Tag Archives: Upgrade

New Article! Upgrading to Thesis 1.6

The new version 1.6 of Thesis has some fantastic features, such as much greater control over fonts and colors, dropdown menus, and a host of other under-the-hood improvements.

However, there is one big problem: Due to the many changes in how Thesis 1.6 uses the WordPress database, you cannot go back to a previous version of Thesis!

This will scare the willies out of many and will prevent them from upgrading out of fear they will do something wrong.

But help is here! I just published “Upgrading to Thesis 1.6“, a step-by-step guide to upgrading to Thesis 1.6. It has easy to understand instructions with lots of illustrations that will give you confidence that you can upgrade your Thesis installation quickly and safely.

So there’s no reason to hold back — upgrade today!

Upgrading to Thesis 1.6

Upgrading to Thesis 1.6 can be a daunting task, especially if you have little experience with WordPress, FTP programs, or file permissions. Thesis 1.6 has a new file structure that makes the upgrade especially confusing.

It is doubly important that you upgrade to Thesis 1.6 correctly, since the WordPress database is updated with many new bits of data during the installation, and you cannot go back to Thesis 1.5.1!

But upgrading to Thesis 1.6 is not hard if you understand each task, and this guide offers step-by-step instructions along with plenty of illustrations to help you. Although each step has its specific requirements, none of the steps is difficult individually.

Before you start the installation

1. Download the Thesis 1.6 zip file from DIYthemes and unzip it on your computer. There will be a Thesis_16 folder after you do so.
2. Be sure you know how to change file permissions. If you’re uncertain, read the article “How to Change File and Folder Permissions.
3. Make sure you know how to upload files. (I’m not being silly. There are a number of support questions in the Forum from upgraders who can’t upload files!) If you use an FTP program on your computer, usually you can just drag the folder from your computer onto the proper place in your FTP program and drop it. If you are using cPanel or a similar host program, refer to “File Management Using cPanel.”

If you haven’t thought about an FTP program for your computer yet, maybe it’s time to do so. Check out the articles “FTP Programs and Text Editors for Windows Users” or “FTP Programs and Text Editors for the Mac” for free FTP and editor programs. They will make file operations and customization a lot easier.

4. Read all the instructions below before you start. This tutorial follows the standard Thesis upgrade process as found on the DIYthemes Thesis download page.

Important changes to the /custom folder and Thesis file structure

Figure 1: Changes in the /custom folder in Thesis 1.6
Figure 1: Changes in the /custom folder in Thesis 1.6

Chris Pearson, the developer of Thesis, has made some logical changes to the Thesis file structure that make a lot of sense. In Thesis 1.6 all the user-related files and folders are now in the /custom folder. He has also moved some files and folders out of the Thesis root directory that were confusing to users.

Here is a summary of the changes to the file structure:
1. As shown by the big arrow in Figure 1, the /rotator folder has been moved to the /custom folder.
2. The layout.css file has been moved to the /custom folder, as well.
3. The /images folder and the language translation files thesis.mo and thesis.po have been moved to the /lib folder. In particular the images folder was confusing users, since there’s also one with the same name in the /custom> folder.

Now, for the DIYthemes instructions and my comments:

Step 1. Back up the /custom and /rotator folders

The full instruction states:

1. Back up the /custom folder from your existing Thesis installation to your hard drive. Also, if you’ve uploaded your own images to the /rotator folder, then you’ll want to back that up, too. After you’ve done that, you should move the /rotator folder into the /custom folder on your hard drive.

1. Create a folder on your computer to hold your /custom folder and /rotator folder.

2. Copy the entire /custom folder on the server to your new computer folder. If you have your own images in the /rotator folder, copy it, too. Do not copy individual files!

3. Move the /rotator folder into the /custom folder. You will now have only a /custom folder on your computer.

Step 2. Upload the new Thesis 1.6 folder to your /wp-content/themes folder

Figure 2: The /wp-content folder before uploading Thesis_16
Figure 2: The /wp-content folder before uploading Thesis_16

1. Locate the /wp-content folder in your root directory. Inside it will be a folder called /themes. The folder structure will look like Figure 2.

2. Upload the entire Thesis_16 folder you unzipped on your computer to the /themes folder. Do not upload individual files! There are many problems reported on the Thesis Support Forum where people have uploaded individual files instead of the entire Thesis folder. It just doesn’t work, especially with this upgrade!

Figure 3: The /wp-content folder after uploading Thesis_16
Figure 3: The /wp-content folder after uploading Thesis_16

3. When you are finished, you will see the /thesis_16 folder within the /themes folder, as in Figure 3.

Step 3. Rename the /custom-sample folder to /custom, and do not overwrite this folder with your existing /custom folder!

