If you’re lucky enough to get tech support in person, you know the feeling of relief when this person arrives, with their seemingly infinite wisdom, and begins to resuscitate or tame the animal that you rely on known as your computer. If you’ve been fortunate enough to get a tech-support house call you know what being rescued feels like. The difference a tech-support take-over makes is like the difference between someone telling you by telephone how to drive your car and moving over to let someone more experienced drive your car when you find yourself having to drive in an ice storm or up the narrow edge of a mountainside. On your own, steering white-knuckled you’re not sure if you’ll make it.
When your tech support hero first sees your slightly embarrassed smile and your nervous, anxious expressions, he knows he has work to do. And when there is no smile at all, he knows he has a lot of work to do because your frustration has to be managed along with the software and the hardware – the stink in a spill or the smoke in the fire he’s been called to snuff out. He has to quarantine and eliminate the virus as well as your aggravation and fear.
He sets right to work. And it’s precisely at that moment when you start to breathe again and you’re not cussing and you’ve picked yourself up off the floor from being devastated from the work that was lost, or the time that was lost, or the money that was lost, and perhaps loss of both face and faith… that he leaves. And sometimes you wish he’d stay a little longer because even once you’ve gotten comfortable with your computer, the fact that you were kicked off the network or that your project was deleted, has left you with trust issues and you feel both betrayed and a little intimidated. In this shaken state, you want tech support to stay with you for a while, while you’re getting back on that horse and taking the next steps. He’s like a drug taken with a tall glass of water to help you forget the pain.
Such was the case when my tech support representative came to help me after a WordPress theme upgrade wiped out my website. The swift sword of improvements annihilated look, feel and function. In this crisis, I preferred working with a partner; sort of holding my hand through each step of near surgical restoration, but tech support is always needed somewhere else. My computer doctor could not stay to watch the color return to my face which I imagined was nothing short of the palest shade of headstone gray after being shocked by the specter of death that was my website after the upgrade. Some things were no longer there, logo – gone, carefully chosen colors – gone, my borders, fancy graphics – gone, things I had built, trained, pushed into place, rendered, called into being, breathed life into – gone. And the hideous things that appeared seemingly from nowhere; I dare not mention. A new set of instructions had been implemented through the upgrade and the fix was certain to be tedious and painful. I took one look at the website and didn’t want to take another.
My recommendation for web designers facing website devastation is to forge ahead, but with support; tech support. Having someone with you takes some of the sting out of the injury. Tech support came and sat with me and together we uncovered the mystery of the WordPress Child Theme and how to summon its restorative and protective powers.
The WordPress Child Theme is a solution to the necessary yet evil upgrade; an upgrade that promises improvement but will absolutely and without hesitation wipe out your house and home, family and long held treasures. It strikes when you aren’t watching like a phantom snatching away your children, and your jewelry, and your car while you aren’t looking.
The upgrade will annihilate your town, your country and all that you believe in – otherwise known as your website. Sure all the bones will still exist. These files will sit in backup folders, with the impression of the former website’s look and feel that was held tightly with code you relied on, until the next upgrade comes along and takes these remains into the great abyss where roof tops and tractors go in Midwestern tornados and factories and ships remain after a typhoon; scattered bits in ruins. The files held temporarily like memories of your childhood sunny days, jumping rope on the sidewalk, skipping rocks across the lake, sitting in a supermarket shopping basket while your older sister pushed the cart into the back of mother’s heels, memories of what fresh baked bread and fresh cut grass and summer campsite fires smell like; memoires of a place, a presence, your website, your home, are your life or parts of it as all web designers would agree.
The upgrade like a wild hyena on the Serengeti stalking baby elephants and pregnant zebras, the sick, the frail and the unaware will mangle and obliterate your website without the protection of the only animal that scares off the hyena, the lion, otherwise known as WordPress Child Theme. Install the Child Theme and rebuild your style.css file which you safely tuck inside a folder named by yourself. Yes! King of the castle once again. My folder. My naming convention. My authored by. Whew! And a like warm healing balm that caresses and soothes a cracked and brittle temper, gently, the memories infuse the rebuilt website.
Like watching your children come back home from across some wide open plain of tall grass and unanswered questions now answered, the colors, the positions, the font faces, the font sizes, the spacial relationships, the nifty scripts tucked safely behind the new folder reawaken and function. Like watching a baby colt stand and run, your website breathes anew yet as it was before, warts, broken links, graphics, text, and all.
Setting up the WordPress Child Theme is so simple to do and so necessary for web designers who are working in a WordPress theme environment, that it’s worth far more than the time it takes to implement. The Child Theme contains the changes you want to make to the original theme selected for your website. WordPress will acknowledge your Child Theme once it is activated and the instructions in your .css and .php files stored in your Child Theme folder will be followed.
How to install and run the WordPress Child Theme
- In the same directory —wp-content/themes— make a new directory and name it. This is the name of your Child Theme.
- Place the code shown below as a header in a new style.css file and save it to the new directory created in step 1.
/* Theme Name: (place the name of your new directory here)
Description: Child theme for (place name of original theme here)
Author: (place web designers name here)
Template: (place name of original theme here)
Version: (place version #here)
@import url (“place the relative path to the original theme style.css here”);
/*example:@import url (“../origin/style.css”);*/
/* your customized .css code goes below this line*/
- Activate your child theme