So I decided that since I blow tons of money on pretty useless things, I thought that $87 was not much to pay for Thesis, a WordPress theme. After watching their videos, I felt like I could comfortablymake the jump. Unfortunately, it was a mistake.

Because Thesis is touted as an “SEO Optimized Framework”, much of the underlying structure of the theme is hidden away in custom functions and all that other jazz. This makes it less convenient for those who like to customize their theme. I was previously using Pixel (depending on when you’re reading this, I may be using Pixel or trying to customize Thesis), and that theme was a breeze to customize. My only background is having taken a year or so of high school level computer science (C++/Java/Javascript/HTML/CSS), that and I seem to have a knack for basic programming.

With that said, I normally find it easy enough to modify a theme to suit my needs. Not so with Thesis. I have to resort to clicking through pages upon pages of message board posts. The fact that I have to ask for help is already a big hassle. But when it’s difficult to do something as simple as adding a header logo, that’s crossing the line. If they had just stuck with the default WordPress framework, I could just look everything up in the WordPress Codex. But no, Thesis is not as thoroughly documented.Anyway, although typology is very easy to mess around with, I was incredibly disappointed to see that simple color changes needed to be done through a custom CSS file. And how do you edit that CSS file? It certainly isn’t an elegant solution. You must use a text editor to edit the file, and then you have to upload it via FTP to the custom directory of the Thesis theme. And you have to do this EVERY SINGLE TIME you want to make a change. This is a far cry from in-browser editing, which is available for pretty much all free themes: WordPress just lets you edit the CSS file in its own interface.So far, my list of changes includes:

  • Move the Navbar under the header
  • Have a Feature Box that showcases a random rotation of my best articles and posts
  • Change the border colors
  • Remove the showing of comments on the index page
  • Move meta information onto one line

Let’s see how much work this takes. But so far, it’s not looking so great. I remember that it took me only about six hours, on and off, of tinkering to get Pixel the way I wanted. I had written about Mimbo Pro a long time ago. I had qualms about purchasing any themes back then, and I should’ve stuck with what I thought to begin with. Because Thesis right now looks like it’s going to take more work than I want to put in. Frankly, as someone on the message boards had said, the level of PHP knowledge you probably need to really mold Thesis is probably high enough that you have to wonder why this person’s not off making themes themselves.

We’ll see if this is going to turn out to be one of the biggest waste of $87 I’ve ever had to experience.