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by Michael P. Hill

The latest version of the Out of the Sandbox Theme Updater App, available now, adds a new feature that is the direct result of customer requests — access to a detailed log of the differences between the original theme files and your theme files.

These will differ if you have customized the code directly in any way, such as by adding scripts for apps, custom fonts or styles or other reasons.

Sometimes known as a “diff checker,” this feature, available exclusively to subscribers of the pro version of the Shopify theme updater app, makes it easy to locate and spot any customizations that have been made to your code.

Not only does this new feature help in cases where the app cannot migrate custom code over to the latest version of your theme, it’s also a valuable development tool for stores with advanced theme customizations or those who prefer to manually carry over customizations.

How it works

Shopify theme updater code differences

Once a Shopify store has subscribed to the pro plan, which includes a 14 day free trial and costs just $9 per month after that, store owners will gain access to the ability to view template customizations.

The app will analyze your theme files, one by one.

After each file is analyzed, the app displays the name and path of each theme file it found that had custom code in it. You’ll see the code in context, complete with line numbers for easy reference. along with easy to understand highlighting of the exact differences (green for additions, red for deletions).

How to get it

If you’re already a subscriber to the pro version of the Out of the Sandbox theme updater app, then you already have access to this new feature — at the same monthly rate.

If you have the theme updater app installed but haven’t tried the pro tier, you can try all of the pro features for free for 14 days:

  • Displaying any code differences between the original theme files and yours
  • Moving over language files when updating your theme
  • Email notifications when a new versions of your theme is available

After that, it’s just $9 per month — a good deal when you consider the cost of hiring a developer to upgrade your theme and troubleshoot custom code upgrades as well.

If you haven’t tried the theme updater app yet, you can install it on your store for free HERE. You’ll get all of the standard features right off the bat:

Easily upgrade and carry over settings and code customizations from Parallax 3.0+, Retina 4.0+, Mobilia 5.0+, Responsive 6.0+ or Turbo 2.0+.

For older theme versions, upgrades are still supported, but do not implement custom code, sections or some settings.

Plus, new app users are also eligible for the free 14-day free trial of all the pro features.

Keep in mind

It’s important to keep in mind that, while the new version of the theme updater app does add the ability to get detailed insights into differences in code between versions — and that the app will attempt to carry over as many basic customizations that it can — it is still ultimately up to the store owner or developer to replicate any complex custom tweaks they’ve made to their shop’s code or troubleshoot any issues that arise during the update process.

Out of the Sandbox support is not able to assist with interpreting the logs, transferring customizations or specific troubleshooting with custom code, but the lists of differences the app creates are designed to help you identify those and save a significant amount of development time on your part.

If you do need outside help to upgrade your theme, be sure to let your own developer know how to access this feature in the app and see the differences in code.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn.

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