Upgrade PrestaShop – Are you Ready?

by Curt Donohue on July 13, 2011

Update PrestaShopSo who wants to upgrade their PrestaShop store?  I'm guessing most of us would like to upgrade because of the perceived benefits that an upgrade can bring, but is there a downside to upgrading?  There sure can be if you don't know what you are doing.

I want to be sure that everyone understands my position on upgrading from one version to another.  I think it is generally a good idea, especially if there are security improvements.  It may be especially necessary in that case.

However, it can be a very bad idea to update your store if you haven't considered the consequences, which can be numerous and severe.  Two obvious consequences of upgrading can be 1) the money and 2) the time it takes to upgrade a store from one version to another.

Don't be fooled into thinking that upgrading is just a matter following the PrestaShop PDF Upgrade Guide or their Upgrade Video.  It can be vastly more complex than either of those resources demonstrate.

In my opinion, core code changes and a custom theme are the two biggest challenges to upgrading a store.

If a store owner modified any part of the PrestaShop core code, which is very common, they would be required to make similar modifications to the new version of software.  It may not be a simple matter of copying and pasting code either since the new PrestaShop version may use a different version of PHP, Smarty, or JQuery.

One of the biggest challenges with making core code changes is remembering what you changed and where those changes are located.  Many people make changes and don't document those changes.  I've certainly been guilty of that, but no more.

Now, any change I make in a pre-1.4.x version is documented in a “code-changes.txt” document that I can use to copy and paste code during the update process.  Of course, you don't need this tool in post-1.4.x versions because of the “override” capability.

If you are making core code changes, you need to be documenting all of those changes starting immediately.  Make note of the date, file location, and the actual code that was modified.  This will save you tons of time, money, and frustration when you upgrade you store.

Because of the difficultly level of updating PrestaShop, I decided to put together a 5-part video series that will walk you through the update process step-by-step and in great detail.  Since it took me three weeks of research, testing, and video production, I can only offer this training as part of my paid PrestaShop 1.4 Tutorials product.  It's a steal at $17/month, however.

To give you an idea what is covered in the Update PrestaShop video series, take a look at the table of contents below.

Part 1

  1. Summary of what you will learn in the video series
  2. Who may or may not want to update
  3. Risks and rewards of updating
  4. Tools you will need to update effectively

Part 2

  1. Summary of the update process
  2. Disabling your store
  3. Backing up your store's files
  4. Backing up your store's database
  5. Download the current version of PrestaShop
  6. Prepare those downloaded files

Part 3

  1. Copy prepared files to WAMP test server
  2. Create a database locally and import your store's backup database
  3. Run the install and upgrade script on the WAMP server
  4. Import Translations
  5. Test your store on the WAMP server

Part 4

  1. Copy prepared files to your working store
  2. Run the install and upgrade script on your working store
  3. Import Translations
  4. Generate a new .htaccess file
  5. Re-enable modules
  6. Test your working store
  7. Enable your working store – go live!

Part 5

  1. What do you do if your update fails?
  2. Delete the files from your live site
  3. Upload backup files
  4. Delete the database from your live store
  5. Create a new database
  6. Import the backup database
  7. Import translations
  8. Enable your store

If you want to learn more about how how to access these Upgrade PrestaShop videos, check out PrestaShop 1.4 Tutorials.

Learn PrestaShop 1.4 Fast!

Curt Donohue

Curt Donohue is a PrestaShop enthusiast and the creator of PrestaTraining.com as well as PrestaShop 1.4 Tutorials.

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Tom August 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm

“it seems to me that after a few upgrades, our theme probably won’t work”

The developers have already “let the cat out of the bag” — we should not expect themes made for use with Prestashop v1.4x to be compatible with Prestashop v1.5 (when it eventually materializes). One of the Prestashop Newsletters provided a link to a forum discussion regarding their proposed adoption of a (960Grid, as I recall) theme framework.

“are some (premium) themes upgraded along with the core of PrestaShop?”

Only a very few themers are able/willing to offer this. That’s a big part of the reason, um rationale, for adopting an extensible framework. But “extensible framework” or not, only shop owners who have absolutely accepted the theme EXACTLY as is, without tweaking and customizing ANYTHING in the themeset files to better suit their shop… those are probably the only folks who may realize ongoing “seamless” transitions, across versions.

Lynnette DeBell August 7, 2011 at 9:45 am

Hi Curt –

We are using VelvetSky theme, which is really nice, but “free”. So looking forward, if we decide to upgrade to a new version of Presta Shop (we are currently using 1.4.3) it seems to me that after a few upgrades, our theme probably won’t work.

This must be a problem many shops have. So I am wondering, in general do shops just pick a theme and a version of the core and stick with it until they HAVE to change? Or are some (premium) themes upgraded along with the core of PrestaShop? Or is there another general strategy?

Also now that PrestaShop’s latest version “allow[s] you to upgrade to the latest version of PrestaShop in just one click”, it seems to me that more people will be upgrading the core PrestaShop more often, really pushing a requirement that themes are kept up-to-date with the core.

In your experience what have you discovered regarding themes and core versions?


Curt Donohue August 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

Hi Lynnette,

You are in a better position for upgrading than someone with a theme that is based on versions of PrestaShop prior to 1.4. The code is very different from versions 1.3.x to 1.4.x.

With that said, each theme built on version of PrestaShop 1.4.x usually requires some tweaking to keep things working correctly as PrestaShop continues to update their core code.

So, you are correct in assuming that your theme will most likely not work as it should as the revisions keep coming. Hopefully, the developer of that theme will continue updating it to work with the newer versions of PrestaShop, but you never know because it is free.

Because my experience is somewhat limited with respect to your question about PrestaShop core and theming strategy, I’m probably not going to be able to give a complete answer, but I’ll tell you what I think.

From the people I’ve visited with, many of whom are still on 1.3.x versions and earlier, they are really struggling with whether they should upgrade or not. Some of these people are using premium themes with custom coding and their websites look great. Many times, their thinking is “if its not broke, don’t fix it.” I can’t say I disagree with that.

Other people who have almost the original installation of their pre-version 1.4.x PrestaShop store, may be in a better position to upgrade than those with lots of custom work or a premium theme that does not support version 1.4.x. In this case, it usually makes sense to upgrade to keep up with the improvements in version 1.4.x.

PrestaShop 1.4.4 came out while I was on vacation last week and I haven’t gotten a chance to try it out yet. I am doubtful, however, that it will solve all the problems with updating because many PrestaShop users modified the core code.

In this case, the custom code will need to be modified to use the override capability that version 1.4 offers, or the user will need to customize the code again during the update process.

I realize this doesn’t really answer your questions directly. I’m hoping others with more experience will comment on this thread as well.

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