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Saying Goodbye to Canvas

Written by Jeff Pearce on October 24, 2017 Blog, Product news.

We’ve come to a difficult decision: as of today, we’re no longer selling Canvas.

  • WordPress is constantly evolving, and Canvas is no longer a good option for site builders using newer versions of WordPress – we don’t want to recommend a theme we don’t think will serve you in the future.
  • We’ll continue to provide support for active subscriptions, and for a year from today for lifetime subscriptions.
  • We’ve created a comprehensive plan for all our Canvas customers going forward. We aren’t simply dropping the theme, we are going to walk this road with you.

We know that this is a big change for you, but we believe it will set your sites up for better success in the future. Read on for more details about how we got here and how we can help moving forward.

Themes are changing

We launched Canvas in February 2010 — one of the first themes we created using the WooFramework — and it became one of our most popular. Canvas moved themes forward by innovating on the concept of theme frameworks, empowering builders to create some amazing sites. We’ve seen Canvas used to create lovely experiences on personal blogs, political websites, record stores offering thousands of products with WooCommerce integration, and more.

The WordPress theming world will experience a new wave of innovation over the next two years. The rise of page builders and the many multipurpose themes means more and more people expect easy-to-use customization tools for WordPress. Current work on the WordPress core Editor and Customizer will evolve how we build and use themes, and the Gutenberg plugin will fundamentally change how themes and content within WordPress are created.

Canvas isn’t built to keep up with the changes

While still early, we believe strongly that Gutenberg is the future. We’ve decided to invest our resources in preparing our products for it in order to bring you the best experience. Unfortunately, that won’t include Canvas.

When I first joined WooThemes in 2009, we had just created a new theming framework dubbed the “WooFramework” and had begun building themes on top of it. It has been one of our biggest strengths, and ultimately one of our biggest challenges as well. Canvas benefitted from the WooFramework, which was created at a time when the Customizer didn’t yet exist and theme options were becoming popular.

At the time, it was a great solution. However, over time we kept adding features to the theme; this added to the complexity of the code, and ultimately made it more difficult for Canvas to evolve with shifts like the Customizer and the Gutenberg Project.

That brings us to Canvas 6.

Canvas 5

We built two iterations of Canvas 6; one made it as far as alpha testing stage with a select group of existing Canvas customers. Thankfully, this feedback helped us realize we built something customers didn’t want. Our intention was then to keep working on Canvas and to find the best solution for where Canvas was heading.

So we went back to the drawing board and did extensive research into how we could bring Canvas in line with the Customizer and to smooth out theme activation and setup.

During this work, we came to the realization that the legacy of the WooFramework, Canvas Theme Options, and the overall complexity of the theme meant that Canvas was just too far behind similar themes in the ecosystem.

This includes our other flagship theme, Storefront, which was built on top of the Underscores starter theme, which better prepares the theme for the future.

Bringing Canvas in line with current WordPress standards and feature compatibility — specifically, making it fully compatible with the Customizer and the upcoming Editor changes — requires a complete overhaul of Canvas’ underlying logic as well as how the theme functions. It would be a completely different experience, one that we knew our users didn’t want.

Overhauling the theme wouldn’t serve our users, yet continuing to sell it as-is wasn’t the right decision. So we made the difficult decision to say goodbye.

We aren’t publishing the Canvas code because it won’t serve the community

Update: we’ve updated the language in this section to clarify that Canvas is open source, but we won’t be making the code publicly available. The source code is and always has been available under the GPL to active users of Canvas. Now that we’re no longer selling the theme, we’ve decided not to create a publicly available repo for the source code. The theme will still be available for download from your WooCommerce.com Account Dashboard.

We considered publicly posting the code for Canvas, but ultimately decided that extending its lifetime will not serve the community. It’s in the best interest of our users and the community to eventually move to another theme:

  • The WooFramework code contains a large amount of soon-to-be-outdated code (for backwards compatibility), and the theme would require regular maintenance to maintain the existing code standards.
  • Because of the legacy of theme options and lack of Customizer support, Canvas doesn’t pass the current standards on WordPress.org — that’s something we value highly.
  • No matter what kind of warnings we could place in a README in the repository, someone would need to triage this repository, which takes focus away from bringing you a better experience in other products in the future.

Going forward, we suggest users make a change — and we’re here for you

We are no longer selling Canvas, but we are not stopping support and bug fixes for it. We will continue to provide you with the same level of support that your theme subscription has always included.

That means that;

  • You can continue to use the same support channels for Canvas that currently exist.
  • You can continue to access all existing documentation for Canvas.
  • We will fix bugs that are reported.
  • We will keep Canvas compatible with the latest releases of WooCommerce and WordPress until all existing Canvas support subscriptions have lapsed. Lifetime subscriptions will end on October 24, 2018, and all other subscriptions will end at their currently scheduled date.
  • We will assist you in migrating to a new theme with helpful documentation, including theme suggestions.

It’s important to note that you have time to make a decision on a new theme. One of the main reasons we’re no longer selling Canvas is that we feel it won’t be in your best interests to use it in the future, knowing where WordPress is going to be in the not so distant future. Canvas isn’t going to immediately stop working — it just won’t support the next generation of WordPress features.

As a practical step, we believe that Storefront is the best replacement for Canvas, both for developers as well as anyone building sites without modifying their theme’s code.

Developers loved Canvas for the hooks and filters extensibility, and Storefront has this and more. It was built from the ground up specifically for this purpose. There are a variety of extensions offering similar functionality to Canvas. And most importantly, it is well-positioned to support both the Customizer (right now) and Gutenberg (in the future).

Your success going forward

We value you as our community, and we want to position you and your sites to be as successful as possible. Canvas has been a popular choice for agencies and developers, something we are proud of, but it’s no longer the best way to ensure your success.

We’re here to support as you figure out what it looks like to change themes. We firmly believe that this is a step towards helping you build better sites and better experiences on the web.

If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our Happiness Engineers.

141 Responses

  1. Oriano Sportelli
    October 24, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    waw, thanks… really good news… Thanks a bunch “Woothemes“ … 🙁

    • John Glynn
      October 24, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

      This is the second theme y’all have dropped from me. Costly and painful. Lesson learned, no more woo themes

      • Glenn Martin
        October 24, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

        Same for me. The alternative is to use old technology. Retiring the old is a part of progress.

      • Jeff Pearce
        October 24, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

        Hi John,

        I’d like to hear more from you about how the retirements have affected you, could you contact our Happiness Engineers so we can continue the conversation?

        We learn from feedback from our customers, and this is why with this retirement we have tried to make migration to a newer theme easier.

        Looking forward to hearing from you!

        • Pruda
          November 9, 2017 at 1:16 am #

          Same with me. If I can avoid Woo I will. I will tell you why. You have stopped being honest publicly. You new Canvas was being retired back in february. I know because when I asked support of what was happening they said I should look elsewhere. When I discussed this on Facebook groups Woo employees denied it. Said no way was it retirering. I believed them. And you still let us buy it. In quiet you hid the All Themes bundle. Same thing. You let people automaticly rebuy even though you knew you where going to retire it. I also set up several customers with Canvas this year. Really hard to explain that to them. I stand as the idiot. Thank you very much. I have payed for the All Theme bundle for quit some years. Not worth it. No customer loyalty. -We learn from feedback from our customers, HA!

    • Peter Richardson
      October 25, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

      My feelings exactly. I have a lot of clients’ websites that use Canvas. Some of them were only set up in recent months. I have responsibilities to my customers to keep their websites running for a reasonable length of time, e.g. at least 3 years. It would be unfair, unethical, and bad for business for me to say to them “sorry, your new website has to be redone at your expense because the theme has been discontinued”.
      Woo, you have a responsibility to people like me, your customers. If you discontinue a product that we and our clients rely on, just giving us a few months (or maximum 1 year) of notice is not sufficient. Yes we can stop using Canvas for new sites now, but we need to keep recently set up sites running for a fair length of time. 3 years feels about right to me. Less than that is unfair to our customers, and unfair to us, and ultimately not at all good for your reputation.

      • Brent Carnduff
        October 25, 2017 at 11:24 pm #

        Agreed – many clients on this theme. I don’t feel like I can charge them for new theme, but I certainly don’t want to donate my time to it. 3 years would be much better.

