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[Resolved] [Theme: BlankSlate] Blankslate is not a good theme.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
  • Theme Author TidyThemes

    @tidythemes

    This is the state of ALL WordPress themes and has nothing to do with TidyThemes specific themes at all.

    If you simply do not like the themes you are 100% entitled to that opinion otherwise you’re merely misinformed.

    Absolutely any theme of the current 1,468 themes available in the free repo that you upgrade will automatically overwrite all files, that is how it works.

    However, I have seen time and time again where users like yourself kill all their hard work because WordPress fails to caution what upgrading really mean which is unfortunate.

    That is why I’ve suggested the following idea to WordPress:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/ideas/topic/upgradeupdate-warnings

    Since you’ve experienced this first-hand I invite you to give the suggestion 5 stars to help it come to fruition.

    Thanks

    esmi

    @esmi

    Forum Moderator

    However, I have seen time and time again where users like yourself kill all their hard work because WordPress fails to caution what upgrading really mean which is unfortunate.

    Why should WP warn people? If you hack a desktop application’s source code and then update it, do you expect it to warn you? A theme is no different. This why child themes are promoted so heavily. That’s the correct way to protect theme customisations.

    Theme Author TidyThemes

    @tidythemes

    Because 9/10 people do not manually update their theme via FTP. Users savvy enough to do that in the first place probably already realize that they’re directly overwriting their files and are also probably aware of child theming.

    I’m referring to the 90% of people that directly update via the WordPress theme update API from Dashboard > Updates.

    Of course WordPress should caution people, the same way they already caution people with WordPress and plugin upgrades. Because this IS a WordPress feature that is their responsibility.

    Theme designers have absolutely no control over this. We can only warn people. But, that is not a solution because people don’t read fine print, this is a proven marketing fact.

    Does this make sense to you, do you now understand the issue? Let me know if I can help further.

    Thanks

    esmi

    @esmi

    Forum Moderator

    Because 9/10 people do not manually update their theme via FTP.

    What does that have to do with it?

    I’m referring to the 90% of people that directly update via the WordPress theme update API from Dashboard > Updates.

    So am I. The fact remains that, if you hack the source code of any app, you should expect it to be over-written by an update. This is the standard behaviour in IT generally. Why should people expect WP to be any different?

    Theme Author TidyThemes

    @tidythemes

    Hi esmi,

    Because, you’re not the typical user. You understand what the typical user does not.

    The fact remains that, if you hack the source code of any app, you should expect it to be over-written by an update.

    You and I understand this. We do not represent the typical user. It’s not reasonable to expect that the majority of WordPress users even understand the basics of web design.

    Especially, when the majority of WordPress installations are done through one-clicks with hosts like BlueHost. Then they search for a theme and add one through a few clicks.

    They begin learning a bit about CSS or just copy and paste some CSS from an article for let’s say adding a background image. They add that to style.css and then one day they see an update message in WordPress that a new version is available, so they unknowingly update thinking all will be well.

    Then when all their work is undone they blame the theme designer as shown in this topic.

    But, the truth is that theme designers have no control over this. Only WordPress, does. I agree that ultimately it’s the end-user’s responsibility to educate themselves on the tools they’re using and not blame others for their mistakes.

    I’m not saying WordPress should take all the blame. I’m only pointed out the facts that if a simple warning was adding as outlined here:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/ideas/topic/upgradeupdate-warnings

    which only WordPress has the control over it would save a lot of users from unwittingly destroying their own work.

    You and myself can educate people as best we can, but it’s doubtful that we’ll be listened to as you know people don’t read fine print and warnings, they just don’t.

    However, people are certainly more likely to take notice should they be warned in the WordPress admin upon upgrading which is the primary root scenario of this issue occurring.

    I think we’re basically on the same page, only your expectations that everyone should simply know better, albeit would very much be ideal, are just unrealistic.

    Thanks

    Theme Author TidyThemes

    @tidythemes

    In the next few days I’ll be updating the site and themes, adding info and warnings as best as I can. But, ultimately until WordPress adds a warning this will continue to happen. That’s the reality of it.

    Thanks

    The difference here is that BlankSlate is a boilerplate Theme, that is by design intended for the user to modify.

    I think such Themes are great, but I also think that it would be wise for you, as the Theme Developer, to make every effort to explain to your users that the correct way to build upon Blank Slate is to do so via Child Theme.

