Extensive Back-End Updates
If you haven’t noticed, theme production has been a bit slower over the past month. This is because we have been hard at work performing some collection-wide back-end updates. While these behind-the-scenes source code updates may go unnoticed to the average user, I can assure you that many improvements have been made
We have fixed a few minor bugs that were causing frequent headaches in the forums.
Thumbnail Improvements - No More Timthumb
Until now, you had the choice of using the “Thumbnail custom field” or WordPress’s native “Featured Image” method for creating thumbnails for your posts. The thumbnail custom field used a third party script, Timthumb.php, to re-szie and crop your images. While timthumb is a great script, it was not as intuitive and could sometimes cause performance issues. At the same time, the “Featured Image” method only allows you to input a single photo for each post, making it impossible to use this feature for posts with multiple thumbnails. We have now re-written the “Thumbnail custom field” method to use WordPress’s internal image-resizing script to crop the thumbnails, instead of using Timthumb. This should result in a minor performance increase, file size decrease, and it also means you no longer have to adjust the permissions of the cache/ directory (making it more secure as well).
We have made some changes to ePanel that should increase performance in wp-admin. Using ePanel should feel a bit snappier now, especially when saving your settings. Function updates across all theme files and the previously-mentioned thumbnail changes should also increase performance on the front-end.
We have performed a fresh audit on all of our theme files to continue to insure that they are as secure as possible. This includes insuring proper data validation on input/output, use of nonces on admin pages, MySQL injection protection, replacing depreciated WordPress functions, etc. While I am talking about security, let me remind you that it is important to always keep WordPress and your third party Plugins/Themes up-to-date. It’s also a good idea to keep frequent backups just in case. Automattic has released a new backup service that looks pretty cool if you are interested: http://vaultpress.com/
Update Notifications and Changelogs
Speaking of updates, we have taken some steps to make update notifications more accessible. Whenever a theme is updated, you will now receive an update notification in the WordPress Dashboard. A changelog will also display in the Appearances > Themes section of wp-admin when your theme is not up-to-date. Furthermore, these changelogs have been integrated into the Elegant Themes member’s area for easy viewing.