      • Marc
        October 26, 2017 at 8:24 am #

        Did you really say that?
        You cant say to your clients you support the website for 3 years, when you have no knowledge. i mean, develop a theme and sell them to your clients.

        at long last you are only a money maker, who buy a theme and sell this to a client. where is your real work in this progress? calm down. it is only your failing, when you promise 3 years of support with a third-party theme.

        think about your business. really.

      • Jeff Pearce
        October 26, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

        Hi Peter

        Thank you for your feedback, we really do value your input. We didn’t make this decision lightly, and we also felt that a year is a reasonable length of time to migrate from Canvas as a theming platform to another theme.

        We are always here to listen to our customers and we hear your concern about the length of time. That is why we’ve made the resources listed below available and have made our Happiness Engineers available to help you in this process.

        If you are struggling to migrate to a new theme, I suggest reading through the following guides:
        * How to choose and change a theme
        * Moving on from Canvas

        If you are struggling with the migration, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

        Thanks,

        • LW
          November 13, 2017 at 12:01 am #

          “we also felt that a year is a reasonable length of time to migrate from Canvas as a theming platform to another theme”

          No, it’s really not. If you run less than 5 sites then maybe. I know of a company that has 600 clients. It’s lucky they have their own in-house theme. It’s not inconceivable that a company could run 50 client sites built on a theme framework from a reputable developer like Woo. That means to have everyone moved within the support period they have to move about 1 client a week – and remember, being a theme *framework*, they probably child themed it to suit their own design, worked on with and approved by the client. You don’t just pick up 50 client sites and “migrate from Canvas as a theming platform to another theme”.

  2. David Bailey
    October 24, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

    Even though the writing’s been literally on the wall for quite some time now, it’s still a bit sad.

    I built a LOT of websites on Canvas. Some are still up and chugging along (even after 7 years!), and I need to transition them. But it’s time for my clients to update their designs anyway – nothing stays around too long either in technology or style.

    If you don’t know about them, Pootle Press has been developing add-ons and plugins for Canvas for many years and they seem like nice people. They’ve created their own alternative to Canvas – you can learn about it here: https://www.pootlepress.com/18tags-theme/

    Cheers, David

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 24, 2017 at 5:20 pm #

      Hi David,

      Thanks for the feedback, and I’m glad you had success building a lot of sites with Canvas! I’d encourage you to read through the migration guide I’ve linked to below, and if you get stuck migrating a site to contact our support channel.

      * How to choose and change a theme
      * Moving on from Canvas

      We’ve done a case study on PootlePress in 2011 on how they were using and extending Canvas. I’m not sure if you know, but 18tags is actually a fork of our Storefront theme 🙂

      Let us know how your migrations go!

      • David Bailey
        October 24, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

        Actually, I didn’t know that! Jaime has been helpful to me in the past. so I thought I’d give him a shout-out. 🙂

  3. Cara Pitchford
    October 24, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

    For me, this change is scary. I am not a tech guru who knows much abt code or developing or anything like that. I chose Canvas because it had everything I need for the 501-C3 website I volunteer to keep operating. I have learned to make it do everything needed for a nice website wo investing half my life on it. Canvas made it easy for me to be successful. I know it is always good to change up a website and make it look new and fresh, but I literally don’t even know where to start to find another similar website that I can handle. Maybe you all will help me make a choice.

    • Job
      October 24, 2017 at 5:19 pm #

      Change is indeed scary.

      We didn’t joke about our commitment to help you find a new theme, though.

      Definitely have a look at two documents that we created recently:

      * How to choose and change a theme
      * Moving on from Canvas

      But also, once you know what the main features are that you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

    • Glenn Martin
      October 24, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

      I can identify. I am no expert, but I’ve made 7 websites over the years, ALL on Canvas.

      However, I saw this day coming a few years ago. This summer I began the transitions, and now 5 of the 7 are running on Storefront. A lot of work, but ultimately I like it better.

      Plus, Storefront works MUCH BETTER for mobile, and all my websites have about 50% mobile.

      Transitioning is tough, but it’s worth it. I’d recommend Storefront, and now they’re giving their Storefront Extensions Bundle away for free, with coupon code sfe-theme-retirements.

      • Megan Solutions Indata
        October 25, 2017 at 7:26 am #

        Were they personal websites or for clients?

    • George Beinhorn
      November 4, 2017 at 10:24 pm #

      This is my concern also. Storefront doesn’t have a tenth of the backend design adjustment options that Canvas has. And for the seven sites that I manage, I need a theme that will allow me to make similar adjustments WITHOUT having to code them in CSS. I manage 7 sites for nonprofits all of which are on fairly tight budgets, and it wouldn’t be realistic to ask them to pay for a design pro to come in and fix the sites. I’m betting LOTS of Canvas users are in the same boat – they bought Canvas for the easy of tweaking the design. I completely understand the process that Woothemes is having to go through to adjust its products to the new WordPress realities. But if you-all could at least suggest a number of themes that will survive the Gutenberg saga, and that permit doing a ton of adjusting with dialog boxes, I for one would be very grateful.

  4. Kevin Reichard
    October 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

    Storefront isn’t close to being a suitable replacement for those of us using Canvas for non-commerce sites. Understand the decision, but the path forward isn’t as well-considered as you assume it is, in a grave misreading of your customer base.

    • Job
      October 24, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

      Thanks for your understanding, Kevin.

      Storefront is indeed more focused on the eCommerce side of things, although we do also know of some websites that use Storefront without a commerce focus.

      That being said, we believe that each of our Canvas users has a unique configuration of this theme and we don’t want to offer too many solutions but rather offer to help you look on an individual level. Please have a look at this document, but also don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.

    • Glenn Martin
      October 24, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

      I run Storefront on both e-commerce and non-commerce sites. Good success, but I’d recommend their Storefront Extensions Bundle, which they’re giving away for free, with coupon code sfe-theme-retirements.

      • Craig Brown
        October 24, 2017 at 11:35 pm #

        One year free is good, but the yearly subscription model is what scares me away. As a web designer I find my need for support is like this;
        year 1 > high need
        year 2> low need, mainly reporting just bugs
        year 3> If I don’t understanjd this software by now, I never will

        • Jeff Pearce
          October 25, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

          Hi Craig

          Thanks for your feedback, did you have a lifetime license or are you just not a proponent of a yearly subscription model? Would prefer something like a multi year license?

          We appreciate your feedback, so if you have any other queries don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

          Thanks,

          • webfocus
            October 28, 2017 at 5:03 am #

            Personally I’m with Craig and feel the same way. Early on is when we might need support, not years down the line. What really irks me in the subscription model though is the limitation on updates. Limiting support in time makes perfect sense to me and I’m willing to pay for it (as a small agency owner with dozens of client sites in active maintenance, I rely on solid companies providing good support for the long run). But limiting access to updates to one year makes absolutely zero sense to me…

            The other thing that irks me is companies changing their terms (understandable) but without grandfathering existing users into the terms of the product they purchased at the time of purchase. That’s breaking your word to me and WooThemes have done this more often than any other company I deal with. And we use many premium WordPress products. Your support as also been abysmal for long periods of time and that’s worrying to me when paying yearly subscription where I expect quick and competent support.

            But I do use and believe in WooCommerce because it’s a great product and is now also backed by Automattic. But I’m not making the mistake again of getting into any of your themes and that’s including Storefront. Your past record does not reassure me that Storefront will be supported for the long term.

            Also, using Canvas has been painful to me and my agency. That is why we’re down to 2 Canvas sites at this time when we’ve had many more in the past so this announcement has limited impact on us. But Canvas updates have broken client site layouts and functionality. before requiring CSS and other code rewrites. All in the one 5.x cycle. That is not normal to me.

            That is why I’ve been using Genesis exclusively since 2013 and it has never failed us. So I trust it, StudioPress and CopyBlogger media because they have always kept their word to their clients. Genesis is also a true theme framework though while Canvas is a “parent” theme which sounds similar but is really quite different.

