Anyone have experience with both the Vigilance and Thesis themes? I’m interested in how they stack up with each other in features, SEO, Customization, and general user experience. I can compare a list of bullet points, but it’s the application of them that is important.
I am the developer of Vigilance, so I may be a little biased 🙂 That being said I have not used Thesis in a live environment. I know they have done a bunch of great work to allow for a ton of customization “out of the box”.
Vigilance allows for a ton of customization as well, but probably not as much “out of the box” customization as Thesis. If you are planning to do any “serious” customization with either theme you are going to have to get your hands dirty with some code.
From an SEO standpoint I would say they are even, this is often an over-hyped feature that really comes down to using clean coding practices and adding some small SEO enhancements.
One of the great features of Vigilance from a user experience standpoint is the use of a child theme. This allows you to customize your theme without having to worry about overwriting your changes when you upgrade.
Anyway, hope that helps!
I have used both and I can tell you that free version of Vigilance is very, very good. It requires a little more customization, IMO, but many of the changes can be made in the admin without ever touching the code. The child theme feature is great, similar to the custom code portion of Thesis. I do like that much of the Vigilance changes (even code changes) can be made from WP Admin.
I don’t think there is a better free theme than Vigilance, but I also think you get what you pay for on Thesis. As good as Vigilance is, it is not quite Thesis.
I appreciate your kind words about Vigilance and your honesty. You did an excellent job of summarizing the pros and cons of each theme. I think it is great that WordPress users now have a well thought out and unbiased comparison of the two themes.
Ill toss my vote in for Vigilance – testing it right now and about to fork over the $40 bones to Jestro. Seems better than thesis that I have been running…and here is why:
Dynamic H1 tags – wow. Very cool. A few of my posts have jumped dozens of places up the google ranks because of this feature.
Cleaner code for Vigilance. Thesis is getting VERY bloated with its newest 1.5 version. It outputs a nasty 20k file for its backend interface that Vigilance doesn’t have. Sure 20k isn’t much but it can slow things a bit and I would rather have that 20k to place icons or pictures on my site.
* I hope the Vigilance designer keeps the code trim and avoids the temptation to include every custom option known to man. I see people using Thesis themes creating some horrible typography and annoying layouts “just because they can.” *
I also like the position of the article tags in Vigilance as wells as its comment bubble location. It cleaverly places beautiful white space around the post title.
Vigilance creates awesome lists from tag links and category links – OH I hope he never removes this feature. I used to hand code this into older themes (thesis does a list as well so in this reguard both themes are similar – Vigilance is cleaner looking and loads faster) and it was annoying as all heck.
Lastly, Vigilance handles complex plugins with much greater ease than Thesis does – by this I mean plugins that produce ajax, javascrip, or plugins that generate image galleries. Thesis is a headache to get working with some of these plugins but Vigilance hasn’t had trouble with any I have tossed at it so far.
The only other theme that has impressed me as much as Vigilance is Tarski – very lean and mean – but right now Vigilance is my favorite. Ill update this post with pictures and comparisons if anyone cares when I get back from work.
My .02 cents
Buddy and I just purchased Vigilance for use on one website – we are diving into the code and find it to be amazing. Not since Sandbox – no longer supported atm – have we seen stuff so well thought out.
Wow, thanks David! I really appreciate your kind words and thorough review. Very informative. This is turning into a helpful thread.
We plan on keeping Vigilance lean and clean so you won’t have to worry about us tossing in tons of extra features and bloating the code.
I would also like to note that Vigilance is a free GPL theme and Thesis is not. We give users the option to upgrade to a PRO membership and get unlimited support and additional features, but the theme itself is free to download and use.
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