Photonic Version 1.46, and Suffusion Musings

I have updated Photonic to version 1.46. The main fix this version was to accommodate the change in the URL structure for 500px photos.

It has been about a year and a half since I last updated Suffusion or responded to forum questions. Three main factors contributed to this:

  1. Workload – Ever since I got back from Canada I switched to a slightly different line of work at my day job … and that amounted to my workload shooting up exponentially. I routinely have 80-90 hour workweeks, without time off or weekends. Let alone Suffusion, I get very little time with my family too.
  2. Stability and Maturity – I believe that from the point of view of features, Suffusion pretty much has all that I intended it to have. Moreover the last release 4.4.7 did seem to be fairly stable, thereby not compelling me to issue upgrades.
  3. Upgrade Barrier – This has been my biggest challenge. Over the past 18 months the WP theme review team has been significantly raising the restrictions for what themes may include. If you run the Theme Check plugin, you will see that Suffusion’s current version fails on multiple counts. It doesn’t mean that the theme is broken in any way – it just means that if I have to submit any change, it will not be accepted because it includes too many things that are “plugin territory”. To enable Suffusion to pass the check, I must remove probably 30% of its functionality, and fundamentally change some of the core code. That is going to result in nightmares for users.

I am posting this to solicit your opinions on what I should do. At this point I risk the theme breaking if WP introduces a new JQuery version, and there is no way I can release an update without weeks, or even months of testing. In such a case abandoning the theme and requesting the WP team to suspend it if it breaks seems to be one of the only solutions available to me, but that is going to hurt current users a lot. The other option would be to put the theme up for “adoption”, where someone enthusiastic and knowledgeable can take over the development and support activities fully. Given the amount of effort I put into the theme, talking of adoption seems like blasphemy, but of the two options, that will at least keep the users safe. Ironically I am at this unfortunate juncture because Suffusion was leagues ahead of the curve when most of these features were added, and some of the review team’s restrictions came in several years after the features were originally introduced.

In my absence on the forum Drake and Colin have provided admirable support – for that I am most thankful! I would also like to thank all users for your continued enthusiasm towards the theme in spite of not having an update from me all these days.

31 Responses to “Photonic Version 1.46, and Suffusion Musings”

  1. Few weeks ago I posted briefly on the forum that the progress of WP was going to make Suffusion as is difficult. As you point out even if you had the time to devote to it the changes needed from the plugin repository perspective are big. I wondered if Suffusion can exist ‘outside of the repository’ but that doesn’t really solve all that much other than being free of the theme review issues. Mature or not it still requires work and time to maintain. I hope Suffusion somehow remains in your hands and continue to exist as close to its current “quality” as possible.
    For anybody reading this Suffusion is great and still works well.

    • Thanks, Reza. Unfortunately existing outside the repository is not an option at the moment – it would make things a lot more challenging in terms of providing updates etc.

  2. Suffusion is a great product, even after 18 months of no new releases.

    But your point about its lack of ‘future-proofing’ and the vulnerability of the product to being potentially broken by a subsequent upgrade of WordPress, and the difficulty/time it would take to respond to such a situation, is truly terrifying.

    I’ve been in similar situations to your own in the past, where things were once fun, and a passion, and then became less fun and more hassle, and the ‘graceful exit’ is always very difficult to achieve.

    My suggestion would be to find a good home for your lovely theme; somewhere and someone who will care for it, bring it up to date and in line with current WP conventions and requirements, and carefully shepherd it into the future.

    I don’t think from your description of your situation, and reading between the lines, there is really any other alternative.

    Thank you for all the thousands of hours you’ve put into Suffusion to date.


    • Thanks, David. If I do find a volunteer to take things over on WP’s site, that would be good enough.

  3. Sayontan, great to hear from you.

    Could I suggest a slightly alternative solution?

    Create a ‘new’ version of Suffusion (maybe Suffusion II or even a new name) that complies with the new WPTRT rules. Making it clear the functionality that has had to be removed and suggesting plugins that may fill these gaps. I suspect that a large number of users don’t use some or all of these features and may be able / prepared to work around the changes.

    By having 2 themes in the repository, new users would start with the new theme and existing users over time could migrate from the old theme as the community documents the changes needed to migrate once experience is gained in such migrations.

    I would not like to see you put it up for adoption as it is your creation and in my experience new ‘owners’ often lack the vision of the original author and quickly lose interest.

    As usual should you decide to go with this suggestion I will help where I can.

    • I’m with Colin. Create Suffusion II that is compatible with the latest WP version and jquery… This would avoid compatibility problems caused by further updates by WP. Many of us must be on the latest versions due to security reasons. (I had some issues after WP updated to V4) If there is some functions that require plug-ins, that’s fine.

      The current Suffusion – running fine for users even without updates for 18 months – continues to be available with existing users having the options that Colin mentions.

