Making a child theme to preserve the changes you have made in the WordPress theme

Rare is the case when people do not make a change to the WordPress themes that they have installed. They may fiddle around with the .css files, changing font sizes / font colors, etc to customize it as per their own preference. So, you have a theme that looks somewhat good, but then you realize that it needs some work; you fire up your text editor, open up the css files and the functions file and make some changes. Or you could add some new php code to your functions file and use it within your themes to add some functionality that was missing. You could even go further and add new template files, over-ride some of the templates that are being used in the theme, and so on.
And then, you know how important it is to upgrade your plugins and themes in order to ensure that the security levels of your blog remains high. So, you see a theme upgrade, and go ahead for the upgrade. What you did not really think through was that the theme upgrade replaced the files in your theme, including the changes that you had made so lovingly, and some parts of your blog get affected. That is bad, but there is really nothing you can do about it. But, there is something you can do, although it requires some effort. WordPress gives a functionality called ‘Child Themes’, that allows you to make changes, and these changes are preserved even when you upgrade your themes. Here are some tutorials that allow you to learn the scope of what you can do through Child Themes, and the process of doing so.
Child Themes on WordPress Codex (link)
Introducing Thirty Ten, my guide to creating a Twenty Ten Child Theme (link)
How to make a child theme for WordPress: A pictorial introduction for beginners (link)
Ten Good Reasons to use WordPress Child Themes and Template Parts (link)

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