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on July 14 there was a debate between WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg and Thesis creator Chris Pearson. The debate was about Thesis not following the GPL guidelines. My view on this topic is very simple. I love open source and the idea of sharing ideas and techniques to improve on the overall quality of a system. To me that is what it is all about. However, I do understand Chris’s points on sharing something that has taken a lot of work to compile. To be brief, I did not switch to Canvas because of Thesis not being GPL compliant. As a matter of fact, one week after the debate Chris caved in and made Thesis a split GPL license. That means that parts of Thesis as GPL and parts are not.
So why did I switch?
I switched because of Chris’s attitude during the debate. Chris was cutting Matt off which is very disrespectful. It almost seamed like Chris did not want Matt to speak at all. Yes. I said I am switching because of his attitude. Ok, so the GPL issue bugged me too. I believe in the growth of all things the WordPress community has to offer.
Watch the video
To view the video visit Mixergy.com because their embed code is not working.
So Why WooThemes?
The WooThemes Canvas theme is very similar to Thesis where I can easily change the theme to work for my needs. The backend of Canvas is very simple to use just as any other premium theme. Not only that but WooThemes is 100% GPL, very nice people and offer a great affiliate program. My one and only complaint of WooThemes is the lack of hooks for customizing. Thesis has so many hooks that the possibilities are endless. When customizing Canvas to match my Thesis design I wasnt not able to make it a perfect match due to the lack of hooks. However, it is pretty close.
Most of the themes by WooThemes include built-in support for Gravity Forms and Scribe SEO.
Canvas has built-in post style layouts. This means that for each post I can change the look without any other customization the coding. You can see an example of this because you are currently reading a post with the standard layout. If you read yesterday’s post titled “Notice anything different?” you will see a very different look.
The last straw
What made my final decision to switch themes was a tweet from Matt stating that he would buy anyone a premium theme if they want to switch away from Thesis. After he tweeted that I purchased my theme from WooThemes and shortly after Matt refunded it for me as he promised.
How did I do it?
It started with a plugin called All in One SEO Pack Importer which I modified for import to WooThemes instead of the All in One SEO plugin. Want the modified plugin? Download WooSEO Importer. The plugin will not only import the Thesis SEO data but also the post images. Make sure you back up your database as I hold no responsiblity for any problems that may arise. So why am I not using the All in One SEO plugin? I want as little plugins as possible. It is just that simple.
Now, I knew that WooThemes handles post images differently than Thesis so the there were a couple of options.
- Set the Canvas theme to include the post images in the post itself
- Create a script to grab the Thesis Post images and insert them as html at the top of each post.
I was never a fan of how Thesis handles its post images so I opted for a script for conversion. My friend Joe took on the challenge and created a php file that did the job. His script converted each Thesis post image into a <img src=” link at the top of each post. After that conversion was complete I switched themes and then ran my modified plugin, WooSEO Importer. My conversion was then complete.
I converted the Post Images to html FIRST and then ran the WooSEO Importer plugin
Where to go from here?
So if you are a Thesis user and have considered a switch I highly recommend WooThemes. They have a support forum (while not as quick on replies as the Thesis forum they do help), they have an affiliate program, they have an amazing framework that is simple to use, very customizable and if you buy one theme you get a bunch more for free.
I will leave you with this
My switch is complete but there might be some left over glitches so if you see any please let me know so I can find a solution. I do not regret owning Thesis. In fact I am so glad I did. The Thesis community is the best out there (in my opinion). I learned so much from each person and am grateful for that. So thank you to everyone in the Thesis community for your help in the past. I appreciate everything you have done and helped me with.
Thanks for reading and cheers to the growth of the WordPress community.