      Your “Suffusion Approach” is wonderful – it would be a great shame if the world lost it …

      – e

  4. I like the Theme very much. It is working well on many websites from me (helped some guys to get an easy own website for blogging and sharing information). It’s easy to change several features without php knowledge. I don’t know which functions will be removed if there is a need to put a new Suffusion Version to Wordpess repository. Maybe I don’t need them?
    For me it would be Ok, if Suffusion will get outside of repository if there is a need for security fix or feature update because of JQuery.
    However, for new user it’s a bad idea, because repository has a good reason. Little bit for security, but also to have one website for searching (including outside of WordPress self) and getting updates.

    Don’t know if it’s a good idea or not. What would be if for Suffusion will only released hotfixes against future problems (JQuery, securits fixes) and those hotfixes will be hosted outside of repository.
    Additional there is a start with new theme (like Suffusion Lite) which use most code of Suffusion without the need to do a fast release or to change a lot included feature of Suffusion (which maybe confuse actual users).

  5. I understand your problem. I have a freeware program that I’m having trouble keeping updated due to work commitments.

    I really hope Suffusion doesn’t fade away. After all, it’s named from one of my favourite books.

    If there is absolutely no hope of you being able to get back to it before WordPress breaks it, then it would be good to see it go to someone who has the time and drive to take it over. Is there any chance you can get other people to work with you on it? These other people could take the load until you can get back on-board.

    I guess the way forward is to do what themes like Weaver have done, which is to have a plugin that adds all the missing functionality back in once you make it conform to the new WP rules.

  6. Reading this post I was very sad… Is hard to say in English all things that came now in my mind…
    You know how much I love Suffusion, even the idea to not have Suffusion for my projects is a nightmare… Because I didn’t find an alternative, no other theme is so configurable by options, templates, CSS or JS…

    I think that a good idea can be a Suffusion Lite theme, but even an upgrade of Suffusion which comply with WPTRT requirements will be better than abandoning or adopting the theme. Nightmares for users which loose some features? What about nightmares of ALL users which loose ALL features and need to start customizations for their sites from zero with another theme?

    And what features will loose? SEO options? All in One SEO can import its own settings for site and for posts, so can create a routine to export Suffusion SEO settings in the simple text format needed by AIO SEO, then move these settings in AIO SEO. Google Analytics code? Can be added by anyone in any plugin for GA…

    BUT, again, even without any backup solution, to customize only some features with the help of third party plugins will be much, much better than to loose ALL and start the customization from beginning. And start with??? There isn’t a second Suffusion in repository, we don’t have another theme for replacing Suffusion.

    A slimmed theme can be easier to maintain in the future. Can concentrate only on bugs which can appear.

    Not need to rush. I don’t think that an update of JQuery will break the theme (just for testing I replaced in this morning JQuery 1.11.1 packed in WP, with the latest version – 1.11.2 – the site still works as before, no problem). Even if will appear some issues, we can post patches until the new version of theme will be ready.

    I know how limited is your time, I really know. For years I sleep only 4-5 hours per night for having time for sites and for Suffusion forum because during the day I am at job or spend few hours with my family.
    I will continue to help you as I can, I will continue to answer on the forum so you can concentrate to development. But would be pity to retire a theme which already comply with all web requirements, including the latest “mobile view” requirement of Google (I mention only this one because it came last days, but the theme respect this requirement for 2 years already).

    Anyway, any decision you will take, thank you for this great theme, you are a visionary and Suffusion was far ahead of its time.


  7. Sayontan,

    I have nothing to add or subtract from what you’ve said and what the others have said. I have no suggestions for you. I just want to add my voice to those of support for whatever you choose to do and thank you for everything you’ve done until now; you’ve pushed WP to the limits and you’ve made it possible for non-developers to customize WP sites in ways they never could have without Suffusion.

  8. I was wondering the same things as Mike. I, of course, don’t want it to break, but I hate to see you have to give it away. Maybe you can solicit help to keep up it up to WP standards but still be the overlord?

  9. All I can say is that you have to do what is best for you and your situation. Having used suffusion for over ten years, my aunt asked me to help her with her website. I looked at tons of new themes and still went back to Suffusion for her. I hate to see it develop problems since Im depending on it and also hate to see it “adopted” by someone who doesn’t see your vision but no matter what you decide, know that you have developed something amazing and wonderful.,. Even when I get “hung up”, I have always loved that there was help available…I wish you the best no matter which way you need to go… follow your heart.

  10. First, I’d like to thank you for this wonderful theme. It is outstanding. I’ve read through the comments and agree with a Suffusion 2 theme. I am very concerned since suffusion is my go to theme and I have it running on many sites. What features are considered to be plugin material and would be removed? My favorite features are the ability to switch to responsive and the custom css. Is there a way to sign up for a newsletter so we can prepare if suffusion breaks due to wp jquery changes?

