New users will often try to get by with using their host’s cPanel software for file transfers and NotePad or TextEdit for editing the custom.css and custom_functions.php files. It’ll work, but it’s clunky and frustrating, at best.
There’s a better way. Two new articles just posted recommend free FTP and text editor programs for both the Mac and for Windows computers. These programs perform just as well as their paid counterparts and introduce a whole new level of productivity to the new Thesis user. The articles are:
For more than casual work on Thesis, you need to get separate programs for FTP file transfers and for editing your custom.css and custom_functions.php files. Once you have used separate programs on your computer for FTP and program file editing, you will wonder how you ever did without them
There’s an ongoing survey in the Announcements part of the DIYthemes Forums about which FTP programs and text editors people use. Based on the response of many Windows PC users, I feel confident recommending the following two free programs:
FileZilla for FTP file transfers
FileZilla is a free FTP file transfer program that will take the place of your having to do file transfers on your host’s cPanel or similar software. Using a separate program is a lot easier and more flexible, besides its having many more features than cPanel.
Although FileZilla is free, that doesn’t mean it’s crippled: it has a full list of features that compare favorably with paid programs. In particular, it:
Has an interface familiar to Windows users
Is easy to use, with drag-and-drop file transfers from and to your computer
Has all of the essential tools of site management
Allows easy changing of file permissions (essential for Thesis users)
Supports remote file editing (an advanced way to edit files directly on the server)
Although you could use NotePad on your computer to edit custom.css and custom_functions.php, it really wasn’t designed for editing source code files and shows it. Even Thesis OpenHook’s editor is very basic, and not suitable for more than occasional work.
A much better alternative is Notepad++, a free programming editor for Windows. Once again, just because Notepad++ is free doesn’t mean it’s not powerful and full-featured. Among the things you will most appreciate are:
Multiple documents and views can be open at the same time
Full drag-and-drop support
This small screenshot gives you an idea how the syntax coloring and line numbering look. There are many more screenshots on the Notepad++ site:
I hope you have been encouraged to get separate FTP and text editor programs. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed by either of these two recommended pieces of software. Please feel free to make a comment, or to email me using the “Contact” button at the top of the screen.
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