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Upgrading Poor Like AWBS


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We're moving from AWBS to WHMCS because it looks a better all round script.


We bought in at v4 and we're still configuring our site before going live in the New Year.


We're currently upgrading to v5 and are so disappointed to discover the upgrade process with WHMCS is even more complex than AWBS.


Okay, let me clarify - the overall upgrade process is simple - it's applying our styling to the templates that's causing problems.


We're using the "portal" template and have had to make major modifications to get the pages to look the way we want.


The template mods initially took about 3 days to complete and even then were not fully tested.


So, now we're in the process of upgrading to v5 we find that it's going to be about the same amount of time to modify the new template pages.


I know you list the template files that have changed and even the line numbers of the changes but these are of little help due to the fact we've had to modify our pages so much that they have little resemblance to the original pages.


It would be really nice to be able to modify everything at CSS level but when you have elements hard coded to be centrally aligned it makes it impossible to do so.


So impressed with WHMCS have we been up to this point that the level of disappointment is only magnified by the childlike structure of some of these template pages.


Sorry, but it's causing us a real headache and I don't want to suffer in silence.


Disgruntled but persevering. For now.

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Wow, bit harsh - a real quick Google for "whmcs template changes v5" gives us the following:



Template Changes


In Version 5.0, the previously named "default" template theme has been renamed to "classic". And the new "Default" style is the newly introduced V5 theme. So these template changes below apply to both the "classic" and "portal" template styles, with the line references taken from "classic".


announcements.tpl - Twitter, Facebook & Google+ Social Integration (Lines 20, 22-36, 41-44, 52-53)

bulkdomainchecker.tpl - reCAPTCHA Integration (Lines 3-4,12-23,30-33)

bulkdomainmanagement.tpl - ** New File **

bulkdomaintransfer.tpl - reCAPTCHA Integration (Lines 3-4,12-23,30-33)

clientareacancelrequest.tpl - Added Domain Auto Renew Disable Functionality (Lines 17-18,27-36,43)

clientareachangepw.tpl - New my details links bar include (Line 3)

clientareachangesq.tpl - New my details links bar include (Line 1)

clientareacontacts.tpl - New my details links bar include (Line 21)

clientareacreditcard.tpl - Replaced expiry date input with dropdowns + New Links (Lines 1 & 39)

clientareadetails.tpl - New my details links bar include + Default Payment Method Select (Line 3 & 33-38)

clientareadetailslinks.tpl - ** New File **

clientareadomaincontactinfo.tpl - New WHOIS Info Management Options (Lines 1-15,18-19,28-44,48)

clientareadomaindetails.tpl - Nameserver Changes Updates (Lines 1-13, 54-57)

clientareadomaindns.tpl - Update to Registrar Linked DNS Host Record Management Handling (Line 26)

clientareadomains.tpl - Bulk Domain Management Functionality Added (Lines 1-6,13-14,16,18,23-34)

clientareahome.tpl - Inline CSS Removed + SSL Twitter Feed Added (Lines 10-131 & 123)

clientareaproductdetails.tpl - Password Change Confirmation Messages (Lines 45-48)

clientregister.tpl - reCAPTCHA Integration + Language Update (Lines 2-4,62-68)

contact.tpl - reCAPTCHA Integration (Lines 22-30)

creditcard.tpl - Replaced expiry date input with dropdowns (Lines 46)

domainchecker.tpl - reCAPTCHA Integration (Lines 23-34)

downloads.tpl - Updated Language Strings (Line 23)

header.tpl - Optional but recommended addon module output template tag additions (Lines 9,13-14)

footer.tpl - Optional but recommended addon module output template tag additions (Lines 10-11)

invoicepdf.tpl - Updated table display method

knowledgebase.tpl - Updated Language Strings (Line 23)

quotepdf.tpl - Updated table display method

style.css - Various CSS styling updates & changes - 15,414-418,471-594

supportticketsubmit-steptwo.tpl - Priority Remembering & reCAPTCHA integration (Lines 45-47 & 69-77)

viewannouncement.tpl - Twitter, Facebook & Google+ Social Integration (Lines 3-8,10-55)


The header & footer template changes above are optional, but recommended to ensure compatability with future addons both released by us and third party module developers. Likewise as are the invoicepdf.tpl, quotepdf.tpl and style.css updates. But all other files updates are recommended to ensure you have trouble free access to all the new functionality.


