Why Do I Need to Use a Child Theme
Using a child theme gives you the space to make powerful aesthetic or functional changes to your Divi website. Technically, these changes can be made to the core files of the parent theme, but this is extremely risky as:
- You might break something in the code, and
- Theme updates will wipe out all of your edits.
Making use of a child theme ensures that you can make site updates in a 100% fool-proof and safe manner, and too, enjoy some time-saving conveniences for your later web builds by copying code between stylesheets.
If you’ve ever looked at Divi’s core theme files, you’re bound to notice the millions of lines of code. For really advanced WordPress users, editing this code might be relatively easy, but for the general populace who aren’t 100% code savvy, who WordPress and Divi were made for, these lines and lines of code can be overwhelming. Code is written in such an intricate manner that something as simple as adding a punctuation mark in the incorrect place will completely throw the entire operation off, rendering your theme, and website, broken. If you want to tinker around with code, be it CSS or PHP related edits, using a child theme will grant you this space. With a child theme, you can play around to your heart’s content without creating any vulnerabilities in the core (parent) theme’s files.
At various stages along the way, theme development agencies or creatives will decide to update their themes. These may be major updates such as theme version updates, or smaller ones such as bug fixes and minor improvements. During a theme update, the theme developers will reassess the current version of the code present in the theme, and, if required, will make relevant changes or additions where deemed fit. As soon as the theme’s code is updated by the theme developer and is updated by the theme user, the parent theme files are essentially reset, and any code edits present will be overwritten. If you have made code changes to the parent file, you’re guaranteed to lose all changes and edits you’ve made. Child themes solve this dilemma. If updates occur to the parent theme, your child theme will not be affected as it runs as a separate entity. As your child theme would have enqueued the parent theme, the relevant updated code will still reflect in the parent theme, but will not overwrite any changes set within the files of your child theme.
With Divi’s versatile and robust nature, making aesthetic enhancements to a website is easy. Various modules can be assembled, each with a collection of different settings to style their appearance and function. While styling each individual module is a good method for some, particularly users who require an easy- insert-and-edit option, others may find this process tedious as keeping track of the small nuances set within each individual model can be a pain. Small CSS tweaks can easily be added to the Divi Theme Options console, but using a child theme and the respective files make this process much easier.
In summary: using a child theme will not only save time in design and development, but you’ll also be able to save and reuse the files for later web development projects.