Figure 4: The /thesis_16 directory before renaming the /custom-sample folder
Figure 4: The /thesis_16 directory before renaming the /custom-sample folder

If you have upgraded before, you will immediately recognize that this step is different. Note that you will not replace the renamed custom folder! Figure 4 shows the /thesis_16/custom-sample folder before it is renamed. Figure 5 shows the /thesis_16/custom folder after it has been renamed.

Figure 5: The renamed /thesis_16/custom folder
Figure 5: The renamed /thesis_16/custom folder

Step 4. Copy the contents of your backed up /custom folder to the /custom folder on the server

The full instruction states:

Instead of overwriting the new /custom folder with the one you just backed up (as you are probably accustomed to doing with previous versions), copy the contents of the /custom folder you backed up in Step 1, and paste it all into your new /custom folder, which should also contain layout.css.

Refer to Figure 5. It shows the contents of the /custom folder in Thesis 1.6. Note that it contains the layout.css file and the /rotator folder that used to be in the /thesis_151 directory.

1. Copy the contents of the backed-up /custom folder on your computer to the /custom folder on your server. You will get error messages asking if you want to overwrite the /cache, /images and /rotator folders, as well as the custom_functions.php and custom.css files. Reply “yes” to these these overwrites. Personally, I find these error messages annoying and delete the folders and files to be overwritten on the server before copying anything. Call me superstitious, but I think doing so makes the copying less prone to copy errors!

Do not copy the old layout.css file from your Thesis 1.5.1 directory! The structure of the Thesis 1.6 layout.css file is different, and you will definitely get errors if you copy over the old Thesis 1.5.1 file!

Step 5. Set the permissions of your new layout.css file to 666

Figure 6: The layout.css file and the file dialog
Figure 6: The layout.css file and the file dialog

1. Find the layout.css file within your /custom folder and highlight it.

2. Most FTP programs allow you to right-click on the file to bring up a dialog similar to the one in Figure 6. Choose “Get Info,” “File Properties,” or similar wording. Refer to the cPanel article mentioned above if you are using that program.

Figure 7: Changing the file permissions on layout.css
Figure 7: Changing the file permissions on layout.css

3. A file properties dialog will pop up like the one in Figure 7. Choose “Permissions” or similar wording.

4. If there is a box that you can enter the file permission numbers, enter 666. If not, set file permissions to Owner: Read, Write; Group: Read, Write; and Others: Read, Write. “Owner,” “Group,” and “Others” may be worded differently, but they will be close enough to figure out.

5. Click the “Apply,” “Save,” “OK” or similar button to save your changes.

Step 6. Make sure your /cache folder’s permissions are set to 775

1. Locate the /cache folder. Open up your /custom folder.The /cache folder is within the /custom folder within your /thesis_16 folder as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 8: Changing the file permissions on the /cache folder
Figure 8: Changing the file permissions on the /cache folder

2. Use the same procedure you did when changing the layout.css file’s permissions: Highlight the /cache folder, right-click on it, and get to the “Permissions” panel in the file dialog.

If there is a box that you can enter the file permission numbers, enter 775. If not, set file permissions to Owner: Read, Write, Execute; Group: Read, Write, Execute; and Others: Read, Write, Execute. “Owner,” “Group,” and “Others” may be worded differently, but they will be close enough to figure out.

3. Click the “Apply,” “Save,” “OK” or similar button to save your changes.

Step 7. Inside your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance -> Themes, and then activate Thesis 1.6

Figure 9: Thesis 1.6 ready to be selected as the active theme
Figure 9: Thesis 1.6 ready to be selected as the active theme

1. Click on the Thesis 1.6 theme image shown in Figure 9. You will be taken to a simulation of how it will look (but believe me, it never looks right!). Click on “Activate Theme” in the upper right corner to make Thesis 1.6 the active theme.

Figure 10: The Thesis 1.6 Options panel
Figure 10: The Thesis 1.6 Options panel

2. You will be taken to the Thesis Options panel, as shown in Figure 10. In previous upgrades, this was the last step, but you still have one more to go!

Step 8. Go to the Design Options page and hit the save button

The full instruction states:

Visit the Design Options page, ensure that Thesis is not giving you a warning about the file permissions on your layout.css file, and then hit the Big Ass Save Button.

The settings on the Design Options page are stored in the layout.css file. If you have not set the permissions correctly on this file as outlined in Step 5, you will not be able to save any of your Design Options settings. Therefore, Thesis will display an error message if this file’s permissions are not correct.

