In a few months, most of the themes you use will be rewritten. Your old sites will most likely break with these updates.
- Envato is forcing authors to move widgets to a plugin.
- Shortcodes, CPTs, Social Media code and many theme features will move to plugins.
- Many themes offered a feature to insert HTML in header, footer, ads, etc. within themes. These will be removed.
What will break
If you are technical person, you should have identified how this will affect old sites.
Old widgets will likely no longer work - setup and configure again!
When you perform a theme update, all your old theme widgets will be lost.
Why? Because they were renamed and moved to a plugin due to new rules of Envato. All the widget settings will be lost and you will have to configure again. This is absurd. Imagine having to do this with 100 sites?
HTML code in headers, footers, any ads feature, etc. Will Break
If a theme offered a feature to insert HTML code in header, footer or offered any ads feature, they will no longer work. Also possibly for many fields in theme option, or custom fields / metaboxes that allowed Custom HTML in the past.
Why? Because HTML code has to be cleaned and stripped. Even
wp_kses_post will strip some of the adsense or other networks ad code, there’s no way to whitelist all known ad networks. So suddenly all your old codes will stop working.
Having to activate a new plugin on each site or theme features lost!
Even if you’re very lucky and your old theme doesn’t have issue above. Most of us managing many sites use auto-updates on 100 of sites, when the update happens, all your sites will break. You will have to go and activate a plugin on each site depending on theme.
All sidebars and widget areas likely to go missing too
If theme authors rename and add prefixes according to new rules, these will also go missing. Imagine having to setup all those widgets again!
High potential of CPTs and other things missing
If a theme author renames Custom post types like portfolio or any other feature when moving to a plugin, these will also go missing.
Theme feature configurations for things like social media may be lost
A lot of themes have settings for social media etc. in theme options. When moving to plugin, these settings are likely to be lost and will have to be re-configured.
I haven’t thought of all issues yet. These are just a few from top of my mind. There are a lot more Be.sides these big issues, smaller issues like:
PHP Customizations lost
We all know we shouldn’t do this but we have to sometimes by direct modifying a file. And some themes allow overriding files via child themes but now that many features like Social media will be moved to a plugin, there will be no file to override - old overrides won’t work.
Huge potential for bugs
Theme authors here are pretty bad at keeping track of backward compatibility. So when they rewrite and move things around to plugins, it’s almost guaranteed things will break as they rename things.
Some good authors may write converters, but that’s still inconvenient to run different type of converters if you manage many sites or use many themes.
This is a huge mess up!
Envato is messing up with lives of freelancers and agencies here especially. It’s unnecessary. The only thing good about this mess is Gutenberg compatibility. But everything about it is wrong otherwise. Think again.
Envato, if you really want to do this absurd move, consider these points:
- Keep widgets in themes for old themes. 99% of themes I have used, the widgets are theme-specific and design-specific anyways. It doesn’t make sense using a widget from one theme to another.
- Don’t force new HTML sanitization rules for things like ad codes, header and footer codes.
- DON’T RENAME THINGS. Don’t ask authors to add prefixes or anything and tell them to don’t rename things. If CPT renames, things will break. If they rename a handle, suddenly all child themes will break.
Or better yet. Skip the rules for old themes. Just make them WordPress v5 and Gutenberg compatible!
I suggest all buyers speak up or we’ll be battling with thousands of wasted hours of work and complaints.
We will already be dealing with WordPress 5 issues and they want to add to our troubles.