders goodbye!

New home page controls

In the new Page Options, you’ll find a section dedicated to your home page. In previous versions, Thesis offered some home page controls, but the SEO options were somewhat insufficient. Now, you’ll not only have complete SEO control on your home page, but you’ll also have granular control over JavaScript libraries and post display (with more to come here in future releases).

Flexible new comment system

In previous versions, Thesis didn’t give you a choice here, and everybody’s comment areas were rendered in the same order: trackbacks, comments, and then a comment form. In 1.7, you’ll not only be able to drag and drop the display order, but you’ll also have a few more fine-tuning display options that are sure to please. Look for these new controls in your Design Options.

Easy 301 redirects for affiliates!

Get rid of those ugly affiliate URLs once and for all by taking advantage of the new 301 redirects in Thesis 1.7. Using this functionality, you can turn any post or page into an affiliate URL that is sensible, clean, and won’t prevent users from clicking!

New hooks

The .post_box now contains hooks inside its opening and closing <div> tags—thesis_hook_post_box_top and thesis_hook_post_box_bottom. I also added similar hooks to the #content_boxthesis_hook_content_box_top and thesis_hook_content_box_bottom.

New headline filter

This one’s a bit technical, but I’m using (and loving) it on my newly-relaunched version of Pearsonified, which is running on a pre-release version of Thesis 1.7. Basically, this simple filter will allow developers to show/hide headlines, and you’ll be able to use this to create more diverse post styles on your site. I’ve used it to create “asides,” which are a little less formal than my normal posts—here’s an example (note the absence of a headline and byline). It’s just a little thing, but oftentimes, things like this bring the most joy to people who like to customize their sites!

Beefed-up internationalization

Thanks to the help of our fans in other countries, I’ve been able to identify certain parts of the code that were not so translation-friendly. To fix this, I’ve gone through every single string in Thesis and made sure that everything is up to spec for internationalization. Now, it will be easier than ever to use handy translation software to translate Thesis into different languages!

Improved core element defaults

This one is best explained by way of example. Take, for instance, the comment links that appear after each post on your home page—you know, the ones enclosed in the curly braces like this: { 0 comments }. Those curly braces are nothing more than typographic embellishments that are native to the default Thesis skin, but in the past, I had mistakenly included these braces in the core code for this element. In version 1.7, I removed the braces from the default code, and I used filters to add those braces to the default Thesis skin instead. Ultimately, moves like this will give skin developers more flexibility and allow them to modify Thesis’ look and behavior with less resistance.

Dramatically improved code quality

I’ve touched on the subject in earlier points, but seriously—Thesis 1.7 is head and shoulders above previous versions in terms of the quality and efficiency of the core code. Ultimately, this results in a better Thesis experience no matter how you interact with the software, and in my book, that’s a huge win!

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