You’re done!

I hope these instructions have been clear and helpful. Feel free to make a comment, or if you want to email me, click on the “Contact” button in the nav bar.
©2009 Michael L Nichols. All rights reserved.

What next?

Your comments are always welcome, and are important to this blog’s community! Leave a comment now, or read the comments.

You can find several related articles in the “Related Articles” list below. In the footer you will find a lists of Popular Posts, Recent Posts, and you may browse by Categories, or tags. There’s also a Google Custom Search box to help you find just what you want.

Get free updates by RSS or email!

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to article updates, using an RSS reader, or by email. It’s free and is a great way to make sure you don’t miss a single article! I also invite you to follow me on Twitter!

Why not share this article with others!

Share this article with your friends using your favorite social media service, such as StumbleUpon, or Digg. Check out the icons below under “Share This Article With Others” for other social media, including del.icio.us, Technorati, Sphinn, Friendfeed, FaceBook, MySpace andLinkedIn! You can also email or print the article, and even tweet it using Twitter!

New Tip! Upgrade-Proof Your Site with the bloginfo() Tag

Thesis has the reputation of being upgrade-proof. That is, you do not lose your work in the custom folder when you upgrade.

Running against this is the necessity of putting full URL paths to images and files in the custom_functions.php file. If you use a lot of images from your /custom/images folder, it can be a real pain going through the file updating the URLs.

But you really don’t have to do that — not if you use the WordPress bloginfo() tag!

The article Upgrade-Proof Your Site with the bloginfo() Tag in the “Tips” section shows you how to use the tag to automatically put your Thesis path into URLs. That means that no matter what your Thesis folder is named, your URLs will always be up-to-date!

If you do a lot of work in the custom_functions.php file, this article is for you!

Upgrade-Proof Your Site with the bloginfo() Tag

Thesis has the reputation of being upgrade-proof. That is, you do not lose your work in the custom folder when you upgrade.

However, custom_functions.php and widgets require that you to enter the full file path to files and images. When you upgrade, you have to go back and change every full path to that of your new upgraded Thesis folder.

Or do you? Not if you use the WordPress tag bloginfo().

What is the bloginfo() tag?

We sometimes forget that WordPress has many functions and tags that are available for us to use, and bloginfo() is one of them.

The bloginfo() tag provides a great deal of information when used with its parameters, ranging from the title of the post or page, to the URL of the site’s feed. A full list of the parameters can be found on the WordPress Codex page for bloginfo().

The parameters we are looking at in this article are those that give you various file paths to your Thesis folder. The following list shows these, along with an example:

  • bloginfo(‘url’) = http://thesisthemetools.com
  • bloginfo(‘stylesheet_directory’) = http://thesisthemetools.com/wp-content/themes/thesis_151
  • bloginfo(‘stylesheet_url’) = http://thesisthemetools.com/wp-content/themes/thesis_151/style.css
  • bloginfo(‘template_directory’) = http://thesisthemetools.com/wp-content/themes/thesis_151
  • bloginfo(‘template_url’) = http://thesisthemetools.com/wp-content/themes/thesis_151

Note that none of the file paths have a trailing forward slash (/). Three of the parameters give essentially the same information: stylesheet_directory, template_directory, and template_url.

How to use bloginfo() in file paths

Essentially, you substitute the bloginfo() tag for the portion of the file path you want replaced. The basic syntax is:

	<?php bloginfo('PARAMETER'); ?>

For example, here is a full file path that might be used in custom_functions.php or a widget:

	<img src= "http://thesisthemetools.com/wp-content/themes/thesis_151/custom/images/icon-rss.gif" alt="RSS"/>

When I upgrade Thesis I would have to go back to my custom_functions.php file or widget and change this URL. But if I use bloginfo() with the “template_url” parameter, the new URL will be automatically picked up, like so:

	<img src= "<?php bloginfo('template_url'); ?>/custom/images/icon-rss.gif" alt="RSS"/>

The bloginfo() tag is a direct substitute for the file path. There is no need to put quotes around it.

Note that these examples have the PHP beginning and ending tags for use whenever PHP is not active. Of course, if PHP is active, you would leave them out.

How to use bloginfo() in widgets

Widgets can use bloginfo() too, but you have to have a plugin that provides PHP functionality in widgets. My favorite is Exec-PHP available from the WordPress plugins page or from the author’s plugin page.

All you have to do is download and activate the plugin and you have PHP functionality within your widgets (and posts, too). The method of using bloginfo() is the same as described above.

