Originally posted on Envato Notes by Japheth Thomson
One of the best features of WordPress is the way it lets users check for, download, and install updates for plugins and themes from within the WordPress admin interface. Last year you may recall Jason announced the WordPress Theme Only Attachment and after more work we’re ready to roll out a way for authors to implement automatic updates for their themes in a standard way.
We now have a plugin for WordPress that will show you when a theme you've purchased from ThemeForest has an update available. You can then choose to automatically download and install the update. Even better than that though, the plugin will show you all the WordPress themes you've purchased on ThemeForest, and allow you to install them too!
We also have a PHP library for authors to include in their WordPress themes that will provide an easy way to implement this functionality within the themes themselves.
The plugin can be found here and the PHP library here.
Before a ThemeForest theme is able to be installed or updated through this plugin or PHP library, we need a little something from our authors. In addition to the main ZIP file that an author provides, we need them to also provide another ZIP file containing only the WordPress theme, which the plugin will then use. As Jason mentioned in the forum post authors need to also be sure that the comment header inside the style.css file provides the exact details about the theme. This must include the ‘Theme Name’, ‘Author’, and ‘Version’. Of course, the ‘Theme Name’ and ‘Author’ should remain the same for each updated upload of a theme, and the ‘Version’ must be incremented on each updated upload to ThemeForest.
Until now, including this file has been optional for authors (though roughly 25% of themes already have it!). To ensure automatic updates work consistently across all WordPress themes we're now making this a mandatory inclusion. Authors, starting from Wednesday 4th April, please ensure you update your WordPress themes on ThemeForest and upload a WordPress Theme ZIP file for each of your themes.
This plugin and PHP library are a work in progress, so we're hoping you'll jump in with both feet, and if there are any teething problems bare with us as we fix them up. We have more features in the pipeline too, so keep in mind that we'll be releasing incremental updates to them.
We really hope using this plugin/PHP library makes everyone's life a lot easier. If you have feedback on this, please let us know in the comments below, or leave a post on the forum thread linked above.