            And your supporting Canvas for only a year from now is really not good enough. Before starting to work with Genesis I tried and started to work with another theme framework called Catalyst. A few months later that theme dev decided to port his Catalyst child theme called Dynamik (where all the framework’s power really was) to Genesis and stopped developping Catalyst itself. Yet, he’s pledged to support Catalyst for years to come because so many of his clients used it in their client sites. So he’s doing right by theme and he’s still supporting it.

            And that’s the part that’s really important for agencies like ours and freelancers working for regular clients that hire us to build their web sites. They DO NOT expect to have to pay to rebuild the same deign because a component stopped being supported after a few months. They hired us in good faith and we work for them using products we also bought in good faith from vendors we trust and not expecting the rug would be pulled under our feet with little to no warning. 1 more year supporting Canvas is not nearly enough to give your clients who trusted you and used your product on a number of sites the time to turn around and deal with this issue. You have to be completely disconnected from the reality of freelances and agencies like ours to not see that…

      • George Beinhorn
        November 4, 2017 at 10:30 pm #

        The Storefront Extensions Bundle is, unfortunately for my purposes, heavily weighted toward customizing Woocommerce sites. For my sites, I would still have to do a ton of CSS coding. I’m the kind of user Canvas was written for, who supports lots of sites but doesn’t have time to learn the intricacies of CSS and PHP. I hope someone, whether from Woocommerce or not, will post a roundup review of highly customizable THEMES (as opposed to page builders, which are very, very much not the same thing).

  5. colin hyams
    October 24, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    I don’t to sell things on this website and having only purchased in June after being recommended to the site I am very disappointed and now think I will have to move forward.

    • Job
      October 24, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

      Sorry to hear that, Colin. In all honesty, in June, we hadn’t made this decision yet. We were still looking at the future of Canvas. And it’s still a robust theme that works fine – just not with settings in the WP Customizer.

      That being said, please get in touch with our Happiness Engineers so they can help you find a solution.

      • Philip Rosmarin
        October 25, 2017 at 12:25 am #

        So, if we don’t use WP Customizer (I don’t even know what it is), how long will our Canvas theme remain stable?

        • Jeff Pearce
          October 25, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

          Hi Philip

          We will keep Canvas compatible as it currently is until 24 October 2018. Following that, as long as WordPress doesn’t remove any of the functionality that Canvas uses, it will continue to work as it currently does, support for Canvas ends then.

          Keep in mind that you won’t be able to use the Customizer or the new Editor features which are going to become the standard way within the next 2 years.

          If you have any questions about migration, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

          Thanks,

  6. Williaam
    October 24, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    Thanks for the timely headsup. I get the impression Woo has moved from the theme business to the ecommerce business. However, I sell nothing on my (several) sites.

    The main reason I like Canvas is I can build sites which look like I want them to, so two questions:

    1. Will this site you point us to have the same customizability as Canvas? In other words, will I be able to make my sites look exactly like they look now?

    2. Will the existing Canvas-based sites stop working with WordPress in the future?

    Thanks

    • David Bailey
      October 24, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

      I use Bridge theme now for most new sites as it is endlessly customizable from the Options panel. Plus it uses Visual Composer which has really changed the I build-out sites and pages.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

      Hi Williaam

      I’m glad you liked Canvas! To answer your questions,

      1 – There will always be design difference between themes, but like with any theme, you could customize it using CSS or modifying the code to look like another. It’s most likely that it won’t be an exact replication if you migrate to another theme though. You could have a similar layout as a starting point and customize the theme from there. This depends on the theme you choose to migrate to.

      2 – To put your mind at ease, it won’t “stop working” – a better way to understand this is that Canvas simply won’t support the newer features of WordPress. The site should continue to function as normal. The only time the site would stop functioning is when WordPress core code deprecates (removes) a piece of functionality that Canvas was using.

      If you are struggling to migrate to a new theme, I suggest reading through the following guides:
      * How to choose and change a theme
      * Moving on from Canvas

      If you are struggling with the migration, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Thanks,

      • Jeff Pearce
        October 24, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

        As a real world example, I recently migrated my personal blog at jeffikus.com from Canvas to Storefront, and while it is a design change, it has a familiar feel to it and retains the majority of features.

  7. Simon Duncan
    October 24, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

    Shocked. Not so much that Canvas will no longer be sold (though that is a major surprise) but that my subscription runs out in 3 weeks and I have 30+ websites – most of them are not e-commerce, though one which is and is very complex. Yikes.

    • Job
      October 24, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

      Simon, please get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do.

      • Simon Duncan
        October 24, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

        Cheers Job. Thanks. 🙂

  8. Doug Cox
    October 24, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

    Staring at my screen feeling absolutely nauseous…. I just checked ManageWp, I have 17 sites running on Canvas.

    One of them ranks very well, with over 1200 posts since December of 2008, and uses alot of those framework shortcodes in those posts. Face palm……

    Ugh….

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 24, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

      Hi Doug

      I just want to reiterate, we are still going to be making fixes to Canvas for a year from today. Which means that you have time to migrate those sites if you choose to. Like I mentioned to Williaam, the sites aren’t going to “break” suddenly, they just won’t support the newer features of WordPress.

      There is also a free plugin which will handle the shortcodes in those posts if you are going to change to a different theme, you can read more about it here, it’s aim is to make sure the shortcodes work even though you won’t be using a WooFramework based theme like Canvas.

      Thanks,

    • Leon Wagner
      October 24, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

      Same here. 10 sites. SO MUCH WORK to port and these rely heavily on features in Canvas. I am sick.

      • Glenn Martin
        October 24, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

        I have 7 sites, transitioning them all from Canvas to Storefront. Been working at it for a few months already (I saw this coming).

        Storefront is very different environment from Canvas, but after you learn it (specifically Customizer), it’s quite nice.

        Specifically for me, the Mobile-ready aspects of Storefront are FAR SUPERIOR.

        Hard work, but worth it.

        Right now they’re giving their Storefront Extensions Bundle away for free, with coupon code sfe-theme-retirements.

        • Megan Solutions Indata
          October 25, 2017 at 7:19 am #

          Do you know if you will need to renew the Storefront Extensions Bundle after the one free year for you to be able to continue customising the look of the website?

          What if you have over 30 sites using canvas and are up for $70 a year ( $90 AUD ).

          Just wondering…..

          • Megan Solutions Indata
            October 25, 2017 at 7:43 am #

            Forgot the “each”.
            So 30 sites x $70 USD per year?

          • Jeff Pearce
            October 25, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

            Hi Megan

            Sure, I can clarify that for you.

            The renewal cost is for support for the extensions, you can continue using the extensions on your sites, but if you require continued support and updates you will have to purchase the license per site each year.

            Does that answer your question? If you have more detailed questions, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

            Thanks,

  9. Leon Wagner
    October 24, 2017 at 6:29 pm #

    This puts me in a terrible position. I have 10 client sites on Canvas. They look beautiful and the clients are happy. So these are done deals, I’ve been paid, and do occasional maintenance. Now you’re telling me I have to go back to each of them and explain that because you’re discontinuing this theme, my clients will now have to pay me thousands of dollars to port their sites (with no obvious improvements) to new themes. Pretty sure I’ll just lose most of those clients. Thanks a lot. I think you have badly misread your customer base.

    • John Glynn
      October 24, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

      …amen.

      • Martha Hendrickson
        October 25, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

        It took years to build a website with Canvas for this noprofit organization . I looked long and hard for at theme and this one seemed the most flexible. Between meetings with the client and calls to customer support, I was able to get it customized with the features they want. I am earning a small fee for maintenance which I set up to be easy to do.
        Now you are telling me that I may have to go to them and ask for money to redo the site and redo all the customization? My fee was low to begin with but I am not sure it is going to be worth my while.
        Not happy with woo-themes

        I am now

        • Jeff Pearce
          October 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

          Hi Martha

          I’d like to address your concerns, specifically that you don’t have to redo the site.

          Canvas is not going to stop working overnight.

          Keep in mind we’ve preemptively come to this decision so that you have plenty of time to plan ahead for the future of your WordPress site. This includes both the themes and plugins that you’ve chosen to use.

          As I mentioned to a few other commenters here, the biggest thing to remember is that Canvas will simply not support the newer features of WordPress such as the Customizer and the new Editor, but it’s not going to stop working as it currently does.