Conclusion

I encourage you to have a look at the bloginfo() page in the WordPress codex. The tag has many parameters that you can use to save you a lot of time and effort.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. Remember that your comments are always welcome, and that you can email me directly by clicking on the “Contact” button in the menu.

Two New Articles! Rotating Header Images and Upgrading Thesis

Today we continue to fill out our offering to you, gentle reader, with two great new articles:

Tutorial: Rotating Header Images” is found in the Tricks > Headers section. Rotating headers were a feature of Chris Pearson’s Cutline and Neoclassical themes. And now you can have them in Thesis! This easy-to-follow guide will have you up in no time. See them in action at my Thesis Demo site.

The latest addition to the Tips section is the detailed guide, “Upgrading Thesis.” Installing a Thesis upgrade can be a terrifying prospect for those of us who are less experienced. This article is the answer! Liberally sprinkled with illustrations, it takes you step-by-step through the Thesis upgrade process.

On tap are even more articles for you, such as how to install WordPress and tools for color schemes. Don’t turn that dial!

Upgrading Thesis

Upgrading Thesis can be a daunting task, especially if you have little experience with WordPress, FTP programs, or file permissions. But updating Thesis is not hard, and this guide offers step-by-step instructions along with plenty of illustrations to help you. The tutorial follows the standard Thesis upgrade process.

If you follow the instructions in this guide, after upgrading Thesis you will have two fully functioning installations of Thesis: the old one, and the newly upgraded one. This is a good thing. If anything goes wrong with the upgrade, you will have your old installation to fall back on. After you are sure the upgrade is working properly you can delete the old installation, if you wish.

Before you start the installation

1. Download the Thesis zip file from DIYthemes and unzip it on your computer. There will be a Thesis folder after you do so.
2. Be sure you know how to change file permissions. If you’re uncertain, read the article “How to Change File and Folder Permissions.
3. Make sure you know how to upload files. (I’m not being silly. There are a number of support questions in the Forum from upgraders who can’t upload files!) If you use an FTP program on your computer, usually you can just drag the folder from your computer onto the proper place in your FTP program and drop it. If you are using cPanel or a similar host program, refer to “File Management Using cPanel.”

If you haven’t thought about an FTP program for your computer yet, maybe it’s time to do so. Check out the articles “FTP Programs and Text Editors for Windows Users” or “FTP Programs and Text Editors for the Mac” for free FTP and editor programs. They will make file operations and customization a lot easier.

4. Read all the instructions below before you start.

Now, for the DIYthemes instructions and my comments:

1. Back up the /custom folder from your existing Thesis installation to your hard drive.

The full instruction states:

1. Back up the /custom folder from your existing Thesis installation to your hard drive. Also, if you’ve uploaded your own images to the /rotator folder, then you’ll want to back that up, too.

1. Create a folder on your computer to hold your /custom folder and /rotator folder.

2. Copy the entire /custom folder to your new computer folder. If you have your own images in the /rotator folder, copy it, too. Do not copy individual files!

2. Upload the new Thesis 1.5.1 folder to your /wp-content/themes folder.

Figure 1: The /wp-content and /themes folders
Figure 1: The /wp-content and /themes folders

1. Locate the /wp-content folder in your root directory. Inside it will be a folder called /themes. The folder structure will look like Figure 1.

2. Upload the entire Thesis folder you unzipped on your computer to the /themes folder. Do not upload individual files! There are many problems reported on the Thesis Support Forum where people have uploaded individual files instead of the entire Thesis folder. It just doesn’t work!

Figure 2: Thesis has been uploaded to the /themes folder
Figure 2: Thesis has been uploaded to the /themes folder

3. When you are finished, you will see the /Thesis folder within the /themes folder, as in Figure 2.

3. Copy the /custom folder you backed up in Step 1, and paste it into the new Thesis 1.5.1 folder.

Figure 3: Thesis custom folder has been renamed
Figure 3: Thesis custom folder has been copied

1. There will be a /custom-sample folder in the new Thesis folder you uploaded in step 2. Delete it, as it will not be needed.

2. Copy the entire /custom folder from your computer into the /thesis folder.

3. If you copied your /rotator folder to your computer in step 1, you have a choice how to proceed: You can delete the /rotator folder in the new Thesis installation, then copy the /rotator folder from your computer to the /thesis folder; or you may overwrite the new /rotator folder with the /rotator folder from your computer and deal with the error dialog. I recommend the first way, since there is no chance of corrupted or missing files.

