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Vigilance 1.40 Arrives (in style)

By Drew Strojny on September 18, 2009

Very Important: If upgrading please read and follow the upgrade instructions carefully.

Download Version 1.40: PRO Members head to the member download area. Free users grab your copy from the free download page.

This is an exciting day for Vigilance! The release of version 1.40 comes a little over a year after the initial 1.0 release. Vigilance has come a long way since then and today it is taking a monumental step forward.

This is by far the biggest, boldest, and best update in Vigilance history. The list of features, enhancements, and bug fixes is enormous. The best part: no bloat. I was focused on keeping the code clean and lightweight. I was also determined to improve the aesthetics and usability of Vigilance with this release. Let’s take a look at what’s new.

What’s New?

New theme options page and framework

Theme Options
This is huge. The theme options page has been completely overhauled and is now sitting on top of a robust framework that allows you to extend the theme options in all kinds of exciting ways. Keep in mind this is not a true “theme framework” like Thematic or Carrington. Instead, think of it as a quicker and more powerful theme engine. The look of the options page has been completely refreshed with usability in mind. This is really something you need to see and experience for yourself to appreciate, so jump in there and take a look!

Comments refresh

Comments Refresh

This was a late addition but I am glad it made it into the release. The old comments looked great when you weren’t threading them, but when you started threading they started to look downright ugly. The new comments are streamlined and clean even with threaded comments turned on.


Vigilance is now ready to be translated into your language! The theme package now includes a .po and .mo file which makes it super simple to localize Vigilance into your native tongue. As soon as I start receiving completed translations I will post them on the downloads page. Please send all your completed translations to themes {at}

Complete list of changes

Here is a complete list of changes for version 1.40:

  • New Feature: Option to hide the static home link from the navigation menu.
  • New Feature: Include categories in your top navigation menu.
  • New Feature: New post_class() and body_class() functions allowing for easier CSS customizations.
  • New Feature: Vigilance is now internationalized and ready for localization.
  • New Feature: Brand new theme framework and theme options page.
  • New Feature: Child themes now inherit all files including images. Include all your customizations in one place and forget about it.
  • New Feature: Page/post specific images specified using custom fields now override the image state.
  • New Feature: A p.notice CSS class. Wrap your text in <p> class="notice"></p> tags and it will display as a yellow notice box like you see at the top of this post.
  • New Feature: Vigilance now automatically recognizes any admin level comments and notes them with a nicely styled red asterisk in the top right corner of the comment.
  • Performance Enhancement: Combined the remove browser default stylesheet with the master to improve loading time.
  • Performance Enhancement: Removed extra function call from footer to improve performance.
  • Performance Enhancement: Rewrote the banner and sidebar image functions to reduce code weight and improve load time.
  • Performance Enhancement: Converted sidebar list item to a sprite to improve load time.
  • Style Enhancement: Overhauled comment styling for a cleaner look.
  • Style Enhancement: Tweaked list item star for aesthetics, was tilted to much.
  • Style Enhancement: Reduced the font size of the subscribe to comments text.
  • Style Enhancement: Softened all of the lines for a cleaner look.
  • Style Enhancement: New slightly softer comment bubble color.
  • Style Enhancement: Removed links bold by default for a more polished look.
  • Style Enhancement: Softened the code background color.
  • Bugfix: Removed empty <ul> tags when secondary sidebars are empty.
  • Bugfix: The disable image hover background option no longer requires custom colors to be enabled.
  • Bugfix: Properly cleared the blockquote.
  • Bugfix: Removed extra list item image that is no longer in use.
  • Bugfix: Fixed select box top margin for dropdown categories and archives.
  • Bugfix: Fixed incorrectly named comments bubble image.
  • Bugfix: Fixed alert box padding.
  • Bugfix: Fixed image border class to work with default image insertion process.

Upgrade Instructions

Vigilance 1.40 has a ton of new features and enhancements and I am sure you can’t wait to take it for a test drive. Keep in mind, those new features and enhancements changed certain “core” functions of the theme. Therefore, you need to follow specific instructions if you are upgrading from an earlier version of Vigilance. Below you will find those instructions, please follow them carefully.

Important Note: Vigilance 1.40 requires WordPress version 2.8 or higher. Do not attempt to upgrade if you do not meet these requirements, the upgrade will fail.

Prep for the upgrade (do not skip this!)

  1. Backup Everything: Backup your database as well as your files before you do anything so you can restore if something goes wrong.
  2. Disable Plugins: Disable all your plugins, especially anything that caches.
  3. Take a snapshot: Take some screenshots or write down (with good old pen and paper) the order of your widgets in Appearance → Widgets and all your theme option settings. Nearly all your theme options will remain intact but it is a good idea to have them all recorded just in case.
  4. Offline time: Take your site offline using .htaccess and a maintenance page unless you don’t mind your visitors seeing a broken site for a few minutes.
  5. Rename your old theme folders: Change the name of your theme and child theme folders by appending them with _OLD (eg. rename vigilance to vigilance_OLD and myvigilance_PRO to myvigilance_PRO_OLD.

Install instructions for PRO members

If you are a PRO member head over to the member download area and grab Vigilance 1.40 and the new PRO child theme (version 1.30) and upload them both to your /wp-content/themes/ directory. Now go to Appearance → Themes and activate the new child theme (version 1.30). You are now installed and ready to go. Be sure turn off your maintenance page and read the “Wait, stuff is broken” section below.

Install instructions for free users

If you’re not a PRO member you have to wait a day or so to download the new version. The 1.40 download link will be posted here and on the free download page as soon as it shows up in the WordPress theme directory. The theme needs to be checked and posted by WordPress which usually takes 24 -48 hours. If you can’t wait that long sign-up for PRO membership to receive immediate access to the download.