    I see nothing in the Theme description, or in the README, or at the Theme URI, that even mentions the use of Child Themes. While I agree that WordPress should enable upgrade notices for Themes as they exist for Plugins, it is first and foremost the responsibility of Theme Developers to attempt to educate their users regarding the intended use and design intent of their Themes.

    If I were you, I would bundle an example Child Theme with Blank Slate, and then provide instructions in the Theme’s README regarding how to install, activate, and use the Child Theme. Just a suggestion…

    esmi

    @esmi

    Forum Moderator

    Or set up a theme options/details page (using Chip’s excellent article on the subject) that includes instructions on how the theme is intended to be used. Perhaps with links to the child theme page in the Codex? That’s what I’ve started to do with my themes. I’m not convinced that non-tech users would even think to look for a readme.txt file.

    I would expect that someone using a boilerplate Theme should have a modicum of understanding of code packages, and if modifying the package, should at least know to look for a README file.

    (In other words: the intended users of a Theme such as Blank Slate are not the normal, average Theme users, who simply activate and use a Theme. A Theme like Blank Slate is intended for developers/designers to build upon.)

    esmi

    @esmi

    Forum Moderator

    Agreed – but then I’d expect these same users to also be very wary of updating a theme that they had customised. Yet, apparently, that isn’t the case.

    Theme Author TidyThemes

    @tidythemes

    Actually, the original intended use is something much different:

    Concept

    But, as you know sometimes the way in which people use your product is really what evolves how people REALLY wish to use it and you have to adapt.

    I think I’m at a crossroads and will probably first add warnings every where possible on upgrading, but also I think it will be a good idea to offer a child theme for those that really like to keep everything up-to-date. I’ll avoid settings as much as possible as that hurts the integrity and purpose of BlankSlate.

    I don’t necessarily want to force anyone to do anything a certain way however, so I’ll be tactful in presenting the options.

    It’s important to note that this issue still remains regardless of what I’m doing or recommending to people however.

    I’ve worked for two separate WordPress theme companies now (one of them arguably the biggest in the world at this point). Point being is that I have worked with literally THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of users and more importantly customers.

    Both these companies, with explicit instructions and warnings and extensive documentation on child theming and upgrading and backing up your work and hundreds of people still manage to ignore all of it and just blindly update messing their site up in one way or another.

    So although I have some improvements to be made on TidyThemes, both in generally updating and educating people better people are still going to figure out a way to shoot themselves in the foot no matter what.

    My proposed idea for the warning would still only be a deterrent. Of course people will still manage to just click OK and go ahead anyways without reading, but I think it would be a HUGE help.

    I still think the OP is misinformed and calling the theme bad for it isn’t fair. They haven’t responded, but I’m assuming they’re not familiar with the fact that upgrading a theme overwrites it and introduces changes regardless of the theme and that’s simply how it works.

    So, although not everyone will listen I think I definitely can do better on my part to get some best practices going for those that do.

    Thanks Chip and esmi and to jett_gull, I’m terribly sorry you lost all your work. Hard lesson learned. You know depending on your host they might have a complete backup of your files to an earlier date.

    Also, if your site is cached in Google, you can at least recover all your CSS and HTML.

    Thanks

    Theme Author TidyThemes

    @tidythemes

    Okay, although I do very much still stand my the TidyThemes concept (whether it’s popular or not):

    Concept

    I have appended with the following info:

    Concept

    I’ll also link to this info from the theme README as well as the the description. Outside of that, there isn’t much more that I can do, but hope the warning idea is incorporated into WordPress:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/ideas/topic/upgradeupdate-warnings

    I can’t force people to learn, but I can help those that do wish to learn.

    Thanks

    I think you have a good approach – though you might consider encouraging users to go ahead and fork your Themes, if that’s how you truly intend for them to use them.

    I like your added wording, though; it makes it clear that editing the Theme without forking, and then upgrading, will cause a loss of all changes. Along with the explanation for creating a Child Theme, you’ve basically given your users everything they need to inform themselves.

    The rest, as you’ve said, is up to your users. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    I think it is a great theme framework and I have developed it into a great production child theme.

    The OP says it’s a bad theme because they do not understand how to use the theme properly.

    TidyThemes BlankSlate is an excellent theme framework, and it is a shame there are not any more of these kind of themes available because quite frankly, some of the themes that get uploaded are just garbage that cannot be modified to your own liking.

    Obviously jett_gull isn’t a WordPress developer who understands that when you update ANY Worpdress theme, it overwrites any changes made to the original theme files.

    That is why we have Child Themes.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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