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Hotaru has been designed to allow an extraordinary level of customization. However, the last thing you want after customizing your site is to lose everything when you upgrade to the latest version.
Upgrading Hotaru CMS is easy. All you have to do is overwrite all your current files with new ones from the latest version. However, to ensure a safe upgrade that maintains all your changes, you need to understand the Content folder:
A fresh Hotaru installation includes a default admin theme, some default plugins and a default theme. All of these will be overwritten during an upgrade.
Content --- --- admin_themes --- --- --- --- admin_default --- --- plugins --- --- --- --- default plugins --- --- themes --- --- --- --- default
However, the following "my_custom" folders would be safe during an upgrade:
Content --- --- admin_themes --- --- --- --- admin_default --- --- --- --- my_custom_admin --- --- plugins --- --- --- --- default plugins --- --- themes --- --- --- --- default --- --- --- --- my_custom_theme
So all you need to do is leave the defaults alone, but customize copies of them (or find ready-made themes in the forums).
Note: "my_custom" is an example name.
Much of Hotaru is powered by plugins that provide their own templates and language files which you will probably want to customize. However, unlike above, you can't customize copies of plugins because the filenames won't match and the plugins will break. Fortunately, there's an easy way to maintain your customizations. Let's imagine a plugin named oozleflopper which has a template called oozle_show.php
Hotaru will find oozle_show.php in your theme folder, which we know won't be overwritten during an upgrade.