Now, question is, do we hear an apology to WHMCS?

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Sorry to hear you feal that way about upgrades. But I really don't know how they could be any easier. Like you say, for every new release we tell you not only the files that changed, but also the exact line within it, and given that level of detail, it's usually easy to merge the changes - but if not there are of course free programs like WinDiff available that allow you to compare and apply the changes. Certainly shouldn't be any harder than any other program though.


If you've done advanced customisations then maybe you should be considering an SVN setup? With that, if you setup the base templates from V4.5 as a revision, then load your custom changes and take a diff, you can then apply those to the default V5 templates. That can be an easier way of handling things in certain situations.



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  • 2 weeks later...

There were a larger than average number of template changes with this upgrade. If you're new to WHMCS, and had made any template changes to v4, it wouldn't surprise me if you had trouble.


I use WinMerge to check/merge changes, but the degree of difficulty and time each upgrade will take totally depends on how much you're customized/altered the templates. Which, surprisingly, are what templates are there *for*... since no one but you knows what customizations you've put into your install, I think it's both unfair and incorrect for anyone else to claim it will over take "X amount of hours to upgrade" because that's what it took them.


Upgrading has taken me 3 hours, other upgrades have taken 3-4 days.


To be honest, between knowing this would be a major upgrade with a lot of changes, and already planning a redesign of our website, I opted to over-write all previous customizations and start from scratch, only changing what I absolutely need to, to make future upgrades less painless.


I've always believed that WHMCS should update like most mature software/apps/scripts do...with the click of a button to initial the update internally, not by FTP.

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Our initial frustration was compounded by other events ...


1 - we signed up for what now appears to have been the very last release of v4. At the time we saw v5 was coming but was not yet stable so we decided against going for it.


2 - we began customizing the "portal" template with the "verticalsteps" order forms. We found that file structure was great but page coding (although better than AWBS) was still a little archaic with multiple elements having forced styling at page level.


3 - we realized rather late that the "verticalsteps" order forms was not suitable because it didn't provide shopping cart features that we took for granted like the ability to delete an item.


4 - we noticed v5 was now released as stable so decided to upgrade at this point.


5 - renaming of the templates between v4 and v5 caused us some initial confusion but we liked the new "default" style so decided to go with that together with the "cart" order forms.


6 - the page and file structure was a little different so it was clear it would be easier for us to start again from scratch and so our customizing started all over again.


Summary ...

Although we are not yet live, from what we've seen, we really like WHMCS. Not just the tools and features and ease of use but also the file structure and core upgrading procedure.


I've used file check/merge software in the past and it's fine when the page structures are at least similar but in this case they weren't so that was not an option. We have a copy of the original template files so maybe we can use them as a comparison for the next upgrade.


I still have an issue with the styling though. There are numerous accounts of centring content that (for us) are the first thing to be removed. Not everyone wants content centred. Also, I can understand why the "bootstrap.css" file is there but it makes CSS changes a real headache.


Don't take this as extreme criticism from a dissatisfied customer - quite the opposite. If this is all the feedback we have to give (so far) then you've done a great job. As I said, we really like WHMCS.


Solutions ...

Well, it's easier to destruct than construct but regarding the CSS, maybe a plain or unstyled version of the templates and order forms would be useful. After all, you might find that most seasoned designers and developers are buying the functionality of WHMCS first - not the styling.

Edited by epode
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