Figure 4: The Thesis folder and all its files and folders
Figure 4: The Thesis folder and all its files and folders

When you are done, your Thesis folder should look like Figure 4. If it doesn’t, I recommend you delete it and start over.

4. Set the permissions of your new layout.css file (located in the root folder of Thesis 1.5.1) to 666.

Figure 5: The layout.css file and the file dialog
Figure 5: The layout.css file and the file dialog

1. Find the layout.css file within your /Thesis folder and highlight it.

2. Most FTP programs allow you to right-click on the file to bring up a dialog similar to the one in Figure 5. Choose “Get Info,” “File Properties,” or similar wording. Refer to the cPanel article mentioned above if you are using that program.

Figure 6: Changing the file permissions on layout.css
Figure 6: Changing the file permissions on layout.css

3. A file properties dialog will pop up like the one in Figure 6. Choose “Permissions” or similar wording.

4. If there is a box that you can enter the file permission numbers, enter 666. If not, set file permissions to Owner: Read, Write; Group: Read, Write; and Others: Read, Write. “Owner,” “Group,” and “Others” may be worded differently, but they will be close enough to figure out.

5. Click the “Apply,” “Save,” “OK” or similar button to save your changes.

5. Change the permissions of your /custom/cache folder to 775.

The full instructions read:

5. [optional] If you’d like to give Thesis the ability to auto-crop thumbnail images for you, then you’ll want to change the permissions of your /custom/cache folder to 775.

Trust me, you will want to have Thesis to do this for you, so you need to change the permissions!

Figure 7: Location of the /cache folder within the /custom folder
Figure 7: Location of the /cache folder within the /custom folder

1. Locate the /cache folder. Open up your /custom folder. The /cache folder is inside the /custom folder within your /Thesis folder as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 8: Changing the file permissions on the /cache folder
Figure 8: Changing the file permissions on the /cache folder

2. Use the same procedure you did when changing the layout.css file’s permissions: Highlight the /cache folder, right-click on it, and get to the “Permissions” panel in the file dialog.

3. If there is a box that you can enter the file permission numbers, enter 775. If not, set file permissions to Owner: Read, Write, Execute; Group: Read, Write, Execute; and Others: Read, Execute. Note that Others: Write will be the only option left unchosen. “Owner,” “Group,” and “Others” may be worded differently, but they will be close enough to figure out.

4. Click the “Apply,” “Save,” “OK” or similar button to save your changes.

6. Inside your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes, and then activate Thesis 1.5.1.

1. To get to your Administration panel, type “your-domain-name/wp-admin” in your browser. For example, I type in the following to get to the Thesis Theme Tools Admin panel:

http://thesisthemetools.com/wp-admin

2. From your Administration panel click on “Appearance,” then on “Themes.”

Figure 9: The themes panel with the Thesis theme
Figure 9: The themes panel with the Thesis theme

3. Click on the Thesis theme image. You will be taken to a simulation of how it will look (but believe me, it never looks right!). Click on the button to make Thesis active.

4. You will be taken to the Thesis Options panel. Although it’s not strictly necessary, click on the “Big Ass Save” button at the bottom of the panel.

7. Visit the Design Options page and hit the Big Ass Save Button.

The full instruction reads:

7. Visit the Design Options page, ensure that Thesis is not giving you a warning about the file permissions on your layout.css file, and then hit the Big Ass Save Button.

1. From the Admin panel, click on Appearance > Design Options.

2. If you have not successfully changed the permissions on your layout.css file, you will get a warning about it. You must correct this to proceed.

3. Click the Big Ass Save button to complete the installation.

I hope these instructions have been clear and helpful. Feel free to make a comment, or if you want to email me, click on the “Contact” button in the nav bar.

©2009 Michael L Nichols. All rights reserved.

What next?

Your comments are always welcome, and are important to this blog’s community! Leave a comment now, or read the comments.

You can find several related articles in the “Related Articles” list below. In the footer you will find a lists of Popular Posts, Recent Posts, and you may browse by Categories, or tags. There’s also a Google Custom Search box to help you find just what you want.

Get free updates by RSS or email!

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to article updates, using an RSS reader, or by email. It’s free and is a great way to make sure you don’t miss a single article! I also invite you to follow me on Twitter!

Why not share this article with others!

Share this article with your friends using your favorite social media service, such as StumbleUpon, or Digg. Check out the icons below under “Share This Article With Others” for other social media, including del.icio.us, Technorati, Sphinn, Friendfeed, FaceBook, MySpace andLinkedIn! You can also email or print the article, and even tweet it using Twitter!