          The only reason that Canvas would stop working is if the core of WordPress changes after 24 October 2018 after which Canvas support has come to an end.

          If you have any more questions that you want to discuss about your specific site, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

          Thanks,

      • William
        October 26, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

        Another deeply felt amen! I ask myself: can I trust Woo to not do this to me again two years from now? Ugh.

    • Aviva Pinchas
      October 24, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

      Hey Leon –

      That’s certainly a difficult position to be in. Moving away from Canvas will mean your clients’ sites are better set up for the future of WordPress, but I can definitely appreciate that this is a difficult conversation, at best.

      As we mentioned, we’ll keep supporting Canvas for another year, so you’ll have time to make those changes – the sites aren’t going to “break” suddenly, they just won’t support the newer features of WordPress.

      If there’s anything we can do to make this process easier for you and your clients, don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team.

    • Terri
      October 24, 2017 at 7:41 pm #

      I get it. I’m in the same boat, with about twice that many clients. The people I work with are very small business owners and had to save up for the original website. The emails I will need to send out are not going to be well received! No more Woothemes for me!

      • Glenn Martin
        October 24, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

        Storefront is progress over Canvas. I’m transitioning 7 sites – easy, but time-consuming……….

        Ultimately, though, I like it better. I didn’t know what I was missing till I got a modern theme.

        Right now, they’re giving away their Storefront Extensions Bundle away for free, with coupon code sfe-theme-retirements.

        • Jeff Pearce
          October 24, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

          Hi Glenn

          I’m really happy that you are enjoying Storefront! We’d welcome feedback from you about your transitioning of those 7 sites. Feel free to submit that to our support channel if you want to, perhaps your learning might be useful to other customers as well!

          Thanks!

          • Megan Solutions Indata
            October 25, 2017 at 7:37 am #

            Yes I would be interested in that too and wondering if Glenn has still got a copy of the email he sent to his clients explaining he needed to update their website’s theme? (And what their reaction was. )

            I am sure that I am not the only one that would love to have a copy of the email and edit to suit each of our individual clients…with their individually customised canvas themed websites. )

        • George Beinhorn
          November 4, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

          It’s my understanding that Storefront contains almost NONE of the easy customizing options that Canvas did. And that’s an ENORMOUS deficit as a Canvas replacement.

  10. Fred
    October 24, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

    I will surely (and sorely) miss Canvas. An innovative theme for its time. Good luck on your future growth.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 24, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

      Thanks Fred, we’re looking forward to the growth ahead as WordPress evolves! 🙂

    • Megan Solutions Indata
      October 25, 2017 at 8:27 am #

      Totally agree. It was fantastic to make a unique looking website. I loved using it.

  11. Armando1625
    October 24, 2017 at 9:16 pm #

    I don’t know what to think…I’m lost for words and truly sadden. I’m on a limited income every penny counts with web hosting fees, domain name fees, and now another fee for a new theme I’m not sure if I can afford to have my bird blog and bicycle club websites up anymore. All I wanted from the start was simple theme for my blogs and Canvas offered this to me. I feel lost now…having a year to decide to keep my websites up or close them down really sucks. Thanks for nothing.

    Armando

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 24, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

      Hi Armando

      We totally understand that you are concerned about additional expenses, and we believe that it’s in the best interests for you and your customers using Canvas to switch to Storefront. And that’s why we want to remove the financial barriers by making the Storefront Extensions bundles free, and remember that the Storefront theme is also free, so making a switch won’t cost you anything extra in license fees.

      You also don’t have to close your websites, as I mentioned to a few customers above, your sites will continue to work, they aren’t going to suddenly break, but they simply won’t support WordPress newer features in the future.

      If you are struggling to migrate to a new theme, I suggest reading through the following guides:
      * How to choose and change a theme
      * Moving on from Canvas

      If you are struggling with the migration, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Thanks,

  12. Phil Solomon
    October 24, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

    40+ sites here on Canvas and not looking forward to the extra work involved in migrating to new themes. Going forward, certainly a lesson to be learned re minimizing risk by spreading clients’ sites over a number of themes.

    • webfocus
      October 28, 2017 at 5:16 am #

      It’s not using the one theme that’s problematic IMO, it’s choosing the wrong one. We’ve been working with Genesis exclusively since 2013 and it never failed us. StudioPress is there for the long haul. And I’ve been burned by Headway and iThems Builder before. So I know how it feels. We only have 2 client sites on Canvas at this time so this won’t be too bad for us but I feel for you…

  13. Dagne Forrest
    October 24, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    I’ve been working for some months on a bilingual website using Canvas for a library, which is on a limited budget. To hear today that really they shouldn’t be on Canvas at all is a bit of blow, to say the least.

    I’m really going to need some help with figuring out which theme to adopt instead; as noted by someone above, I can’t see Storefront being the best bet, as this is not an e-commerce site. It’s an information-rich nonprofit site. Help.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 24, 2017 at 10:47 pm #

      Hi Dagne

      I can understand that this is a tricky avenue to navigate, however, while Storefront’s focus is eCommerce, I’m confident it would meet your needs.

      I would encourage you to take advantage of the free extension bundle and give Storefront a try to see that it can meet your needs.

      If you are struggling to migrate to a new theme, I suggest reading through the following guides:
      * How to choose and change a theme
      * Moving on from Canvas

      I don’t know all your requirements, so don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Thanks,

  14. Craig Brown
    October 24, 2017 at 11:03 pm #

    Thanks for the good times Canvas.

    I agree it’s time to move on and I really appreciate all the good years, the good support and documentation. I’ll have plenty of jobs changing themes for people for the next year.

    I had a look at Storefront when it first came out but since then I started exploring with other page builders. I used to use the Pootle Press page builders with Canvas, but when you start adding up all the subscription fees… and then Pootle started abandoning Canvas years ago in favor of Storefront so that’s when I started reviewing all the other page builders and price models.

    • Craig Brown
      October 24, 2017 at 11:07 pm #

      Oh PS: Thanks for providing a clear roadmap, good job.

      • Jeff Pearce
        October 24, 2017 at 11:31 pm #

        Thanks Craig! 🙂 I appreciate your honest feedback, and that you agree that it’s time to move on! Don’t forget to check out the Storefront Extensions bundle that’s free with the coupon code, that way you can try Storefront with the full spectrum of features.

        If you have any questions about a Canvas to Storefront migration, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

  15. Torsten Landsiedel
    October 24, 2017 at 11:54 pm #

    And that’s why we want to remove the financial barriers by making the Storefront Extensions bundles free, and remember that the Storefront theme is also free, so making a switch won’t cost you anything extra in license fees.

    Don’t forget to check out the Storefront Extensions bundle that’s free with the coupon code

    Quick reminder: This is only true for the first year. It is not free as in “free beer”. It is free, like in “you have won this premium page builder license”.

    • Job
      October 25, 2017 at 10:42 am #

      Hey Torsten, you’re right about this of course. But that would have been the same with your Canvas subscription as well. We do hope that this coupon will help you transition. If you have other questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

      • webfocus
        October 28, 2017 at 5:21 am #

        Not it would not have been the same. I bought Canvas near the end of the 4.0 cycle so I had a lifetime license. You’re not offering me and others in my shoes the same deal on Storefront not that you are sidelining Canvas so, for me, it’s akin to breaking your word.

  16. Scott Hamshaw
    October 25, 2017 at 3:05 am #

    I have enjoyed using Canvas and am sorry to see it discontinued.

    While I am not surprised that it is no longer being sold. I’m somewhat surprised that you aren’t committing to bug fixes and compatibility for longer. This theme was sold as a platform to build professional sites. Those of us that have launched Canvas sites recently now have to go back to clients less than a year later asking them to pay us to migrate their sites because we just launched their site on a now discontinued platform. That conversation would at least seem reasonable if it wasn’t less than year since launching their site. I think a longer commitment for bug fixes and compatibility should be strongly considered.
    Thanks,

    • Job
      October 25, 2017 at 10:53 am #

      Hi Scott, we’re committed to another full year of supporting it. After that year, Canvas won’t just break, it just might have conflicts with newer features in WordPress core.

