Would you guys recommend to use WordPress child themes?
there is a child theme already on the TF market (Improvement – Genesis Child Theme), or perhaps there are more but I didn’t notice them. take a look at the sales, comments, speak with the author…
I don’t want to sell child themes. I will include always one child theme in my main theme so the user can customize it to his/her needs and when I publish an update he/she doesn’t need to change 100 files.
I think it’s a good idea in general, but it still poses problems with template overrides. For example, if they override your header.php file in the child theme, and you make an update to the header file in your new release, those changes won’t exist in their child theme, so you’re back to the same problem (or worse, the differences cause the theme to break with the updated files).
I think to mitigate this type of effect, you can put as much functionality as possible into non-template files like functions.php, and utilize them via action hooks. Better yet, if you provide appropriate filters and hooks in your theme, users can update the functionality they need at a more granular level without overriding entire templates. Of course, that assumes a certain amount of expertise on the users’ part.
In the end, I think having child themes as the preferred customization technique is a good idea (much better than direct theme edits), but it won’t alleviate all headaches unfortunately.