Child themes have worked really well for customizing the CSS of my thematic site, and the functions.php is ok for making small structural changes. However, I'm having a real problem when it comes to changing or adding to the structure of my site. I'm not sure the right words for it, but whenever I try to follow instructions for adding some new feature to my site, I run into the dreaded "now add xxx to your index.php" step. I can't do that of course because all those template files are overwritten whenever thematic upgrades itself. What am I supposed to do? For example, right now I'm trying to follow the instructions here:
and it calls for me to edit several template files. How do I get around that without actually editing any of thematic's core files?
I have the same problem trying to change stuff in the thematic "extensions" files. What I have done requires massive amounts of code to be added to my functions.php (99% of which is greek to me), and all to achieve only the most minute changes. Isn't there an easier way?