  11. Sayontan,

    Very good to hear from you after such a long absence — quite happy to hear you’re well, although overworked. A number of us wondered “whatever happened to….”

    That said, both Drake and Colin have done a great job of support. Big thumbs up to them both!

    As for suggestions…. I don’t know if this is practical, but I would suggest looking at ways to make Suffusion a commercial theme rather than a free theme in the WP store. Because of its wealth of features, it’s possible that taking it out from under the WP store umbrella may let it survive in the marketplace and make it viable either for you or an adoptee at some point.

    You passed the 1,000,000 download milestone a long time ago. If just 5 or 10 percent of those people purchased a commercial version, that would be a viable business, to my mind.

    Best of luck, and I hope you find a way to keep your creation alive and thriving in the future — there are a lot of us fans out here.


  12. Sayontan,

    since some years I use the Suffusion theme on several websites and I love it. I am not a developer, but I know your dilemma from other projects. One begins something, puts a lot of work into it and it will be great. More and more people use the created and love it. And one’s also a bit proud of it. And later? How can one make a cut? In Germany there is a saying for this: “At the beginning you are the master, later you are the servant”. And yes, that’s just the feeling, the feeling to become a servant of the own project, isn’t it? I express my appreciation that you shoulder responsibility and that you’re making all these thoughts about the future of Suffusion.

    More than 1 Million Downloads! – This will certainly be many thousands of users. Have you already thought about the possibility to make Suffusion a pro-version? I think there will be a lot of people in-between who would give some money for this awesome theme. Then you could pay some staff for developing and the project would stay in your hands with less work.

    I really hope Suffusion will continue to exist.

  13. You’re awesome. An incredible piece of work. DON’T PANIC! Solutions will appear. I personally will try to stay updated and help if possible, even if I only have limited knowledge. Thanks for all your work.
    Richy R

  14. Since I am brand new to WordPress and it took me several days of hunting and asking questions on WP to find the Suffusion theme, (and I love it btw) – thank you to all who have worked on it and helped so many with learning how to use it (Sayontan, Drake, Colin) I would absolutely hate to see it be suspended because of lack of updates due to time/money/assistance issues – it seems to be one of the only themes that is free that does everything I want. I am more than willing to donate a little money, and I truly wish I knew something about .php to be able to assist with development and updates (I’m a VB.Net programmer by trade – just switching over to WP, in general and Suffusion in particular – because ti works!) If all of us that use this wonderful theme could donate just a little time, money and/or effort to keep it going, I hope that it can be done. Please let us all know what we can do to help!

    A huge “Thank you” again to Sayontan, Drake, Colin and anyone else who gives freely of their time for this wonderful theme!

  15. I have been using Suffusion for about 3 years and it does all that I need it to do. I don’t look forward to a “post-suffusion” period at all.
    I would support whatever can be done to keep it going- plugins, custom codes, whatever.
    Could Suffusion “Lite” offer premiun or pro plugins to return functionality and defray costs.
    I would pay gladly!

  16. Sayontan,

    Suffusion is a great theme and, yes, it was ahead of its time. I think the question is “what do you want”?

    Since you ask for feedback:

    * 80-90 hours may be unhealthy over the long term (questions about Suffusion aside).

    * The first thought that came to mind was creating a new “Suffusion 2015” with many of the same features. I get the sense that you still would like to be involved with Suffusion, so many putting together a team and you provide guidance and advice only when you are too busy to code.

    * You’ve had the custom post type stuff separated off into a plugin for a while. I think it is OK to remove that from the theme now.

    * Some of the theme check items refer to things that have been deprecated and should be updated at some point.

    * Which of the required items seemed that they would be the most difficult to change?

    Suffusion has ‘premium’ features but is free. Thank you,


  17. I am very interested in the future of Suffusion!! No other theme that I have found (though I stopped looking once I got comfortable with Suffusion), has as many OPTIONS! Each website designed with Suffusion can be made to look entirely different from the one before, if desired.

    Please keep us informed. I’m not a developer so I can’t comment on the code, but as others have mentioned, having to find plugins to replace some functionality would be much preferred over losing our favorite WP theme! Thanks for all your hard work, Sayontan and team.

  18. Sayontan, glad to know you’re still here! I do hope Suffusion will find a way to continue on, while totally understanding life and sanity have to come first.

    Suffusion II with plugins sounds like a great option and very much willing to pay for it. If I haven’t bought you a cup of tea already, I do apologize.

    Thanks to Colin and Drake as well for all your help.

