Support » Requests and Feedback » WP 3.0.3 updates Twenty Ten theme without warning

  • Resolved Paul


    The release notes for WP 3.0.3 don’t mention anything about the Twenty Theme being updated, but… I used the automatic upgrade feature to go from 3.0.2 to 3.0.3, and the customizations I had made to the Twenty Ten theme were over-written.

    is this a case of the release notes not being accurate? Or, do all upgrades re-download the default themes?

    Luckily I had a backup, but a little warning would have been nice.

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Twentyten theme is included in WordPress releases since (I believe) version 3.0 as the default WordPress theme, the same as Kubrick was the default theme in prior releases. Since it is present in all WordPress downloads/upgrades, it will be overwritten if not properly attended to.

    It is generally recommended that modifications be made in the form of a “child theme” to avoid these issues. However, it is common practice to perform regular backups of both files and database to avoid just such hardship or data losses. Not to minimize the issue, but this very topic is a recurring theme throughout the WordPress forums – regardless of the version being discussed.

    Thank goodness that in this case you had the presence of mind to read the WordPress documentation and follow the guidelines for backing up your site after editing, because this is exactly the reason why one should do so on a regular basis. A fallback. A safeguard. A “restore point”.

    A procedure necessary on every web platform, on every web site, by every “webmaster” everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s a hard lesson learned by so many people, far too often, that all you need to do is back up your files.

    Well done.

    I agree with you, and even if I didn’t do a child theme, I at very least should have renamed my modified version, but… does WP always re-download ALL files when it performs an auto-update? That seems so odd. Why not just download the files that changed?

    does WP always re-download ALL files when it performs an auto-update? That seems so odd.

    Yes. Not really odd at all when you think about it, The default theme is part of the WordPress package. You need at least one theme to execute a visual presentation on installation. Without it, could you imagine the confusion after installation!!?? 🙂

    It’s just one of those things that everyone seems to take for granted initially, without really thinking about it too much. It’s a little ironic that one of the things that makes installing and presenting WordPress so darned easy and pleasing, can be one of the sources of such frustration if you aren’t careful. I personally try to think of it as a right of passage. Everybody seems to make this mistake in haste or negligence at least once when they start out (I know I did). But boy, it sure does make one take responsibility for their own web-space after that! I know that seems a little callous, but, it’s all there in the documentation and How-To’s.

    Thank goodness you had the presence of mind to do your back-ups.

    Just my opinoin! 🙂

    @claytonjames – I can only partially agree.

    As a package that is meant to be downloaded to your local computer, and then uploaded to your server, I agree it should contain all the files. That goes without saying, as there is no way to know if the user is updating or installing for the first time. It makes total sense to include all the files.

    However, when someone initiates an auto-update from within a fully functional install of WordPress, and the files are not being downloaded locally (they’re going directly from WP server to your server), it would be much more efficient to simply replace the changed files only, and not transfer files that didn’t change.

    The way I see it, it’s like any other software package… For instance, My installation of Photoshop has lots of other pieces besides the app itself – Plugins, Presets, Actions, etc… if Adobe releases an update to Photoshop, the package only updates Photoshop, and not my plugins folder because it didn’t change.

    That’s my .02 🙂

    This is a very interesting dialogue. I am not sure a plugin on another app is analagous to the default theme in WP. If you think about it any change to WP other than back end tinkering needs to be reflected in the interface (TwentyTen) in order that the new functionality can be delivered to the operator / end user. Thus upgrades are often going to involve changes to the theme. I would go further. I can think of tweaks / changes to the default theme that would be beneficial in their own right and could be upgraded incrementally like the rest of the software.

    Historically upgrades caused howls of outrage / pain from themers. But with the advent of the awesome power of child themes that is simply no longer necessary if the user has used a child theme from the get go.

    I am very interested in this subject and am going to be doing everything I can to promote a deeper understanding of child themes in the WP community. The poor default theme is often ejected prematurely
    by end users who then turn either to free themes of dubious provenance, or to paid for themes, or they embark on the hazardous task of hacking the default. For my 2 cents none of these three choices is the optimum one.

