When we surveyed Builder customers earlier this year, we heard what we already knew was a big pain point for users: Builder had no way to update straight from the WordPress dashboard, a feature known as automatic updates.
Automatic Updates for Builder are Here
We’ve been hard at work to solve this problem and we’re proud to announce a new version of Builder is here that includes automatic updates. With the Builder 5.0 update, you’ll no longer have to manually update your Builder theme when version updates are released. You’ll also receive WordPress dashboard notifications that a theme update has been released.
This has been a complicated process and it’s meant changing our approach to providing a parent theme (Builder Theme – Core) and totally separate child themes. Starting with Builder 5.0, the parent theme / child theme relationship (the combination of functionality, design and customizations) will be different to provide automatic updates, but we’re rolling out this update in two separate stages.
We’ll be redefining some of our Builder terminology from now on, but we’re confident that the new system will be simpler and, ultimately, save you time when it comes to installing, customizing and updating your Builder themes.
The Relationship of Functionality, Design and Customizations in iThemes Builder to Automatic Updates
To better understand this, we thought it would be helpful to explain the relationship of theme functionality, design and customizations. These three concepts have always been at the heart of the Builder’s use of child themes.
- Functionality – In iThemes Builder, this is functionality “behind the scenes”: the layout engine, layouts, views and extensions.
- Design – For Builder, these are the design elements or “front-facing” components of the site: fonts, colors, padding, navigation styling, etc.
- Customizations – Any custom modifications to the CSS of the existing design or changes to template files.
The Wrong Way: All-in-one Function, Design & Customizations
Combining functionality, design and customizations makes it difficult to provide updates to the functionality and design of themes. If you update the theme to access new features or make updates to the design, you would lose any customizations you had made. This is why we’ve always separated Builder into a parent theme and child theme.
The Old Way: Builder Theme Core + Child Theme Customizations
In order to allow updates to Builder while giving you the ability to customize your theme, we used child themes. With this parent theme / child theme relationship, you could update Builder Core to get new features, but your customizations occur in the child theme.
The New Way: Builder Themes – Functionality and Design Separate from Customizations
In the new version of Builder, we’ve combined the functionality of Builder in every Builder theme. After installation, Builder now creates a child theme for you, so there’s no separate installation process. With this new system, you can now get automatic updates to your theme (which now will include Builder functionality and theme design) without losing your customizations.
Builder Child Themes Will Have Builder Functionality Built-in
With this update to Builder, we’ll be referring to Builder child themes as Builder Themes since Builder is now “built-in.”
By combining Builder into child themes, we think you’ll appreciate:
- One installation process – No more uploading Builder Theme – Core then your child theme. For new Builder sites, all you have to do is upload your Builder Theme and go.
- Auto-Created Child Themes – After installation, Builder prompts you to create your own child theme to customize. Again, this allows us to provide automatic updates to your theme (which now will include Builder functionality and theme design) without losing your customizations.
- Themes can now come with pre-packaged layouts to look like the demo sites – This new system allows us to package custom layouts with individual Builder themes so your sites can look like the demos.
- Automatic updates for Builder – As we mentioned this above, this new system allows us to push automatic updates to your Builder themes. After updating to Builder 5.0, just be sure to license your Builder site to start receiving automatic updates.
The Builder 5.0 Update Roll-Out Process
Today: Builder Theme – Core – 5.0 Available
Today you’ll find the Builder Theme – Core – 5.0 update now available for download from your iThemes Member Panel.
- What about your existing child theme? You don’t need to do anything to it. It will work with Builder 5.0.
- For more information on how to update your Builder Theme – Core file, please visit the Updating Builder section of the Codex.
Next Week: Individual Child Themes
Next week we’ll be rolling out the new versions of child themes with Builder functionality built-in. By providing the Builder Core – 5.0 update first, you can update your existing Builder sites to get automatic updates now and use the new child themes for new Builder installs.
Questions or Comments?
We anticipate you’ll have lots of questions about this update, so we’ll be outlining what this update means for both your existing Builder sites and new Builder sites in more detail in upcoming blog posts and tutorial videos. We want to make sure this transition is as simple as possible, so please let us know how we can help by asking questions below in the comments or tweeting us @iThemes.