I have completely revamped the codebase of my theme and I’m ready to release 2.0. The design is exactly the same, but my codebase is absolutely 100% rewritten and does not even resemble version 1.0. A lot of the file names have been changed and lots of files have been deleted and a few new ones added. Most importantly, the functionality is completely different and 2.0 offers tons of new stuff and works a completely different way. It uses a new framework I have developed instead of the old one.
Here’s my conundrum: I have almost 2500 current customers running 1.0, and if I release 2.0 as an update to my theme I’m afraid having that many customers upgrading to a completely different framework would be a support nightmare since their sites would most likely no longer work (at least without a LOT of time spent on their part re-doing content and settings). To the customer 2.0 would be like switching to a completely different theme that looks the same design-wise to their old theme.
So my question is, has anyone else experienced this same thing before? If so, what did you do? Does ThemeForest let you release a 2.0 theme as a new theme, or only as an update? What would you recommend I do? Any and all suggestions are welcome!
You must release the new version as an update.
Speaking from a buyer’s point of view (not your customer, just in general). If you did these things simultaneously:
- completely changed how theme works, so installing it over the current one breaks the site at first
- kept the exact same design…
... I am really curious how you initially thought it will work out. If I were to buy a theme, I really wouldn’t mind seeing the same design with different functionality as a separate item for sale – but I can’t speak for the majority of your customers OR Envato.
Looking at most authors who release v2,v3, they usually come up with design updates as well (if they don’t completely change it too). However, I see some are pretty close in terms of design.
Some of the things that come to mind:
- Submit it separately and explain yourself to the reviewer. or…
- hire support staff for a fixed period, give them a week or two to learn your codebase and launch it as an update. or…
- take your time and change the design as well
Out of those, I’d probably go with no. 3, it’s a long term solution and I think Envato won’t accept the same design as a separate item either.
Great advice, thanks. Just to clarify in case you were wondering (I would be), I changed the functionality because version 1 has 5 pre-defined review types, and I’ve had hundreds of customers request to be able to create their own review types in a future update. So I had to completely change the theme to enable unlimited review types (basically had to rewrite it from scratch).
Ideally I’m going to test it as much as I can to make sure upgrading will be seamless, and originally I had planned it just to be a massive 2.0 update. However, the closer I get to releasing it, the more I realize it’s going to be a nightmare to support two completely different codebases within the same theme, which is why I’m sort of stuck now.
I like your idea about coming up with a new design, and I’ve basically done that already (see my most recent theme – LOL ). Now the problem is the 2500 customers on the other theme who want unlimited review type functionality.
To me it just seems silly that I have the updated version of the theme, and literally thousands of people who want it, but now I’m facing the hurdle of how to release it. That’s why I wanted to get other authors’ opinions on the matter. I’m sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place…
If the majority of your customers asked for that update, you MUST release it as an update, not as a separate item. So, you need to find a way to make it easy for them to use the new unlimited reviews.
A dirty salesman would release the separate item and then release an update for the current theme. Someone who cares about his customers would release the updates that were asked for the current theme and would then find a way to add even more value to v2.0, so that he can release it as a separate item and make it worth the effort.
I leave previous versions in the download zip so previous customers can download versions they know how to use.