Cage Match!

Battle of the Titans: Premium Theme Framework Smackdown

I have provided updates for the problems reported with each theme on their pages in this report. We can provide one update per framework as long as something significant has changed (as in a new release of the theme).

For a few days now, I’ve been looking closely at the four major theme frameworks. There are many premium themes. I, in fact, for the time, am using one from Woo Themes that I’ve modified to fit here. However, there are only four that I see as worthy competitors among the elite theme frameworks.

I will be using affiliate links when referencing all of them just because, if you choose to use any of them based on this article, I don’t mind collecting a commission fee. This does not indicate my endorsement of any of them. In fact, quite the opposite. I expect you’ll find me to be a hard, but objective critic of all of them.

The four theme frameworks: Thesis 1.7, Headway 1.6.1, Genesis 1.1.1, and Builder 2.3.11.

Report Scope and Prism

When I went about gathering data on this post, I heard a lot of back and forth from those in the WordPress community about why they liked or disliked each of these themes. Some of the issues were restrictive licensing that flies in the face of the open society that is WordPress. Other things were lingering effects from the Great Premium Theme Pissing Matches™ of 2008. Still others were about how user-friendly the themes were for users. In this report, I put all of that aside and look strictly from the perspective of infrastructure, data, security and WordPress core feature support.

All metrics that have been taken were created equally via a local installation of WordPress (eliminating network latency), with no plugins installed, 10,000 blog posts and 10,000 pages. The data points were taken in the context of a stress test and may or may not reflect actual usage. However, large scale stress is something to be concerned with for any site that is large or plans to become large. How the server handles database transactions, and file load is an integral part of a long term strategy. Each theme was deployed with no configuration changes beyond default settings provided by the theme. The results are fascinating.

This is a seven page article so click through to each new page to read the analysis of each theme.

Photo by icantcu

Technosailor.com Review and Disclosure Policy

At Technosailor.com, we rarely do product or software reviews. Instead, it’s all about the actual benefit that comes to the business owner or entrepreneur from the product or service. Usually, it takes time for benefits or problems to come out. Though I am personally an early adopter of many technologies, I limit the number of reviews I actually do to the technologies that are going to significantly positively affect a company. Rarely do I go out of the way to get a review copy of anything.

Last week, I was invited by Sprint to attend the Washington, D.C. pre-launch event for the Palm Prē, the new smartphone that is supposed to be an iPhone killer. In advance, I asked for a review unit. It is difficult to know what the significance of a product is in the store. I need to use it for a period of time. I was not allowed to take a Prē home and that is fine. I am on a list and may get an opportunity down the road.

The conversation that night was around what kind of review I’d provide of the unit. Sprint never asked for a positive review but assumed I would provide a review and only wanted fairness out of me. I explained that in my role as a “signal filter”, I would not guarantee a review but I wouldn’t write a negative review. If it’s not a good product, then my audience does not need to even hear about it. The only reason they need to hear about a product is if the product is going to help them run their businesses better. For instance, if I agree to review Peet’s Coffee and they send me 6 half pound bags of different beans, I’m going to love the product. Big fan of Peets. But I’m not posting a review, positive or negative, on this site.

However, as a product that seems to perfectly straddle the world between the iPhone, the best consumer phone, and BlackBerry, the best business phone – the PrÄ“ is likely to get airtime somehow. It’s relevant. Reviews should always be relevant and not simply required.

Tangentially, the PrÄ“ and the “review copy” problem reared it’s ugly head between Techcrunch’s Mike Arrington and TWiT.tv’s Leo Laporte over the weekend.

I think it’s important for anyone who does product reviews of any kind to aggressively protect their ethical priorities. Make your disclosure policy overt and out there (as I am doing here). Let there be no opportunity for question. Reviews can be productive when they are disclosed, relevant to the audience (not simply relevant to your wallet if you do paid reviews) and handled with the utmost of caution. Failure to protect your integrity on this delicate issue can cause you to lose all credibility.

Keep it in mind.

Marketing 101: How Cloverfield Failed to Deliver on Expectations

Earlier this evening, I joined several other social media type folks down in D.C. for a first night showing of Cloverfield, the film that was so secretive it didn’t have a name other than 01182008 until sometime last month. The film trailers were released on the internet sometime last year and bloggers, and movie folks started buzzing about what the heck the moview as about.

The trailer did not give any information. Nothing since Snakes on the Plane made the net buzz, quite the way early trailers of Cloverfield did. And this is where things went wrong.

You see, the viral marketing of this movie was phenomenal. Give people something curious enough to talk about and they will. Grip them with camcorder shots of NYC being destroyed by something, and then let them start discussing among themselves. Give people a compelling reason to show the trailer to a friend, and you’ve got money in the bank.

Not so fast.

All Cloverfield’s marketing campaign did was drum up expectations and, as any political candidate will tell you in this election season, it’s important to moderate expectations in case of failure. Cloverfield did not.

Spoiler alert.

The movie starts out odd enough with the screen shrunk to less than a quarter of its size, causing viewers to think there was something wrong with the theatre. This quickly adjusted as we are introduced to a cast of characters that are all friends. Well, except Rob and Beth who apparently have been shacking up a bit. Rob is going away to Japan to take a new position with a company there and his friends are throwing a surprise party for him.

Beth shows up looking like she’s looking for a best gown waiting to have a wardrobe malfunction award with her new loverboy, Travis. The rumors spread among the friends causing an uneasy Beth to leave the party. Then the drama begins.

Some kind of “earthquake” occurs, the power goes out, people pile into the street where the Statue of Liberty’s head comes flying in some miles from New York Harbor into the streets. Right.

Fast forward a bit.

Some kind of freak monster of the Godzilla variety appears to be ravaging the streets of New York. Little spawn creatures a la Gears of War bite people and that does something really gross that I can’t identify. Because, you know there’s these crazy monsters out there that love to ravage New York and all.

Rob tells his friends that he knows what he’s doing and he’s going to go find Beth who is in some Columbus Circle apartment high rise. Again, the movie never explains how Beth and Travis manage to get from Lower Manhattan to 59th St/Columbus Circle in a matter of minutes, but then again, the story probably isn’t meant to be believable.

The movie is a little difficult to handle. It takes all the horror film stereotypes (Don’t walk toward the light, girls running around in the midst of chaos looking fantastically beautiful and, oh… nice heels!). Anyone seeing it should definitely get the back row as well, unless you like motion sickness (the film is all filmed by a camcorder).

Then of course, there was the end (or lack thereof). IT was such a horrible ending that everyone in the theatre stayed in their seats certain that there would be an encore after the credits. J.J. Abrams couldn’t even give us that.

There are so many unfinished storylines. So many questions. An incomplete plot and, oh yeah, it cost me $10.75. I should have paid $5 because I only got half the movie.

Spoiler end.

Bottom line is that the movie left everyone with high expectations. In the end, our money was stolen as expectations were not fulfilled. We were used for our bully pulpit and were not repaid.

The good part was that I saw the first trailer for the new Star Trek movie. That looks hot.

0.5 stars.