      We do understand if this looks short to you, but one of the reasons that we’re no longer selling Canvas is that we don’t have the resources to rebuild it for the future. We cannot commit to longer than this time for this reason as well.

      Please feel free to get in touch with us to see if we can work something out that would help you sell this better to your clients.

      • Scott Hamshaw
        October 25, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

        I guess I just feel that since Canvas was marketed as a premium theme/framework that developers to use to build sites off of, then a longer deprecation period is warranted. If it was just a simple theme, 1 year of support would be fine. I understand it won’t break immediately, but it’s just kind of like shame on us for continuing to develop sites off of it this year. Admittedly, I probably should have known better since I could tell that not a lot of resources were being put into Canvas, but I wish you had at least communicated that Canvas was being scheduled/considered for phase out in the future more clearly. Just my two cents.
        For those of us with subscription plans ending within a few months, do we have an option to extend our support to Oct 24, 2018?

        • Jeff Pearce
          October 25, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

          Hi Scott

          That’s a reasonable request, if you’d like to have your plan extended, please get in touch with us through support and ask our Happiness Engineers about getting this done.

          Once again, thanks for the feedback, we appreciate it and it helps us learn from our customers!

          Thanks,

        • Annie Dubreuil
          October 25, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

          Hi Scott,
          I’m from the industrial automation world and when manufactures decide to retire a product “hardware or software” they have to support it for 5 to 10 years depending.

          My hope with this comment is to get the WordPress business community to realize that if on the name of moving forward with technology they let go their customer base, in the long run it will not serve the WordPress community well.

          A 1 year support is not enough, WordPress community need to ask a minimum to companies like Woo. I would suggest a minimum of at least 3 years.

          • Peter Richardson
            October 25, 2017 at 10:38 pm #

            I completely agree with this comment. 3 years of continued support is what I would consider reasonable. 1 year of further support, or less if your subscription expires sooner, is really poor. I have responsibilities to my customers many of whose sites use Canvas. For sites that I’ve recently set up, they need to work for at least a further 3 years. I can hardly say to them “sorry, your theme is discontinued, so although your site is only a few months or a year old, you’ll now have to pay me or someone else to remake it.”
            Woo, to be fair to your loyal customers, you need to offer a decent wind-down period for Canvas. We’re on notice now not to use it for new websites, but we have to support recently set up sites for a decent period of time, and 3 years feels about right to me. 1 year (or less) is a total let-down. I hope that on consideration you will agree that you need to keep Canvas sites functional for at least a further 3 years to be fair to us developers, and to our customers. I hope you are listening to this – your announcement comes as a real shock, and your approach seems high-handed and not shouldering your responsibilities in a decent way.

          • Jeff Pearce
            October 26, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

            Hi Annie

            Thank you for input especially as it contains learnings from other industries.

            When making this decision there were multiple factors that we needed to deal with, including a reasonable length of time for you as a customer to migrate a site. We felt that a year is a reasonable length of time consistent with our high standard of support to migrate from Canvas as a theming platform to another theme.

            While we might not agree on a length of time, we’ve made several resources available to you in order to help with this process;

            If you decide to migrate to a new theme, I suggest reading through the following guides:
            * How to choose and change a theme
            * Moving on from Canvas

            If you are struggling with the migration, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

            Thanks,

          • Jeff Pearce
            October 26, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

            Hi Peter

            I’ve replied to you above.

            Thanks,

  17. Dimitris73
    October 25, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    So with Canvas joining the club, you’ve abandoned every single one of the (over 50) themes you had built as WooThemes…
    (Except Storefront …yet)
    Very disappointing. Given your history of theme abandonment, I would be very reluctant to consider Storefront even if it was free forever…

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm #

      Hi Dimitris

      I can understand why you are disappointed. The themes we’ve created over the years are dear to our heart, however, as with all products sometimes they are no longer relevant or they become obsolete.

      We are working towards the future of theming within WordPress, and I hope you give Storefront a chance to meet your needs.

      If you have any questions about Storefront or Canvas, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Thanks,

      • Dimitris73
        October 25, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

        Thanks for your answer Jeff.
        Why should I be confident that you won’t abandon Storefront in a couple of years, as you’ve done with every other theme you’ve ever built? What’s different in this case?

        • Jeff Pearce
          October 25, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

          Hi Dimitris

          That’s a fair point, I’d say the biggest difference here is that Storefront is intimately linked to WooCommerce, which is Woo’s primary focus. And it’s also built on top of the Underscores starter theme which is part of Automattic’s larger theme strategy.

          I would have to say that confidence in a platform/company is most important when buying a product, and I know that right now you might not have a lot of that with us for various reasons, but the major reason behind why we are saying goodbye to Canvas is to position our products for the future of WordPress. Ultimately you and your customers will benefit from that.

          I hope that answered your question enough?

          Thanks,

          • Dimitris73
            October 25, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

            I guess so. I just hope I won’t regret investing in one of your themes again, if I decide to do so.
            I’d like to add that other theme authors rebuilt their code almost from scratch to keep up with wordpress changes (like the people that built The7 did in their latest major update).
            The old version settings weren’t compatible with the new versions’ code. So, for people to be able to update, they coded a procedure to “migrate” the settings from the old version to the new version (in the database).
            You could have done something similar with Canvas and I hope you’ll do this with Storefront if you ever reach a coding “dead end” again.

          • Dimitris73
            October 25, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

            I don’t know if this is possible, but here’s an idea: You could code a similar procedure so that people could switch from Canvas to Storefront and migrate as many settings as possible to the new site. That way, you’ll restore some of your credibility and save your customers a lot of time and frustration. I’d be happy to pay for this plugin (or whatever it is), as I understand it would require work on your part.

        • Jeff Pearce
          October 25, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

          Hi Dimitris

          I can understand that, and for what it’s worth we evaluated what an upgrade path would look like and the benefits it would provide – and ultimately decided it wasn’t the way to go. We’ve done something like what you suggested in the past with other products, but in this case it wasn’t the right fit.

          Thanks,

  18. Jeff
    October 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    Typical, this is the reason I moved away from WordPress as an ecommerce platform.
    Lifetime products that are not lifetime.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 25, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      Hi Jeff,

      Sorry to hear that you’ve moved away from WordPress as an ecommerce platform. Is the reason you moved away related to themes or ecommerce plugins or something else? I’d like to hear more about why so we can learn.

      I’d like to clarify the “lifetime” part of our early licenses, when we made changes to our pricing model in 2013, we addressed this, and it’s important to know that lifetime refers to the lifetime of the product. You can read more about this here and here.

      Let us know if we can be of any further assistance to you by contacting our Happiness Engineers.

  19. tomtolkien
    October 25, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    I bought a lifetime package on unlimited sites for Canvas, and three other themes. Please can you clarify what you are offering for customers in my position? Reading the text above, it seems you are asking for $69 per site, per year, for the storefront extension to offer the same functionality I’ve already paid for. Surely you are going to grandfather in existing lifetime unlimited customers?

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 25, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

      Hi Tom

      To clarify what we are offering, you will get the Storefront Extensions Bundle for free for 1 year per site using the coupon code. Thereafter it will be $69 per year per site.

      Just to clarify, are you suggesting that we grandfather in lifetime Canvas licenses to be a lifetime Storefront Extensions Bundle?

      Thanks,

      • tomtolkien
        October 25, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

        Yes, I think that would be reasonable, given the terms of the offer at the time (2011) for Canvas as lifetime licence, for unlimited sites, and support. I think that would certainly help with next steps and decision making for developers.

        • Jeff Pearce
          October 26, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

          Hi Tom

          Thanks for clarifying that. Based on your reply, I would suggest continuing that conversation with our Happiness Engineers. That way you can get the best assistance there rather than commenting here.

          Looking forward to hearing from you there!

      • Mark Jones
        October 26, 2017 at 11:46 am #

        I agree with tomtolkien. I think that’s the absolute least you should do for people who bought lifetime Canvas licences for unlimited sites. With 30+ sites on Canvas, even if I was to migrate them all to Storefront that’s more than $2k / year you’ll be trying to hit me for.

        For many of us, with clients for whom developing a site with Canvas was the most affordable way of delivering what they needed, that’s simply not a cost that can be absorbed or passed on.

