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kailoon Reviewer says

Possible to include the changelog with the updates? I mean, on the update page.

Some (most) users might heavily customize the theme files, so, the update note must be very well written. Users might think that it is alright to update, especially when the user is not a developer.

I think direct implementation into our themes is the best way to do it. Providing there is an option to turn it off.

So, we create the standards.

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duotive says
kailoon said
Possible to include the changelog with the updates? I mean, on the update page.

Some (most) users might heavily customize the theme files, so, the update note must be very well written. Users might think that it is alright to update, especially when the user is not a developer.

I think direct implementation into our themes is the best way to do it. Providing there is an option to turn it off.

So, we create the standards.

I suggest another idea, the posibility to teach customers that the best way to edit a theme is using a child theme. That way they can update the theme whenever they want.

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Orbital_Themes says

I agree that there should be some kind of notification that installing updates can undo all the user changes.

Now, we could make a switch in theme options to turn the notifications off so that the developer customizing the template doesn’t have to deal with his customers breaking the site by updating (if the theme has been heavily customized).

As duotive said, we cannot be held responsible for updates breaking all the customizations. Changing theme files is not the way to go when customizing, and if some developers are so lazy as to not take 5 minutes and learn how to use child themes it’s their fault, not ours.

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Kriesi says

Hm true, I can already see the mails in which users tell me they have updated the theme and didn’t know that it would overwrite the modifications, because the developer he hired never told him…

The smartest solution would be to create a copy of the current theme, pack it into a backup zip file and then update. that way the user can always revert back easily in case something went wrong…

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Parallelus says
Kriesi said
Hm true, I can already see the mails in which users tell me they have updated the theme and didn’t know that it would overwrite the modifications, because the developer he hired never told him…

Totally agree. There is a very high percentage of entry level users with WP due to it’s being perceived as “easy”, extreme popularity and high availability. That’s why you must explain everything in detail, especially if it’s gong to do something like overwrite their changes.

I get asked daily if updating a theme will delete their content. I usually answer with something like, “Not if you do it on a Thursday. Thursdays are safe.” :)

Kriesi said
The smartest solution would be to create a copy of the current theme, pack it into a backup zip file and then update. that way the user can always revert back easily in case something went wrong…

Again… Really like that idea.

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sevenspark Volunteer moderator says
Kriesi said
The smartest solution would be to create a copy of the current theme, pack it into a backup zip file and then update. that way the user can always revert back easily in case something went wrong…

That’s an excellent idea. That’ll save a lot of people a whole lot of strife.

Parallelus said
I get asked daily if updating a theme will delete their content. I usually answer with something like, “Not if you do it on a Thursday. Thursdays are safe.” :)

Hahaha :) Clearly, this little-known fact should be in some general WordPress Theme FAQ somewhere

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der says
Kriesi said
The smartest solution would be to create a copy of the current theme, pack it into a backup zip file and then update. that way the user can always revert back easily in case something went wrong…

I think this would be perfect.

Regarding what @duotive said about child themes. I also thing this would be a great idea. But the child theme advantages should be exposed (or enforced) by ThemeForest, not by authors themselves. This provides an advantage since the benefits would be explained on a per-theme basis, not on a per-author basis.

Also, including a changelog of updates (as @kailoon said) would be a good idea to include as a link. Something like “What’s changed since version 1.0.2 for example”. This could point to a changelog page, which could be automatically generated by using data provided by theme authors. This data could be collected by adding a textarea on the theme edit screen, so authors can specify what has changed in this version (in a detailed way).

The changelogs page could be placed next to the “FAQs” tab on the theme’s product page.

Another thing that crossed my mind, is that the update scheme should be versioning-scheme-agnostic. This means that if you use x.x.x or x.x or whatever versioning system authors use, the envato update plugin should be able to manage these with ease. Or, maybe they can provide a versioning scheme so authors use it instead.

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Parallelus says
der said
Another thing that crossed my mind, is that the update scheme should be versioning-scheme-agnostic. This means that if you use x.x.x or x.x or whatever versioning system authors use, the envato update plugin should be able to manage these with ease. Or, maybe they can provide a versioning scheme so authors use it instead.

I think it will work regardless or your style. The way programs figure out version number is a standardized formula. As long as you follow some kind of basic structure like:

[major update] . [minor update] . [bug fix / style change] . [ spelling correction, etc. ]

That’s a general methodology. Just as long as you’re not doing some crazy reversal of those number or something it should be fine.

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Jason says
Kriesi said
That sounds great Jason! One question: could you guys write the plugin in a way that we can easily implement it directly into our themes so the user doesn’t have to install a plugin?

Yes I’m sure you’ll be able to rip the code out of the plugin and integrated it directly into your theme with a little bit work. But it might be best to wait a little while after it’s first rolled out before investing too much time adding it into your theme as I’m sure we’ll make a few tweaks to the service post launch.

Regarding the questions around warning users before updating themes if they’ve customized it, we’ll have a simple alert to tell them to backup everything before proceeding and maybe a awesome animated gif like the following for good measure :D

Phase 2 & 3 of this project are extending the service for plugins & childthemes, so I’d recommend putting some time into looking at to making childthemes moving forward as it mitigates a lot of issues around updating themes.

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Sara_p says

This option are now active? I try to upload the file in this way, but i see the error

““Optional WordPress Theme style.css is missing Theme Name header”

I checked and my style.css is okay, there is the theme name header…

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