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How can I ensure that my custom templates won't be overwritten when upgrading?

Question:

Q: I want to customize my templates to match the appearance of my web site. How can I ensure that my custom templates won't be overwritten when upgrading?

Answer:

Whenever you want to edit a template, create a directory named "custom" in the same directory as the template. Then, copy the template into the "custom" directory, and edit it there. The template in the "custom" directory will override the default template.

For example, say you want to create a custom client area header. Normally, you'd edit templates/client/header.tpl to do this.

Instead, create a templates/client/custom/ directory. Then, copy templates/client/header.tpl into templates/client/custom/header.tpl, and modify templates/client/custom/header.tpl instead.

The header.tpl in the custom/ directory will override the default header.tpl, and the next time we release an update, only the "default" templates/client/header.tpl will be modified, so your custom one will still override our update. That allows you to blindly install updates and not worry about them removing your customizations.

You'll still need to manually update your custom templates after upgrading (otherwise any features/fixes we've added in the updated templates will be missing/broken in your version), but if you do it as described above, it's much easier to identify which templates you've changed.