        And don’t even get me started on how to sell clients on the idea of migrating a site to a new theme, with no change in look or functionality, but at £100s in cost. Those conversations could literally put me out of business. Thanks Woo.

        • Jeff Pearce
          October 26, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

          Hi Mark

          Thanks for the feedback, again we do appreciate it. It would be great if you could start a conversation with our Happiness Engineers first, before having the kind of conversation that you suggest above with your customers. We are ready to assist you in finding a solution.

          Thanks,

          • Mark Jones
            November 3, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

            Tried that, and the support person was only able to repeat the suggestions already done to death in this thread without really addressing the issues. It felt like a complete waste of 30 minutes of my life. A ticket has been created on your system, perhaps you will respond.

  20. Frank McClung
    October 25, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    I’ve done around $40K in client sites on Canvas over the years. It used to be my go-to theme, but when Woo went ecommerce several years ago, I knew Canvas was essentially dead along with all their other themes. I think Woo knew it too, but why cut off a cash cow when it still gives milk? To push Canvas users to Storefront is another self-centered move by Woo unfortunately. There are closer matches like Genesis that have similar capabilities and a vibrant community. That said, nothing in the tech lasts and change is a constant. That’s what I’ve told my clients whose site I built on Canvas. Adapt and overcome.

    What this announcement really became is a wake up call for where WordPress is heading as a whole with the new Gutenberg plugin. Tectonic shifts for WordPress are ahead. I would highly recommend that you read Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s post https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/gutenberg-morten-rand-hendriksen/.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 25, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

      Hi Frank

      Thanks for the feedback, we appreciate it.

      Regarding Gutenberg, I think Morten’s post sums it up early on,
      “The best way to understand what Gutenberg is is to try it for yourself” – it would be interesting to have him update that post since the latest iterations of Gutenberg have been released as some of his concerns have been dealt with already.

      Thanks,

  21. Annie Dubreuil
    October 25, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

    I think the same as John Glynn,
    For me too it is the second theme y’all have dropped from me. Costly and painful. Lesson learned and no more woo themes.

    I just invested last May in Canvas to rebuilt my big transactional site and I even took the time to ask you guys before moving forward and here we are. Extremely Disappointed. All that time and money I invested for nothing. You will loose on the Theme side and the WooCommerce side…

    You guys were pushing the Storefront and Superstore with Powerpack plugin etc… and it is far from being flexible as CANVAS.

    It is ok to move forward but at the expense of letting down your customer base is a big mistake.
    Hope you will reconsider this move for all of us out there who do not make a living building webites but using it as a business.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

      Hi Annie

      I can understand your disappointment, I’d like to try understand a bit more some of your frustrations so hopefully I can restore some of the faith you had in us;

      1) “You will loose on the Theme side and the WooCommerce side” – are you saying that you are losing with your clients or from building with the platform around WooCommerce?

      2) “and it is far from being flexible as Canvas” – I’d love to hear your experiences with trying to get Storefront to do what Canvas did, perhaps we can assist you in implementing the same functionality in Storefront? We strongly believe that Storefront is a viable replacement for Canvas, so if there are areas that you are struggling with – we’d love to help!

      We have following guides that detail how to migrate to Storefront from Canvas:
      * How to choose and change a theme
      * Moving on from Canvas

      If you are struggling with the migration, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Thanks,

      • Annie Dubreuil
        October 25, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

        I have talk and try many things with you guys and I have lost enough time already.

        It is time for me to make the most I can with what I have invested so far.

        My only hope is that you support Canvas for longer then 1 year. Really to short.

        Thanks

    • Annie Dubreuil
      October 25, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

      I’m from the industrial automation world and when manufactures decide to retire a product “hardware or software” they have to support it for 5 to 10 years depending.

      My hope with this writing is to get the WordPress business community to realize that if on the name of moving forward with technology they let go their customer base in the long run it will not serve the WordPress community well.

      A 1 year support is not enough, WordPress community need to ask a minimum to companies like Woo. I would suggest a minimum of at least 3 years.

  22. Karie
    October 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

    I’m reading this and feeling absolute dread. I have 25+ websites built on Canvas. All for small business. This is a sad day and I’m so disappointed with this decision.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 26, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

      Hi Karie

      I can understand how you feel, and we value the small business owners highly. I’d like to find out from you what specifically you are disappointed with and how we can help you in this process?

      If you’d rather talk directly with support, please don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Looking forward to hearing from you!

  23. dave
    October 25, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I’ve got about 15 sites out there in the world working perfectly happy on Canvas, and have routinely paid the subscription.

    Now they’re all going to die. I dread the phone calls that will happen as they fall over, yet there isn’t anything I can do other than completely rebuild every site and tell clients they’ll have to pay for that privilege again.

    Storefront is not Canvas and isn’t even close in capabilities to it. Besides you’ll probably kill that off in a year’s time too. Why would anyone trust you?

    While I’m ranting, Woocommerce is a spectacularly bloated and slow product too. I think for those clients who have shops it will be time to suggest they move to shopify.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 26, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

      Hi Dave

      Thanks for your feedback. I’d like to reassure you, that your sites are not going to “die” overnight. Canvas is simply not going to support the newer features of WordPress going forward. The current features of Canvas will continue to work as they currently do.

      Support will end on 24 October 2018, but that does not mean that on 25 October 2018 that Canvas will suddenly break your site. The only time that Canvas would break is when WordPress changes a piece of code that Canvas has leveraged.

      I’d like to know why you think that Storefront is not close to Canvas capabilities? I know as a developer, and project lead of Canvas, I’d have a strong argument why it is – but I’m more interested to hear from you what is missing or what doesn’t meet you needs. That way we can help you better.

      Regarding why would anyone trust us as a company? I’d like to think that our track record over the years has proven itself, and I know that there have been bumps along the way, but we do value our community extremely highly. Having said that, if you feel that we haven’t valued you, we’d love you to talk to us like on this blog post. We are listening!

      I hear your concerns about WooCommerce, and if you feel those things, I would strongly encourage you to get involved in the WooCommerce community, especially on Github where community members are actively talking about improving performance and scalability. There are many large shops running WooCommerce at high speed, and those shops often have case studies publicly available.

      If you would like to chat further about any of the above, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Thanks,

  24. vingogly
    October 25, 2017 at 9:22 pm #

    I made the mistake of buying a “lifetime” subscription – thanks, Woocommerce. If you really care about your customers, give lifetime subscribers a free lifetime subscription to Storefront that includes support in making the migration from Canvas. Very disappointed in you guys.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

      Hi Vingogly

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ve mentioned it in a comment already and linked to the blog posts from 2013 where we addressed the “lifetime” issue, but lifetime means lifetime of the product.

      We do care about our customers, and that’s one of the reasons why we’ve given the Storefront Extensions Bundle for free, and Storefront has always been free.

      Our Happiness Engineers are here to help you during this process, and that’s why we’ve created support documentation for the migration,
      * How to choose and change a theme
      * Moving on from Canvas

      If you are struggling with the migration, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Thanks,

  25. Daisy Linden
    October 25, 2017 at 11:00 pm #

    Curious how and why this decision! Thank you for the rest!

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

      Hi Daisy

      Sure, I’ve tried to outline it as best and as in-detail as possible in the article above, but if you have specific questions please feel free to ask them here or by contacting our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Thanks,

  26. Aramenda Perry
    October 26, 2017 at 1:19 am #

    WOW! Again, you have placed me in a poor situation with my clients. I just finished two sites this summer with Canvas for clients, now I have to go back to them about this change. Most of my clients are small start-ups and needed a reliable cost-effective solution for an online presence. They don’t have this in their budget, and I can’t be expected to do this work for free. This just makes me SICK! One year is just not enough time for these folks!!

    What about those of us who have subscriptions that expire in a few months? Will you be pro-rating for us? And what if we can migrate them early – will you offer a monthly option or a refund?

    I also have a few rather extensive sites that continue to purchase several plugins from you and they are really going to be upset. Very disappointed once again!! I have been using your products since 2014, but honestly, I’m not going to recommend WOO to any of my clients going forward.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 26, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

      Hi Aramenda

      Thanks for the feedback. we’d like to reassure you that your sites aren’t going to stop working suddenly; we are committed to supporting Canvas with the same level of support that you are used to until 24 October 2018.

