For any website design professional, the task of theme customisation is almost second nature, a simple objective to help reach the eventual goal of successful deployment. Being such a repeated task that is undertaken over-and-over again throughout a designers career, it is sometimes forgotten to plan work in a fashion that will be helpful to website administrators, when it is eventually handed over after completion.
Essentially, what I am referring to is the task of applying changes to a theme that will enable website administrators to undertake updates, without removing all the coding implemented by designers. To most, the practice of NOT making direct changes to the original code of theme is unforgotten and well remembered, but for some, it is not as well considered. Making changes to the original coding of a theme can entice issues to arise, as whenever an update for said theme is released and applied, it will overwrite any changes that have been made to the original package. This can mean extensive loss of work and time for the designer, as well as unneeded stress for the owners of the website; which I am sure both parties would like to steer clear from.
What Helpful Solutions Are Available?
So in order to avoid such a nightmare scenario, it is important to plan and develop a solution that will allow easy implementation of custom code after an update or completely by-pass the custom code altogether. Luckily for designers, there are existing solutions to these problems that will help prevent potential issues in the future that relate to such.
Backing Up Custom Files
One such solution is a simple but effective way of ensuring changes are not lost, which involves taking a backup of the theme files that have been customised. This way when the updates are applied, the backed up files can simply be uploaded in place of the originals. But, it is very important to check the details of each theme update release, to ensure potential fixes are not overwritten; as these help to make the website more secure.
Code Insertion Plugin
Another solution is to invest time into research and find a well-received, recommended code insertion plugin, so that customisations are separate to the original files, and therefore changes will not be overwritten when updates are applied. By going with this option, it is important to keep a backup of the inserted code, to avoid the potential loss of time and money from having to re-establish and re-write the custom code into the plugin, if anything goes wrong.
To conclude, not only is it important to be able to successfully complete requirements for a website design project, it is essential to do it in such a way that is helpful and efficient for those who may be tasked with administrating the website in the future, as well as the designer.