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Suffusion
Difficult to modify, forum support terrible (7 posts)

2 stars
  1. DangerousOldWoman
    Member
    Posted 9 months ago #

    I think the attraction of Suffusion is that people think they can design a site without knowing anything about CSS or PHP. Almost all Suffusion styling is done by choosing options from menus, altho anything not menu-selectable must be added as CSS in Custom Includes. New users rave about Suffusion because they feel they don't have to learn CSS or PHP and they post rave reviews before they run into the snags in this framework. It's true you can get by with the menus - until you want to do something a little different, not out of a can.

    The creator of Suffusion put a lot of work into this theme framework and makes it available free - big appreciation on both counts is due. However, in fact the menu system is confusing, with related settings scattered between different menus so you are never sure where to look. In addition, he has been generous with tutorials - but the problem is that he changes his mind about what to call things and where to put them from one version to the next. It's a nightmare trying to find what some of the tutorials apply to because the name of a function or location has changed and he has not updated the tutorial.

    I have never had as much trouble making things work as I have with Suffusion. The final straw was when I left a question on the forum asking what I had done wrong that I could not find my CSS stylesheet and got a snide answer telling me "We are not here to instruct people on how to use CSS". That was not what I asked. I could not find the CSS stylesheet and knew it had to be a wrong setting somewhere but was unable to figure out what I had done wrong in my setup. In other words, my question was about Suffusion setup, not CSS.

    So I find nothing at all to recommend about Suffusion. I gave it two stars only because of the immense work the author put into it and because he gives it away free and because he has made it extremely configurable - if you can figure out how to use the menus. For me, CSS coding is easier. But in terms of usability, Suffusion gets zero stars from me.

  2. Sayontan Sinha
    Member
    Theme Author

    Posted 8 months ago #

    Thanks for your feedback - it will definitely help me when I work on something newer.

    Truth be told, I haven't done much with the theme in the past one year for three main reasons. Firstly, it was in a pretty stable state, requiring very few changes from its existing functionality. Secondly, I just haven't had the time away from my day job to do anything more on the theme or in the forum. Thirdly, the review team has significantly raised the barriers for theme submissions, so if I have to submit a new version I have to remove and change a lot of things, lending more credence to your statement, "changes his mind about what to call things and where to put them from one version to the next".

    Sorry to hear about your bad experience on the forum. If you are still looking for help with something, please let me know.

  3. DangerousOldWoman
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Thanks for responding personally, Sayontan. I have nothing more to add to what I've already said except this: if anything weighs more heavily than anything else, it's the way I was treated on the Suffusion forum. I'm kinda glad it happened because I was really wasting a lot of time trying to find answers long after I should have given up. The incident with your moderator in Romania pushed me out the door and saved me from wasting any more time.

  4. MarieDi
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Hi Sayontan,

    I'm adding a comment here because I wouldn't know how many stars to give Suffusion. My heart says 5, but at the same time I do agree with a lot of what DangerousOldWoman said - even though I'm still in love with Suffusion because of its versatility.

    I used to install Suffusion on all my blogs (and my clients' blogs), and then I stopped for one reason: There were too many/frequent updates...

    Updates are great and they prove you are supporting and nurturing your theme, and changes were welcome too, BUT: it's a lot of work to update the theme, check everywhere to make sure the update didn't screw up something in one's specific version (customization) of the theme, and then correct what's been screwed up - multiply this by the number of installs, each of which being different from the other.

    Because I install a lot of themes for non-profits and not-too-wealthy-artists, mainly, I can't charge them for this either... and I can hardly teach them, as many are, let's say, technologically challenged or just don't have time/resource. Especially when I myself sometimes spent hours trying to figure out where something was and getting confused in the menus/options, etc....

    Those are the reasons I stopped using Suffusion. The relative complexity of customization coupled with a somewhat confusing customization interface structure, and the frequent updating, which is even more a problem now that 3.7 updates themes automaticaly.

    I do hope you will find the time to keep making Suffusion easier to use, and I repeat: I'm in love with it, but from a pragmatic point of view, I can't use it.

    All the best to you!

    Marie

  5. Sayontan Sinha
    Member
    Theme Author

    Posted 8 months ago #

    Marie,
    The last time I updated Suffusion was in August, and that was a quick patch with absolutely no new functionality, because without the patch the theme wouldn't work with WP 3.6. Prior to that I had updated the theme in January, again to coincide with WP 3.5. So while what you are saying would be correct in 2012, updates in 2013 have been quite infrequent. I do document each release quite assiduously (http://aquoid.com/news/category/theme-releases/), and incidentally the last few updates have been all about ensuring that the theme didn't break with the new WP releases.

    I do appreciate your criticism, so the next time I attempt a project I will pay special heed to such matters.

  6. MarieDi
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Hi Sayontan,
    Am I to understand that now Suffusion is "matured" and updates only have to do with WP's evolution?
    If so, I'll gladly go back to it, because, like I said, I loved it a lot.
    :-)
    Marie

  7. mbrsolution
    Member
    Posted 7 months ago #

    Hello all I agree with everything that has been said here. I would like to add my input into this review if you don't mind.

    My experience so far with Suffusion and the Support Staff has been great and I would give it 10/10 for everything that one can expect first for a great Free theme and equally first for the great free Support that is provided.

    With all themes including the default themes that are released with WordPress and commercial themes you will always come across issues, conflicts and vulnerabilities. One can expect whether a theme is updated regularly or not to sometimes cause issues but not because it is a theme issue but perhaps it is the way the plugin code has been implemented or in can be vice versa. Also you have to take into consideration that sometimes even WordPress core files are released with bugs of course none of this is intentional. It is just the world of web developing and the amount of hours developers spend looking at the code. However in regards to Suffusion the way Sayontan has taken so much care in the code it is very unlikely that it would cause too many problems in regards to coding.

    So in my humble opinion when one relies a lot on a theme and or plugin, if the developers decide to upgrade it or update it then the user should take the following into consideration:

    1) Is this new theme update going to cause any issues on my websites?
    2)Is this new theme upgrade, which usually represents an overhaul of the current version going to clash with plugins or with the latest WordPress version?
    3)Always take a backup before any of the above.
    4)Have a testing platform with a current version of your website running and do some thorough testing before going live.

    This is the advice that I provide regularly with either my clients or those that I help here in wordpress.org.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my review.

    Thank you Sayontan for this great and superb Theme Suffusion and thank you for the great support you provide in your forum by your support team Colin, Drake and all the other helpers.

    Kind regards

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