  19. This plugin is perfect for blogs/web photography, I hope all results photos from the phone, camera, etc. Can be collected on a web/gallery and it was very good in my opinion. Showing Instagram in my blog is very useful. Thanks for version 1.47

  20. I won’t be original, but I do agree with most of comments.
    I am also using Suffusion since some years now, and feel very comfortable with it.
    The best would be a new version of Suffusion and if we have to add plugin, that’s sound fine.
    And it wouldnt be a problem to buy you a cup of coffee for that.
    I understand it takes a long time to develop, unfortunatly…


  21. We have used Suffusion on over 30 websites, so you can guess my state of panic at this post. I have read most of the suggestions provided and I want to lend my support to two views.
    1.Turn Suffusion into your day job! and here are two possible routes:
    (a) Donations – Run a Wikipedia-like donation campaign each year for users to donate at least $1 to the the development of suffusion, with the existing thousands of users you currently have, it is possible to receive enough funds to get you working on Suffusion either part time or full time.
    (b) Go Pro – This is the route to take if you want to go full time on Suffusion, Chaoti and John Griffith have provided some good views on this.

    2. Make a second theme (Suffusion Lite), and users can use plugins to fill in the gaps for some of the functionalities. Colin, Drake and Ciprian have already provided more details on this route. This is the route to take if you still intend to not to make any money from Suffusion. (You can still develop Pro plugins for the Suffusion Lite)

    I strongly believe you should go for the DONATION route right now to see if enough funds can be raised from the existing community to ‘buy’ you off your day job.

    Finally I just want to say ever since I found Suffusion, I have not tried any other theme, why should I? it has all that I want! I thank you so much for the contribution you have made to my company, myself and the whole WP community…I really pray and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Suffusion does not die.

  22. Sayontan,
    I have used Suffusion since early 2010. It has served it’s propose well. I am sad to see this wonderful and robust theme go away. However, I do understand the situation. Being that it is a free theme and you have to work for a living, it makes it difficult to manage and keep up with all of the WordPress requirements.

    I doubt anyone could have the dedication that you devoted to the theme, and I would hate to see it given a bad name because of someone else screwing it up.

    Anyway, thank you for the great theme and all of hard work and dedication that you gave to everyone who used it. I still use Suffusion on the website where I offer free Suffusion tutorials (

    I used Suffusion on ( but had to convert to another theme preemptively to ensure stability. I converted of to Genesis Theme with a Genesis-Sample as the child theme.

    I still use suffusion ad-hoc-widgets. They are great for placing widgets anywhere on a website. I hope that ad-hoc-widgets and the other plugins can be maintained.

    Kind regards,
    Jeffery Jack

  23. I am appreciative of this theme, yet unsentimental in some respect: better something ends if it cannot be maintained and improved — especially when it is in a field, website creation and cms, that is still very much in a growing era. So much possibility is constantly emerging. For better or for worse, themes need to keep abreast of developments.

    Paid option? I would certainly pay.
    2.0 option with less functionality? Depends on what would be lost, of course.
    Retirement? If we are pointed to something comparable first! 🙂

    I rest somewhere between the people who just want to buy a theme and input content, and those who actually know what they are doing and can play with CSS and HTML. Suffusion has allowed me to muddle along and get more or less what I wanted from my site. This capacity and strong support are what count for me.

    Thank you for your work, and much appreciation to Drake and Colin for their support.

  24. Thanks for your free theme that I have been using for the last few years. If you do decide to “shut down” it, please find a way to notify us in advance so that we can prepare for it. You have my email. Please feel free to contact me and/or add me to your mailing list.
    Great job so far and good luck with everything.

  25. I too, agree with above comments. It’s the most versatile theme I know and I love using it.

  26. We use suffusion theme with great success. So thank you very much for this great theme. Since we just decided to use suffusion for 2 years ago, we would not be happy to look for a new theme. It’s still actual and for our needs mor than just sufficient.

  27. I am a senior who loves computers and graphics, and wishes she was 20 yrs. younger so she had time to learn more. I had never used wordpress until before this month…had only used web builders to create my personal art and poetry websites, and had no interest in learning something new…lol I volunteered to be webmaster for our local arts council, and had no idea what I was getting into. They did not want a blog, but the site was based on wordpress, so I had to work within the system so to speak. I was sooooo happy when I found suffusion! Together with a few other plugins, I had a way to create what we wanted without me pulling out all of my hair! Thank you so much for all your work!! I just pray it holds together for a long, long time! I am too old to learn CSS, HTML was hard enough…lol!

  28. First off, thank you for your work on the Suffusion theme. It is a great theme; easy to use and plenty of options. Even if you have the coding skills, Suffusion makes it easy to have a great looking blog without spending a lot of time. Time is valuable for most of us, sometimes even a few minutes a day is all you have.

    Perhaps you can find a couple people to assist you with updates to the theme. You shouldn’t have to give up authorship or credit for the large amount of work you’ve done. Maybe a college or high school computer class can “adopt” Suffusion as a running class project to gain real world coding experience.

    Life is full of changes, but it would be sad to see Suffusion gone.

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