how to change look of forum and not have to do it all again after a Xenforo upgrade?


Active member
I am getting developers to make a lot of changes to the style

button locations
tab locations
custom looks in responsive design for phone, tablet and web

In their discussions there seem to be two ways they can do things

Remove from template
Hide (the old version) in template

What is the best policy when making graphical changes to a Xenforo install?

I dont want to have to have them re do everything again after a forum update is released.

I am not a coder so I need the "language" to tell them what to watch out for... Or can someone point me to an existing thread that has useful guidelines and tips.

They are commenting thier work as they go.. I know that much.

(I am aware from future release notes there are some updates on the way to make all this easier but we cant wait and have to be working on it now)

Thanks in advance

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Where have you found these developers?

I'd highly recommend using developers from this community who know the product well.

Best advice I can give is as follows:

1) In an upcoming version of XenForo (1.2) there might be a responsive or mobile theme so be weary of investing too much in this area.
2) Editing templates is not a bad thing, and in XenForo 1.2 there are improvements on managing template edits between upgrades. But, right now, it can be a pain. XenForo upgrades will not remove your custom changes, but if new templates introduce important fixes or functionality then in current versions you will have to manually inspect the difference between your template and the new template and manually merge the differences.
3) There's an add-on called Template Modification System you can download which does "Find and Replace" on template. If your developers are skilled with regular expressions, this might be a better way of removing content from templates and/or managing the modifications that are made. Upgrading can still be a pain because if you tell it to find X and in version 1.2 it changes to XYZ then then that modification will still break.
4) Where possible do as many changes in CSS rather than templates as possible. There is a special template called EXTRA.css which is purpose built for this and isn't effected by upgrades.

That's a bit of a crash course on some concepts. But still think using experienced XenForo developers would be wise.