      As I’ve mentioned in other replies, Canvas simply won’t support the newer features of WordPress like the Customizer and the new Editor. The old features will continue to work unless a feature within WordPress is changed or removed.

      About your subscription that is going to expire, I would say definitely contact our Happiness Engineers for advice about this. I’m not sure about the specifics of your account, but they would be best positioned to chat about refunds and extending the support license as I mentioned to another customer in these comments above.

      I’d like to get some feedback about the sites that you say are going to upset – are they going to be upset because they are still using Canvas, or for another reason? We definitely want to talk with you about this to find the best solution for you, so please let’s continue the conversation!

      Thanks,

  27. Daniel
    October 26, 2017 at 2:54 am #

    Unfortunate indeed but I should have seen the writing on the wall with Canvas. Somehow I seem to get popped with my yearly renewal fee right before my themes are axed. Same thing happened right after I purchased the jotter theme. A month ago my automatic renewal hit me for $99 and now Canvas is being eliminated leaving me to purchase a new theme somewhere else and $99 poorer. Joy.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 26, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

      Hi Daniel

      I can understand how that would frustrate you. If you feel that this isn’t right, please can you contact our Happiness Engineers to talk about a refund or even another solution.

      We want to make sure that your experience as our customer is a good one, so we don’t want you to feel $99 poorer.

      Thanks,

  28. Charlie
    October 26, 2017 at 8:23 am #

    End of an era! Goodbye WooThemes. Fortunately I recently moved my only Canvas site away from Canvas, but I feel for those that have to still work with sites built on Canvas for years.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 26, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

      Hi Charlie

      I’d like to hear what your experience was like moving away from Canvas. What did you lose/miss and what did you gain/love from the process?

      Looking forward to hearing from you,

  29. Silencer
    October 26, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    Same for me: Never use something from WooThemes or WooCommerce.com again. If it needs to be WooCommerce, then just with community plugins.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 26, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

      Hi Silencer

      I’m sorry that you feel this way, we’d love to engage with you to find out more as to why you feel this way.

      Feel free to continue the discussion here or get in touch with us privately by contacting our Happiness Engineers.

      Thanks,

  30. Ricky Onsman
    October 26, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    Incredibly poor decision. And the way you are handling it is just arrogant. You can’t be trusted. The migration process of my 36 client sites will be away from anything to do with Woo Themes or Woocommerce. Deeply disappointed.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 26, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

      Hi Ricky

      Thanks for the feedback. I’m sorry that you feel that we are being arrogant, I’d like to try understand why you feel that way? We put an incredible amount of thought and research into this decision, and we would like to help you and your sites achieve success in the future, whether that is with Canvas, Storefront, or another theme.

      I’d like to reiterate, you aren’t forced to migrate your site, now nor in the future. That’s totally up to you. We feel strongly that it’s in your best interest in the long term to start thinking about that now, which is why we’ve started this process a year in advance, and to start thinking about the future of how your customers are using WordPress to create content.

      If you want to chat about any of this privately please feel free to contact out Happiness Engineers.

      Looking forward to hearing from you!

  31. Nita Gill
    October 27, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

    My Canvas subscription is set to renew Jan 2108, that only gives me a few months to change over my complex 500+ page website. With all the other tasks I have to do at this time of year. That is not enough time!!! The least you can do when putting so many of us in this unfortunate position is to give us all the whole year with no fee. You say that no one is forced to migrate but we all know that some Canvas features can stop working when WP does an update. I need more time with support than up to my current expiration date.

    • Jeff Pearce
      October 28, 2017 at 12:13 am #

      Hi Nita

      I can understand your worry about your subscription expiring in Jan 2018, so could you please contact our Happiness Engineers and ask them to extend your license until 24 October 2018? Let them know about my comment on the blog here.

      We’d like to give you the time that you need, and I think that should give you enough time to update your site with support, test out doing a migration to another theme perhaps, and most importantly putting your mind at ease about your site suddenly stop working after Jan 2018.

      If you are struggling to migrate to a new theme, I suggest reading through the following guides:
      * How to choose and change a theme
      * Moving on from Canvas

      If you are struggling with the migration, don’t hesitate to contact our Happiness Engineers for advice.

      Thanks,

  32. Webalist
    October 29, 2017 at 11:46 am #

    What a Nightmare!! We have approx. 350 customers for which we build sites based on Canvas. Not only regular websites, but also Membership website.
    Our ‘all themes license’ expires on Feb. 14, 2018. This means we have 3 month to migrate all customers to another Theme. This is for us undoable and unacceptable. I understand that the site will still work, but our clients rely on us as provider. And we need to access support in case something is no longer working.

    I agree with previous comments that 3 years of continued support is what I would consider reasonable. We have responsibilities to our customers many of whose sites use Canvas. For sites that I’ve recently set up, they need to work for at least a further 3 years. It will be a complete customer dissatisfaction if I have to tell these customers that the theme is discontinued, and although their site is only (less than) a year old, they have to pay to rebuilt it in another theme.

    And for the membershipsites we’ve build on Canvas (approx. 40) the migration to another theme is even more complicated, since there are active members on the site, and they should not be affected by a change.

    It’s not enough to inform us not to use Canvas for new websites, but we have to support recently set up sites for a decent period of time, and 3 years seems right to me. 1 year (or less) is a total let-down. I hope based on so many comments above, that you reconsider the decision and agree that Woo will support to keep Canvas sites functional for at least a further 3 years.

    The move to Storefront is not attractive at us at all, since Canvas is not the first theme to be continued, so why should we move to Storefront. We might get into the same situation as we’re in with Canvas.

    So unless we will get the three year support, as we find reasonable, we will certainly not migrate to another Woo Theme.

    • Job
      October 30, 2017 at 11:21 am #

      Hi Webalist. First of all, related to the 3 months you have, please get in touch with us at the tickets interface, and we’ll see what we can do for you.

      Regarding the three years, however, that will not be done, but I do want to reiterate what Jeff has mentioned a few times already: it’s not because we stop supporting Canvas (as Automattic), that Canvas suddenly won’t work anymore. It just will not be focused on the Customizer or Gutenberg, nor will we as company do bug fixes or security updates after that year. That doesn’t mean that it will be necessary straight away to get those.

      • Annie Dubreuil
        October 30, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

        If you guys are serious and want to make a strategic business move to stand out of the competition you need to start supporting your retired products for 3 years. That way you will rise the bar for everybody and help save the WordPress reputation. Because now you are just pushing customers away from WordPress to Shoppify, Wix, etc…
        Think about this!

    • Annie Dubreuil
      October 30, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

      Hello Webalist,

      Thanks for agreeing about the 3 YEARs support.

      I really think that if we want to protect the WordPress reputation for our customers over the other guys like Shopify, Wix, etc… we need to put pressure on the community, otherwise I think that this is going to be the beginning of the end for WordPress reputation!

      I have frustrated customers coming to me because their website was developed on a custom made platform made by some local company that went bankrupt or… and they ask me for help or to reassure them. I do so using WordPress being worldwide, open, etc, etc… but to find out that along the way some components are being dropped out with so little time to turn around is really unprofessional.

      We need to start a big movement about this very important issue.
      I started something on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2203862/2203862-6329009594303545345
      Thanks

  33. Cat Larkin
    October 29, 2017 at 10:23 pm #

    Sad to see Canvas go, I have been using it for several simpler client sites. I loved the ease of swapping out the basic look and feel of the site by changing colors of the nav menu, and no-bloated clean back-end code etc. in 2015 – you said – we are in it for the long haul, sorry for me that didn’t work out so well. Are you developing another flagship theme to replace it? If so, I feel that you should offer that theme free or at a substantial discount to lifetime members who have been with you since those early days. That way we can try it, use it and continue to sing its praises and bring you new customers. So far I have had bad luck and several of the themes I have chosen from you all and from Genesis have been retired. – I would love to see replacement Canvas-New 2018. WhatI liked was it had clean back-end code that was not bloated. and easy site tweaks to look and feel without needing CSS coding for small, simpler sites.