    I would like to see a consistent message / idea begin to permeate thru the WP community which is this: The best thing to do in almost every case – unless you are developing a framework – is to keep the default and build a child theme. In that way you are guaranteed access to the full WP theme functionality, you are free to upgrade, and you will inevitably receive better/wider support from all quarters.

    As a starter I would love to see a new section here in the forum dedicated to Child themes of the Default theme.

    As a second step I would love to see WP distributed with the default and a child theme as well. Matt’s famous Hello Dolly was included as a guide to plugin developers. An included Child theme could do the same.



    Forum Moderator

    We already have a Theme & Templates section. I’m not convinced that adding a Child Themes forum would help.

    And warnings about amending the Twenty Ten theme are continually being issues on the various forums but, very often, people don’t want to listen – until their customisations are over-written and they start complaining.

    An included Child theme could do the same.

    Any theme included in the core package would need to be regularly updated. Even if it’s a child theme. So we’d just be back to the same situation again – people outraged because an update over-wrote their custom changes.

    About the only thing I can think of that might help a little is to include a warning in the Twenty Ten theme’s description. Something along the lines of:

    Do NOT customise this theme. Your changes WILL be over-written the next time you upgrade WordPress.

    People would still ignore it but at least they couldn’t claim that they weren’t warned.

    Lets keep 2 things in mind here…

    1. This was an auto-update initiated from within the WordPress Admin. I was updating from 3.0.2, so the Twenty Ten theme was already installed.
    2. According to the 3.0.3 release notes, there were no changes to the Twenty Ten theme.

    Given these two facts, it still seems odd to me that the update procedure would include copying a fresh version of Twenty Ten to my server. If the theme isn’t being updated, and the 3.0.3 update doesn’t affect the theme, why copy a new version to my server? It just doesn’t make sense.

    According to the release notes, 3.0.3 is a security update, and here’s the files that are updated:

    • wp-includes/version.php
    • xmlrpc.php
    • readme.html
    • wp-admin/includes/update-core.php

    How do these affect my theme? Instead of pushing all the WP files to my server, why not just push these 4 files?

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    Lead Plugin Wrangler

    Instead of pushing all the WP files to my server, why not just push these 4 files?

    Because what if you decided to be reckless and edit core code that conflicted with the update? In order to ensure that your install of WordPress is 100% current and correct, the upgrader reinstalls all files.

    @ipstenu – I don’t think I can agree with you. It’s a little too easy sometimes to justify things when you play the what if… game. To me, editing core code is kind of like jailbreaking your iPhone. Sure, you can do it, but if you do… you’re taking responsibility for future compatibilities.

    But, even if I did agree, I personally don’t consider a theme to be “core code” – even if it is the default theme. In fact, the whole idea behind themes is to separate presentation from code.

    I stand by the philosophy that if a theme isn’t being updated, there’s no good reason to re-copy it to my server.

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    Lead Plugin Wrangler

    I cannot begin to tell you how many posts I’ve seen with ‘I edited a file in wp-admin and when I upgraded…’ You’re right, it should be a stupid moment. But people do it far more regularly than I could wish.

    As for a theme being ‘core code’ … *sigh* Yes but.

    You can’t run WordPress without A theme. In order to have WordPress run out of the box, a theme must be included in the install. Yes, WordPress COULD make multiple packages, with and without a theme, but in order to make it the simplest method possible, they decided to just include it in the, singular, package.

    My personal feelings about a theme (and a pair of plugins while we’re at it) being included in ‘core’ aside, the fact is this: Twenty Ten is going to be updated every time you update your WordPress install, so do not edit it directly.

    If you want to post to to pitch it as an idea, go for it, but it’s been like this for 5 years, and my gut feeling is it won’t change. This is a far more complex situation than I’m making it, too.

    Oh, you’re absolutely right… I should have taken more care to either rename my theme, or do a child theme. I learned my lesson. 🙂

    In this case I wasn’t sure if this was an omission in the release notes, and Twenty Ten did get an update, or if it was a case where all files get updated every time, or if it was a bug.

    Even though I don’t agree with how auto-updates are handled, now I know that this is just the way it is… at least for now.

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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