A Comparison between Jishnu and Arjuna

The same, but different. Faster on the front-end and more powerful on the back-end. That was the philosophy behind Jishnu.

On the surface, Jishnu and Arjuna look the same in most ways. In fact, one of the goals I had with Jishnu was to keep the same look and feel so that it could be swapped right in without site visitors necessarily realizing there had even been a theme change. SRS Solutions created a beautiful looking theme with Arjuna, and the intent was really to make it faster – not to create a whole new design. That said, a number of customization settings have been added if you *do* want to make your site look a little more unique.

To give you a quick idea of the same-but-different philosophy in action, take a look at the comment bubbles:

Arjuna comment bubbles

Arjuna comment bubbles

Jishnu Comment Bubbles

Jishnu comment bubbles

Arjuna used a background image for the comment bubbles. It was one of the smaller images, but still an extra browser request. The Jishnu bubbles on the other hand were recreated entirely with CSS. You’ll also notice that Jishnu uses a more vivid grey for comments (while trackbacks keep the old color). If you pick a different color scheme in the Customizer, Jishnu automatically calculates a slightly lighter version of that color for the trackbacks. Though if you really wanted them to be hot pink regardless as to the customizer color you picked, you could do that by plugging some custom CSS into the Advanced Options section.

So it’s the same, but different.


Lets dig into just a few key differences though (these are from a few builds ago):

WordPress compatibilityUp to WordPress 3.4 (old jQuery breaks editor functionality in 3.5, WordPress admin footer floats in middle of settings page).

Can be user-modded to work with 3.5.

WordPress 3.5
Download size of the theme on a comments page (gzip enabled)86.6KB (+jQuery+gravatars)21.1KB (+jQuery+ gravatars)
Total theme image requests for users19 images (68.4KB)1 image (under 5KB)
Browser requests (image requests, js requests, etc) on comments page23 (+jQuery+gravatars)4 (+jQuery+gravatars)
IE Supportfallback theme for IE6, others look good.no IE6 support (harsh fallback support). IE7-9 have slight fallback support but tend to look somewhat plain and non-curvy.

IE10 is required to get the same look/design as Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Opera/etc.

Custom backgrounds4 gradients + color picker (limited to solid colors)Uses WordPress “customizer” feature, allowing presets, or the choice of any color via the color picker. Can use background images if desired.
Header background10 color choices, Arjuna design only. Can upload image (built-in uploader). Text colors tied to header color (can be changed with custom CSS)10 presets plus a color picker to choose any color you’d like.  A few Jishnu CSS designs. Can upload image through WordPress header feature. Text color can be chosen with WordPress color picker.
Sidebar “social” buttonsRSS, Ext RSS, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedInRSS, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube
Extended/custom featuresCustom CSS. Can enable/disable “upgrade” message for old versions of IE.Custom CSS. Can enable/disable (and even customize) “upgrade” message for old versions of IE. A number of common HEAD tweaks can be enabled with checkboxes.Custom HTML can be added in a few areas rather easily (head, before /body, top of page, before footer, and more).
Comment and trackback displaysSeparate tabs to show comments or trackbacks – functionality can be quirky if comments are divided into multiple pages. If comments/trackbacks are divided into multiple pages, each page will start at #1.Comments and Trackbacks are given different shades of color (based on the colors you have chosen for the scheme). Option can be enabled not to number comments/trackbacks if divided into multiple pages.
Pages/Posts “previous/next” post displayButtons that simply say “previous” and “next”.Text that displays the name/title of the previous or next post.
Comment form input boxesUses default values (“Your name”) inside the form. Uses javascript for handling. No clear indication whether a field is required or not. If required field is left empty, form submits but fails.Uses HTML5 to display placeholder text. Optional/Required indication given for fields. Required fields are flagged to the web-browser too, so if a user neglects to fill in a field, their browser will highlight the field and tell them it is required rather than attempting to submit the form. Fall-back text used for old versions of IE that do not support HTML5.
Comment form plugin compatibilityDoes not use default comment_form function (technically has it in the code, presumably so it passes the theme test but the theme does not ever use it and instead uses a custom one). Uses non-standard names for fields. Many plugins (ie dynamic Gravatar displays when filling out comment box) will not work.Uses required comment_form function. Uses standard WordPress comment fields names and follows current WordPress guidelines for implementing and modifying the form. Most plugins should work correctly.
Button-styles2, depending on background color selected.Dynamically generated based on the color scheme you have picked.
Template file accessibility and documentation.Majority are 3 levels deep and can not be accessed with the built-in WordPress template editor. Documentation is rather basic. Template layout can be confusing.Shifted around so that all files are easily editable. Increased documentation to make things easier for those who want to edit the theme or create a child theme. Cleaned up layout (there were a number of calls to template files that were only a few lines long and only called by one template). Each is documented at the top to list which other templates call it.
Default Speed Test scores on a simple post with 1 comment (without plugins, though using proper .htaccess rules)Google PageSpeed: 88% YSlow!: 87%
(this can vary heavily depending on your server configuration)
Google PageSpeed: 95% YSlow!: 94%
(this can vary heavily depending on your server configuration)


There are many changes beyond those, but here’s the short comparison the way I see it:

  • Jishnu is oriented towards sites that put more value into fast page loading than into backwards-compatibility for older versions of IE. It is highly flexible, offering a lot of common (but optional) performance-related options that you would normally have to go into the template files to add. The parts of the look you-can-not-change varies in a few areas, so depending on your taste it might (or might not) be more appealing to you aesthetically. However there is much more of the look-you-can-change.
  • Arjuna is tried, tested, and true. The look is very consistent throughout. It doesn’t take advantage of cutting-edge HTML/CSS features, but is much more backwards-compatible with older versions of IE. For those willing to make the couple small changes for it work properly in WP3.5, it’s a solid, well-rounded theme.


Really, the best way to see the difference is to install both. See which you prefer.

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