    • Job
      October 30, 2017 at 11:26 am #

      Hi Cat. Thanks for the feedback. We aren’t developing a new flagship theme, but have already started moving over to Storefront as our flagship theme several years ago.

      Storefront core (which is what most developers would use as a framework) is free and the GitHub repo is open for everyone to contribute to by submitting issues and PRs: https://github.com/woocommerce/storefront (which was not the case for Canvas).

  34. Oriano Sportelli
    October 30, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

    I really do not understand.
    With all the engineers that you have, possible that you may not be able to write an update of “Canvas” code to make it compatible with the new features of WordPress? Please, try to be clearer about this “business” decision.
    I think that your choice to kill Canvas is a decision does not make good service to your present and future customers.

    • Danny Santoro
      October 30, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

      Hi Oriano,

      As mentioned in the post, re-writing Canvas would be just that – a total rewrite from the ground up. It wouldn’t be the same experience that Canvas has had in the past, and it wouldn’t function at all similarly to how it does currently.

      Canvas was the first WordPress theme that I bought and used so I understand how difficult it is to change away – I still have a few sites on now retired themes, including Canvas. Technology and software changes rapidly, though, and much like buying a new computer every few years, sometimes it’s good to evaluate if it’s time to look for a new theme. Storefront and the Storefront Customizer give just as much flexibility as Canvas does (even for non-WooCommerce sites), so there are definitely good options out there.

  35. Steve B
    October 31, 2017 at 12:12 am #

    While not a surprising announcement considering the dearth of updates, I really wish WooThemes/WooCommerce didn’t let the theme mothball for two years and then quietly announce the theme is dead.

    Many customers speculated big changes were in store when Woo sold to Automattic. I figured we would see a better Canvas out of the deal, not the end of a framework theme that thousands of sites are built on. One year of support is not nearly enough, especially considering we have been waiting two years for major updates.

    It’s been a bumpy ride with WooThemes over the past 5 years. I can’t say I have much confidence left in any current or future products. What a bummer :/

    • Job
      October 31, 2017 at 10:01 am #

      Hey Steve. Thanks for reaching out to us. First of all, we really didn’t intend to announce this quietly. We’ve written this blog post, sent out a mailer, announced it on social media, and even have docs covering next steps.

      More importantly, we did look into continuing to rebuilding Canvas to be ready for the future. We even had a release candidate tested, but the feedback we got was not positive. And this was after months of development work. As Danny indicated above: it would’ve been an entire rebuild and that wouldn’t have made the current customers happy either because it would’ve been such a big change.

      If you have any other questions or remarks, feel free to get in touch with us.

  36. Oriano Sportelli
    October 31, 2017 at 10:16 am #

    Please be honest, the problem for woocommerce/automattic, was the Canvas license: Unlimited sites + LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION… 🙁

    • Job
      November 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

      Hey Oriano. Nope. That’s not the reason we’re no longer selling Canvas. The lifetime subscription was only used by a small percentage of Canvas users and Canvas was a good selling product. It’s for the reasons Jeff described above that we’re no longer selling it.

  37. clarelauwerys
    October 31, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    It’s all very well saying, choose a new theme and migrate to that and take care to choose one that matches your needs – I paraphrase but that’s basically what it amounts to, and really I think we all knew we need to make sure it works before launching it into a live site, but what about the time it’s going to take to do this? I specialise in working with start-ups and the reason I initially used Canvas was because it offered a way to give a lot of flexibility and options for not a lot of money theme-wise. I’ve other even smaller clients where we’ve only had the money for an off the peg theme from Theme Forest etc.

    I certainly can’t give my time for free to find new themes for my clients that I put on Canvas in the first place. None of them are e-commerce so Store Front isn’t apt.

    At the end of the day, if I do nothing, what’s going to happen. Will they break in the next 18 months?

    Funnily enough, I’ve been thinking about redesigning my own site so at least this will give me the kick I needed but I’m worried about my other clients.

    • Job
      November 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

      Hey Clare. Thanks for sharing your concerns with us. That must be a big challenge indeed, and as with all other concerned customers, we do acknowledge that the time ahead isn’t easy.

      What will happen in 18 months? I don’t know. There are websites out there that are running with a much older version of Canvas and they’re not breaking. We’re not expecting that – given WordPress’ focus on backwards compatibility – Canvas will just stop working, but it’s hard to predict the future.

      In any case, you’d be able to hire a developer to fix problems if they arise. And we will be doing updates for 12 months.

      And as said, please do get in touch with us so we can help you move forward.

  38. Emily Akin
    November 2, 2017 at 1:08 am #

    Are you going to publish some recommendations or instructions on how to convert from Canvas to another theme? I will not go to Storefront because I don’t sell anything. Why would I buy another Woo theme after what’s happening with Canvas? I will probably go to a Genesis child theme.

    I have the “lifetime” support. What a joke. I can’t even find the Woo Themes website, and I can’t log in to Woo Commerce with my WordPress.com account because it says there’s already an account with that email address. Yet, when I try to log in with the Woo themes username that I used for that site, it says no account. Very frustrating, especially for non-techies like me.

    So should I set up a new account on Woocommerce?

    • Job
      November 2, 2017 at 11:24 am #

      Hi Emily.

      Let me unwrap those questions.

      First of all, you can just email us directly (find an email from us in your inbox/archive and reply to it) if you need help with logging in. We have a detailed description on what is happening with the WordPress.com login here and it includes a video: https://docs.woocommerce.com/document/log-into-woocommerce-com-with-wordpress-com/. You do not need to set up a new account with us. We’ll help you through the process, and that tutorial will help you get started.

      Lifetime support is lifetime of the product, so you are getting that. You are currently on the WooThemes website. We changed the URL to WooCommerce.com, but it’s the same website.

  39. George Beinhorn
    November 4, 2017 at 10:51 pm #

    It strikes me that the outcry isn’t just going to go up from Canvas users, but from everyone who’ll have to swap themes because of Gutenberg. At the heart of it is the usual, prototypical techie arrogance that says: “Hey look, isn’t this cool? Oh, you’ll be affected? Don’t worry, be happy, here are five good reasons why!” Meanwhile, the human reality escapes them in their enthusiasm for the coolth. It’s a really great, fine, time-tested way to lose a company – with an honored tradition that goes all the way back to AT&T’s failed PC division in the mid-’80s, and continues today with Google’s strategies of “acquire-and-kill” and “let’s tweak our search algorithms and see how many good businesses we can kill off!” The WordPress developers are going to kill lots of small businesses and web-dev shops. Let’s see how that works out for them in the long run.

  40. Jane
    November 9, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    We have a shop within our website, this worries me. How do I make the change? Do i just try out Storefront and see the changes and discard it if it doesnt work?? If I try it, will it mess up my site if I retuen to Canvas? Will it keeo the site’s images and text in place?
    Confused.

  41. George
    November 12, 2017 at 7:37 am #

    OK, after grinding significant enamel and pulling lots of hair, I’ve made the trek through the Genesis Framework with various child themes, etc., etc., etc. and landed on the GeneratePress theme which seems a pretty darn good replacement for Woothemes Canvas. You can read an in-depth review of GP here: https://www.designbuildweb.co/best-wordpress-theme-non-coder-graphic-designers/. It’s cheap, has a wonderful license, tightly coded, and has a million backend customizations via check boxes and sliders. Seems easier to use than Canvas, and uses the WP Customizer, not a bad thing.

  42. AXEO
    November 15, 2017 at 5:35 am #

    PHP + WordPress + themes + extensions + plug ins … An obvious bit of a kludge for mission critical apps (especially eCommerce) deployed and managed often by non-programmers.
    Let us know how we can help.

  43. Joshua Baer
    November 18, 2017 at 7:25 pm #

    This is not acceptable. Im positive you are doing this due to lack of profit. I bought this theme back before you sold out and offered far better support and price. You eventually came to me and retracted the original agreement I made with that purchase. Excuse me … those purchases. I was livid. As were my dozens of customers who I now needed to break my agreement with.

    Now, I get to go take those same pissed customers and tell them I made a bad purchase decision… again! I make a living making software decisions, and you folk are surely getting pulled out of that consideration.

    If you are going to base your business model off max profit, I think I will need to move to a company who deals with their paying customers differently.

    Unacceptable Woo.

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