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Submitted by Chris Graham
ocPortal's upgrader will try and help with this, by automerging-in changes made to the default files. It is not perfect though: it only handles insertions and deletions. It can't handle conflicting changes on a line (if you've made a change on the same line the developers have made a change on), can't handle changes in line order and it doesn't have any actual knowledge of CSS or XHTML syntax (it just looks at lines as text).
The automerging works on the principle that ocPortal creates backups of theme files that you override, and then uses those with what is called a "3-way merge" (we'll explain this later). Let's have a worked example…
The 3-way merge will see the changes between 1 and 3, and then apply them to 2. If it can't make a match when it looks at 2 for a particular change it will not be able to merge in that change.
Because of the deficiencies in merging already described, it is often better to go through the process by hand, or to go over by hand to perfect what the automatic results haven't done quite right.
The development team recommends 3 tools for doing this:
Here is some documentation for Winmerge that explains how to use these kinds of tools (they're all very similar) a bit better:
WinMerge 2.12 Quick Tour
You essentially need to download from your server a copy of the new default theme, and your theme, and start doing file comparisons within the tool.
Look between 1 and 3 to identify changes made by the development team. This is useful to see what changes were made for the new version. If you have 2 open in a separate editor it is easy to manually apply each change you see into that copy, i.e. upgrade your theme.
Look between 2 and 3 to find the changes you and the Theme Wizard made.
Look between 1 and 2 to find all the changes made by the development team and by you and the Theme Wizard.