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?

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Gary Jones

Gary Jones is a UK-based WordPress Engineer, code consultant, and father of extremely premature twins. Driven by a passion for excellence, he creates elegant WordPress plugins and theme solutions for clients, and provides services, including code audits, for other designers and developers. Gary is a key contributor to the Genesis Framework and has contributed to all except one major branch of WordPress Core since 3.3. He has contributed to many open source projects in the community, and is a co-host on the UK Genesis podcast. A former teacher in schools and prisons, Gary's goal is to educate WordPress professionals on how they can improve their code. His motto is knowledge is power.

  1. Chris Pearson on 2009-03-19 at 19:25

    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.



    • Gary on 2009-03-19 at 22:25

      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 on 2012-04-23 at 02:57

    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 schema.org and microformats with Thesis?

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



    • Gary on 2012-04-23 at 13:07

      Jake,

      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 schema.org 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 schema.org stuff.