What’s New and Awesome in Thesis 1.8?

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.

You’re absolutely going to love the new features in Thesis 1.8. It’s just plain easier, smarter, more powerful, and accessible!

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the new security enhancements. Thesis 1.8 not only incorporates WordPress nonce field protection, but it also boasts a refined data-handling system that will help keep your sites both safe and stable!

But enough of the intro talk—let’s get down to business! Here’s what’s new and hot in Thesis 1.8:

1. Header Image Uploader

Adding a unique header image is a great way to personalize your site. The problem is, simply adding a header image does not ensure proper SEO or good usability. Web ninjas know that header images should be clickable, CSS-based, and SEO-optimized, and let’s face it—this all sounds pretty technical.

Fortunately, Thesis 1.8 steps in and saves the day. Instead of dealing with all that technical mumbo-jumbo, you only need to upload your desired image, and Thesis will do the heavy lifting for you. It’s easy, optimized, and oh-so-simple.

2. SEO Character Counters

Did you know that search engines will only show a specific number of characters in <title> and <meta> description fields?

No worries. Put your fingers away, because you don’t need to touch your computer screen to count characters anymore. Thesis 1.8 helps you work within these constraints by offering character counters on appropriate input fields throughout the WordPress interface.

3. New Google Fonts!

Who doesn’t love having a slew of fantastic fonts to use on their site? Thesis is now the first premium website framework to support the Google Font Directory, which gives you access to 28 web fonts for free!

And the best part? These fonts are web-safe—they’re served directly from Google servers, so everyone can see your fonts no matter what browser or operating system they have!

One of the most awesome improvements in WordPress 3.0 is the navigation menu builder, and Thesis 1.8 offers full support for this exciting new feature. Best of all, if you choose to use the WordPress nav menu, you’ll be able to tweak its design by using Thesis’ existing nav menu design controls! Win-win!

5. Category/Tag/Taxonomy Page Options

In version 1.7, I introduced a new “Page Options” system that allowed you to add SEO details like <title> and <meta> content to category and tag pages. There are three notable changes to this system in version 1.8.

First, I’ve moved all of these options to a more logical position: inside WordPress’ category and tag editing pages. Now, you’ll be able to edit everything in one place without having to bounce around between different pages inside the admin interface.

Second—and this is my personal favorite feature in version 1.8—you’ll be able to add a unique headline and unique content to every category, tag, or taxonomy page on your site! This has huge implications for SEO, and even better, it will allow you to create pages that are more useful for your users.

Third, Thesis now offers full support for custom taxonomy pages in addition to category and tag pages. Should you choose to use custom taxonomies on your site, you’ll be able to benefit from Thesis’ incredible customization controls and unmatched SEO prowess.

6. Favicon Uploader

Favicons are a great way to extend your site’s brand, and Thesis 1.8 contains a simple favicon uploader that you can use to add one of these babies to your site. Like the header image uploader, the favicon uploader is extremely simple—just upload your image, and Thesis handles the rest of the work for you.

7. Custom Loop API

As far as developers are concerned, the new Custom Loop API is probably the most exciting, powerful, and flexible tool that I’ve ever added to Thesis. The premise is simple:

The Custom Loop API allows you to target and modify the content area of every type of WordPress page and, if you’re so inclined, every page of your website.

In other words, this is the ultimate custom template system. For an in-depth look and some examples, check out the Custom Loop API documentation.

More Details, More Awesomeness

As is always the case with a new Thesis release, there are tons of minor improvements in addition to the exciting new features listed above. The DIYthemes team is hard at work on the ever-expanding Thesis User’s Guide, and if you’re interested to dig deeper, you’ll find more extensive documentation over there.

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