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Easier Theme Upgrades

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Do you find upgrading themes to be a pain? To be honest, I don’t upgrade themes very often if at all but if you do, there is a newly created plugin that ought to make the process much easier on you. It’s called Easy Theme Upgrades and was developed by Chris Jean of iThemes. It’s quite simple to use. Upon giving it a test run this morning, it performed flawlessly without any errors. I also confirmed that the backup zip file contained the changes I made to the files before they were deleted. This is very handy considering many people hack their themes to bits and pieces. This method insures that you don’t lose those changes forever but instead, can go into the archived files to copy and paste your bits into the new version. One of the biggest fears in upgrading a theme is the fact that you’ll lose all your changes. Not anymore thanks to this plugin.

This plugin will soon make it onto the WordPress plugin repository and is not tied strictly to the themes that iThemes offers. I wanted to take a moment to say that a plugin such as this could have easily been released to only iThemes customers to make it as easy as possible for them to upgrade their products but instead, they have released this to the entire WordPress community. Thanks!

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  1. John P (1 comments.) says:

    This is a great idea. The best thing that ever happened to the theme I use is that it’s no longer supported so I don’t have to dread receiving the update note in my feed reader.

  2. manga (24 comments.) says:

    Nice.

    That would indeed make editing themes a lot easier.

    So that you won´t have to think about the updates or having to create child themes or anything. Just do the changes you want and then let the files be and when you update you have access to your old files and can make it look the same again.

  3. Ipstenu (31 comments.) says:

    I’ve been using child themes for 2 years, once I realized how freakin’ awesome they are. I’m not sure I’d ever have a use for this, but I can see a lot of the less techy of us loving this.

  4. George Burley says:

    You still have to do your changes over again… i’m not sue how this makes it easier. I guess it makes it easy NOT to forget to keep a log of your changes. Easy Theme Upgrade Backups is a better name.

  5. Len (24 comments.) says:

    I wrote about this a few days ago and think it is a very cool plugin especially for the “less techy” crowd as Ipstenu calls them.

  6. Lars Tong Strömberg (14 comments.) says:

    Definitely think there´s a spot to fill for a plugin like this. However, WordPress should have been coded out of the box as Thesis is, – all customizations kept as isolated as possible.

  7. Viper007Bond (91 comments.) says:

    I use SVN. I have a checked out copy of my WordPress theme on my local computer which I’ve modified. When the author releases a new version, I can svn up and then fix any collisions. :)

    • Viper007Bond (91 comments.) says:

      And yes, I could use a child theme, however then I’d need to port any updates into my child theme files. I find it easier to port in my minor modifications instead.

    • Len (24 comments.) says:

      I agree, SVN is the way to go. But I suspect most casual bloggers have never even heard of SVN never mind how to use it. :)

  8. gestroud (4 comments.) says:

    I can easily see how this plugin would be helpful to casual users who make light modifications to the themes they use on their sites. It’s actually a great idea. In my case, I’ve modified the themes used on my sites so heavily that it would take hours to re-create a theme if it was ever updated. :-(

  9. Sport (2 comments.) says:

    I often find myself editing core files in Dreamweaver because of the multiple layers of ctrl-z (undo) is much better than working in WordPress alone. In fact, I rarely use the WP back end to edit files, I just connect to FTP thru DW.

  10. Chris Jean (2 comments.) says:

    I created this plugin due to the fact that we released a theme core that has frequent updates to provide feature and API enhancements. We recommend that all of the theme users keep all their modifications in a child theme. So while we’ve lessened the pain of having to customize the theme again after upgrading, people were still having issues with quickly and reliably upgrading the parent/core theme.

    The plugin not only makes a backup of the current theme in order to upload a new one, but it also puts the site into a maintenance mode during the period of time the upgrade takes. While my testing shows that this period between removing the old directory and having WordPress install the new directory is a fraction of a second, it is still a fraction of a second that the site could be hit during. For most of our customers, this is a boon and definitely makes upgrades easier.

    I’m sure that as more theme developers start to latch onto the idea of child theme support, having such an easy way to upgrade themes will be seen as very beneficial.

    Oh… This plugin also allows for plugin upgrades through the Plugins > Add New > Upload feature. While plugins on the repo can be upgraded very easily, the same cannot be said of those that are not.

  11. Saksham Talwar (3 comments.) says:

    Its a great time saver as well as enable us to upgrade theme easily and safely.. I used to think about such a plugin, is there one for these purposes? But now the thought has come TRUE! Thanks to iThemes…!

  12. Steve Media (6 comments.) says:

    If this plugin could somehow alert you that your has an upgrade available – perhaps via the dashboard, AND if if would let you know that the parent of your child theme has an update available – then I would use it.. Right now my WP installs give a little red flag on my plugins toolbar during dashboard view to let me know that an upgrade is available – however I have yet to see that happen with the themes / appearance tab – I bet most people never know there is an upgrade available.
    I like the backup idea, does it save to the server? Also give you the option to download a backup?
    I’d love to see a tool that would scan the files and show the differences in the new files, it would make it easier to find the mods we made.

  13. Andrew Edmonds (9 comments.) says:

    When I first read this post I thought maybe some whizkid had found a way to pull the users changes made to a theme and copy them into a new theme so all the work is done for us, but then I realised with different files for different themes this would be nigh on impossible. I’m still planning on changing my theme soon as I don’t like the comments feature so this plugin WILL come in useful.



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