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An update on theme updates

by Andy Adams on September 13, 2012 / 6 comments

Over time, even WordPress themes can show their age. As the months roll by after a theme is released, we slowly build a list of improvements and bug fixes for that theme. Sometimes we miss a small styling bug. Other times, we decide to wait and see on a feature.

Regardless of the nature of the improvements, we make a commitment to keeping our theme collection up to date by providing bug fixes, new features, and interface updates from time to time, so that users buying themes today get the same quality experience users had yesteryear, when the themes were originally released.

Until recently, we would do theme updates every 2-3 months. Every theme was updated at the same time, which lead to a number of issues:

  • The gap between updates was long, meaning lower priority bugs could sit on the queue for months.
  • New theme development would halt for a month or two at a time as we waded through update tickets.
  • Only bugs would be addressed, and even worse, only bugs that were reported. We never had a chance to review the themes for improvements that customers may not ever mention.

Knowing this, we started discussing ways to improve both our process and our communication with our customers. Here’s what we’ve come up with:

  • We’ll no longer be doing “batched” quarterly updates. Instead, we’ll be approaching bug fixes in smaller amounts every week.
  • Every so often, we’ll be approaching one of our older themes for a week (or two) of improvements. The focus here won’t be on bug fixes, but instead on updating interfaces and adding features.
  • We’ll publish our theme updates more regularly on the blog. Ideally, with every update to the theme we’ll have a post to let you know about the changes. We’ll of course use some discretion here — obscure bug fixes or stylistic tweaks will probably not get their own announcements.

We think these changes will improve the quality of our themes and our communication. The piece we’re most excited about is our focus on improvements instead of only bug fixes. We try to design our themes to be timeless, but web development and WordPress move quickly, so we think it is important to work to keep our themes current and sharp.

Now that we’ve described our new processes, I should probably mention the changes to some of our themes that we’ve released in the last few weeks!

Avid

  • Added custom background support so you can choose your background color.
  • Image and gallery posts now fall back to the first uploaded image when no featured image set.

Duet

  • Standard posts now can show featured image headers.
  • Added an option to turn off special archive view.

Anthem

  • All images are now large by default to mimic the demo site’s look.

Shelf

  • Changed image post functionality to have fallbacks if featured image not set.

Traction

  • Removed advertising and sidebox custom code options.
  • Note: If you use the advertising options, please be aware that updating Traction to 2.6 will remove ads from your header and sidebar.

Titan

  • Removed advertising options.
  • Note: If you use the advertising options, please be aware that updating Titan to 2.4.7 will remove ads from your sidebar.

Vigilance

  • Removed sidebar imagebox.
  • Moved banner image to use WordPress custom header functionality.
  • Note: If you use the sidebar imagebox option, please be aware that updating Vigilance to 2.4.7 will remove images from your sidebar.

We’ve made other small changes and fixes to Portfolio, Linen, Photography, and Chalk. You can find more information in the changelog, which is included with your theme zip file. Fixes and changes to React will be coming soon.

We think this new approach is a big step in the right direction, but we’d love any feedback you have on our themes, our process, or our communication. Thanks for your feedback and continued support!

6 Comments

  1. Tina Narsey

    Hello – can you let me know what are the changes and fixes to the Portfolio theme? We are launching a big campaign with this theme and want to double check if we need to update the theme or not as we’ve customised it so don’t want to have to do it all over again…

    Thanks
    Tina

  2. Andy Adams

    Hey Tina,

    It’s hard to say without knowing what version you’re coming from, but in your theme package there is a CHANGELOG.txt file (located in the /includes/ folder) that can explain the differences per-version. Most recently, we’ve added retina support to many of the theme’s image assets, as well as various other small fixes. Let me know if you have any questions!

  3. shelly

    We purchased the Linen theme. Which worked wonderfully until today. For some reason the custom logo displays a broken link icon. I have tried reloading the logo image. I don’t know what has gone wrong or how to fix it. Can you please help me?

  4. Andy Adams

    Hey shelly,

    Head over to our support forums (see the link above) and post a question, and we’ll be happy to help! Thanks!

  5. AGIS FASSEAS

    Hi

    Can you please show me how to download the latest update for Traction.
    Best

    Agis

  6. Andy Adams

    Hey Agis,

    You can grab the latest version from your downloads page. If you’re having trouble accessing your downloads, send us an email and we’ll sort it out!

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