Thesis Theme Semantics

The Thesis theme claims to be have “killer typography, a dynamically resizable layout, intelligent code, airtight optimization, and tons of flexibility” all of which supposedly increases the SEO, usability, accessibility and flexibility of a WordPress installation.

I did some scouting of their showcase examples and struggled to find websites which even came up as valid XHTML, let alone be semantically correct as well. Even with recommendations from Craig Killick I couldn’t see what this theme could do that a free WordPress plugin could do. Although most of the invalid code was probably due to plugins, it didn’t bode well. I wanted to “believe”, but with the evidence I had so far, I couldn’t.

I then found a post from one of the authors of the Thesis theme on his own blog: The Definitive Guide to Semantic Web Markup for Blogs. The post itself makes fair points that I agree with, even being nearly two years old. I checked over at my own blogs and saw how they failed from the recommendation. It would take a fair bit of effort to correct them.

I then took a look at the Thesis demo site, and Craig’s site (which also uses Thesis), and it seems the theme author has already implemented his suggestion into the theme. This is a big plus, and it may have turned my thoughts to wanting to buy the theme. If nothing else, it’s getting me thinking a bit more about the wording in my content, just so that if I do buy the theme, I’ll get quicker benefit of it.

At the moment, Thesis theme still has a few issues – the new canonical link is incorrect (a minor but annoying point), but a major one for me, is that there is no support for microformatted content. I’m so used to having microformats that I almost convinced myself it was native to WordPress itself (and not the themes I use).

If you use the Thesis theme, is there any one technical thing you think is worth the cost alone, or are you more focussed on the improved results you have (hopefully) seen?






5 responses to “Thesis Theme Semantics”

  1. Chris Pearson Avatar

    Thesis makes extensive use of microformats within posts (using the hfeed and hcard/vcard formats). The only notable area where microformats are not yet implemented is on commenter’s names, and it’s debatable as to whether or not that is of any real practical use.

    1. Gary Avatar

      Thanks for commenting Chris.

      Apologies for me missing the microformats in the demo pages I looked at. Assuming the canonical link is fixed for version 1.5 (a quick fix), then I’m struggling for reasons *not* to purchase it, other than the cost, but that’s just me having to decide if the advantages that using this theme may bring is worth it, for me.

      Incidentally, having now checked, I can see that the hcard for authors names are invalid – the fn/n element has to come *inside* the vcard element – having it at the same level is invalid.

  2. Jake Johnston Avatar
    Jake Johnston

    Thanks guys! Chris and Gary are both great 🙂

    I am a longtime user of Thesis, I have a developer license and use it for LOTS of sites :D, I preach Thesis everywhere I go haha…

    Quick question: I am trying to implement lots of microformats across very large websites, what is the easiest way to do this with Thesis? Also, do yall have any good links to examples/guides/manuals of how use and microformats with Thesis?

    Thanks a bunch guys, any help and direction you could give me here would be much appreciated 🙂

    1. Gary Avatar


      The post was written over 3 years ago, and no doubt the situation with microformats has increased considerably since then. Only Chris would know if there might be a switch coming to the data sets at should Thesis start coming with a HTML 5 doctype.

      Your best bet is to ask on the Thesis forums regarding integrating more microformats (I suspect you wouldn’t need any within the theme files, only your content), or for amending the theme files to make use of data attributes to support stuff.