When the link is up go ahead and download Vigilance 1.40 and upload it to your /wp-content/themes/ directory. If you are using Vigilance standalone go ahead and activate version 1.40 under Appearance → Themes. If you are using the free child theme go ahead and download, install, and activate the updated free child theme. You are now installed and ready to go. Be sure turn off your maintenance page and read the “Wait, stuff is broken” section below.

Wait, stuff is broken

The good news is your upgrade is complete. The bad news is your theme probably doesn’t look like it did before you upgraded. Luckily your problems fall into a few specific categories and we can remedy them quickly and easily.

My widgets are gone!

Indeed they are. Good thing we took that snapshot right? WordPress has also backed them up for you so don’t worry. We had to give the widget sidebars ID’s to properly internationalize the theme. Setting an ID causes WordPress to reset your widgets to “Inactive”. This is easily fixed. If you look under Appearance → Widgets you will see a big box labeled “Inactive Widgets” in the bottom left. Your old widgets have been transplanted here. Simply drag them back into your sidebars according to your snapshot. Now your widgets are back fighting the good fight.

My theme options are all screwed up!

Some of them probably are. Aren’t you thanking your lucky stars you took a snapshot of your theme options? Below is a list of the theme options that will almost certainly need to be re-applied.

  • Select boxes: All of the select box options have been reset. This includes: the Alert Box enable/disable option, the Custom Colors enable/disable option, the Top Banner image state option, the Sidebar image state option, and the Sidebar Feed box on/off switch. Make a quick run through these options and re-apply your original settings and save your changes.
  • Custom colors: Your custom colors are saved, you just need to make a quick change to get them working again. The custom colors use the new color picker widget which requires a hash symbol (#) in front of your HEX code. Go through your color values and add a # in front of each one and save your changes.
  • Categories in my navigation: You will see a bunch of new navigation menu items in your header. To get rid of them simply check the Navigation → Hide all categories checkbox and save your changes.

Where are my images?

If you don’t use a child theme and/or upgrade Vigilance directly from the WordPress admin then you are probably used to seeing your custom images disappear. Vigilance 1.40 comes with an exciting new feature that dynamically sets your image folders by looking for a child theme. This is fantastic news. Now all your images can stay “protected” in your child theme folder and you don’t have to worry about them being blown away when you upgrade. If you are using a child theme to power Vigilance your new image folders are inside the child theme’s vigilance_pro/images/ folder. Simply move all your images to the matching child theme folders and you will be up and running.

If you are using a standalone Vigilance installation then you need to move your images from your vigilance_OLD/images folder to your new vigilance/images. To avoid having to perform this step every time you upgrade use the PRO child theme or the free child theme.


  1. Jason

    Ah this is awesome work! I’ve become a huge fan of Vigilance for its clean and slick presentation – def one of the very best WordPress themes.

    Big respect to all at Jestro – I’m looking forward to upgrading at the weekend and getting my hands on the new features :)

  2. Rick

    wow… this is just bad. The entire idea behind using a child theme with a parent is that the parent can be upgraded WITHOUT breaking the child themes. Nice uprgade, but you really, really, really need to make things so that I can upgrade the main theme without redoing my child themes. Otherwise, frankly, I’m losing the main advantage of the feature.

  3. Drew Strojny

    Thanks for the feedback Rick.

    Believe it or not, your problem is actually solved with this release. Starting with version 1.40 all changes, images, etc. can stay self contained and protected in your child theme. With previous versions the images and certain template files were not protected, which made it inconvenient to upgrade the parent theme.

    I agree it is a pain to upgrade this time, and I apologize for that, but after you complete the upgrade to 1.40 you will not have to worry about upgrading the *parent* theme again.

  4. Rick

    Thanks. I posted a similar concern on the forums. You might want to make that really clear that this is a one-time pain as it makes a HUGE difference to me to hear that.

  5. Adam

    The words “oh yes!” literally jumped out of my mouth as I read the list of changes and enhancements Looking forward to installing the upgrade and diving in. Thanks so much, Drew!

  6. Drew Strojny

    You’re right, I should have made that more clear. I apologize for the inconvenience. The good news is we won’t have to worry about this going forward :)

  7. Moritz Hanebeck

    Nice work. Thank you!

    But I found a graphical mistake when the title of an article is 3-lines-long. In the widget-sidebar there is a second red arrow which is permanently shown. I hope you understand what I mean. You can see the problem on my Blog in the widget menu.

    But apart from that its a very nice theme.

  8. Kat

    Awesome, Drew! Big congrats and thank yous are in order. Makes my purchase of the PRO version all that more of a bonus deal. I’ve been upgrading and customizing several sites with the Pro versions of Vigilance and Titan.

    Upgraded to WordPress 2.8.4 with only a two little bobbles that were easily fixed. Looking forward to downloading and installing your new version.

    Made my day and it’s only 1:25 AM!

  9. joseph vella

    The vigilance theme is great. I want to use to pro version for my other business but can’t install the basic theme. I keep getting this error message:

    Fatal error: Call to undefined function: __construct()

  10. Drew Strojny

    Vigilance 1.40 requires PHP 5, ask your webhost to upgrade you. PHP 4 is no longer supported by the PHP team nor does it receive security updates.

  11. Matt Kreiling


    I just upgraded and I am happy that I won’t need to reset my banner images in the future. I downloaded a new child template and I couldn’t help but notice that it doesn’t automatically include an images directory.

    I assume I can just copy the parent theme’s image directory – will this or any file within it need updating in the future – ie rotate.php

    I am not yet a pro member, but if I get the go-ahead from my client, I will be going with your theme.

    Matt Kreiling

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