Friday, August 30, 2013

Hacking WordPress Themes

A couple of years ago, we created a WordPress site for a client. We found a third party theme that we liked, but we wanted to make some changes to it. The theme author did not expose, in the WordPress interface, the kinds of things that we wanted to modify. Undaunted, we hacked the author's theme until it matched what we wanted.

Fast forward to this year— a WordPress update caused the theme to start generating errors. The errors were not the result of our hacks, but were in the original theme. The theme author gladly supplied me with the latest error-free version of his theme, but because I did not document all of our hacks, we would essentially have to start over.

Lesson 1: Never hack a WordPress theme. 

Lesson 2: If you ignore lesson 1, copiously document every change, because you may need to re-apply all hacks in the future.

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