Upgrading WordPress

I upgraded my WordPress installation from 2.0.x to 2.1.x tonight, and I’m a little grumpy. Autosave is great and all, but does upgrading WordPress have to be so much of a hassle? The official way to upgrade is to unpack the latest zip over top of your current installation, which seems like a recipe for cruft to keep accumulating. Things like WP-Cache can get really confused in the middle of an upgrade, and then you’re stuck doing surgery. If a plugin like Akismet gets upgraded, then you end up picking and choosing which files to keep from your wp-content directory. Categories are no longer sorted alphabetically where I can quickly find a category, and I get a new bonus category called “Blogroll” which I’m sure cleans something up from a design standpoint but sits unwelcome among more logical category names. I upload images outside of WordPress, so the upload manager doesn’t matter much for me. I use the code view, so the changes in the visual editor don’t mean much either. Geez, I feel like the curmudgeon who had to walk 10 miles uphill in the snow to install WordPress. :)

My biggest surprise was a small thing: the older version of WordPress had really nice “preview ↓” and “edit ↑” links so that as you’re writing a post, you can jump back and forth easily between the edit textarea and the preview iframe. The newer version of WordPress removes those handy links. Grrr!

Now it’s great that WordPress is open source so that I can go back to (say) the 2.0.7 release from the release archives and find/add

<h2 id=”write-post”><small class=”quickjump”><a href=”#preview-post”><?php _e(‘preview ↓’); ?></a></small></h2>

or

<small class=”quickjump”><a href=”#write-post”><?php _e(‘edit ↑’); ?></a></small>

back into the files, but it’s a bummer to have to go mucking around to do this. What’s the difference between edit-form-advanced.php or edit-page-form.php and why do I have to add code in two places? Bah.

Firefox 2 already gives me solid autosave and spellcheck functionality, so losing the edit/preview links means that I was actually less happy with WordPress after the upgrade. Anyway, let me know if you see anything weird.

37 Responses to Upgrading WordPress (Leave a comment)

  1. I have to upgrade my WordPress too…

    After reading your blog, I don’t want to do it…

  2. Hi Matt,

    I upgraded my wordpress to 2.1, using Fantastico, but It really messed up. Luckily I had a back up. The problem I faced was that my post were shown in recurrsion. First post once, second post twice, third post thrice and so on. I tried changing the templates but nothing worked. I had exported the data before upgrade. I did a fresh installation and imported the data’s. I lost all the images and had to do a lot of work to put it back.. Has anyone tried upgrade using Fantastico?

    Kishore Asokan

  3. rob

    I just did a few upgrades myself Matt. Akismet hasn’t worked properley since, yet since the install of the math plugin Ive found I haven’t needed it, so no real bad there. I also had to go and do little compares and contrasts to see what I’d altered and edited. Moral of the story, dont edit the core files perhaps? :D

    >What’s the difference between edit-form-advanced.php or edit-page-form.php and why do I have to add code in two places? Bah

    Didn’t they actually recommended deleting certain old core files and replacing the whole shebang with their new set of files?

    One can only summise at why they chose to name change files. I had an interesting chat with a hosting guy a while back, he told me that log referalls showing xss attacks sometimes had useragents like libwww-perl with specific file name searches, some of which related to wp installs. Whilst stories have surfaced about things like googlecode making such things easier, I think its fair to say that any ol hacker could use any ol search engine to find file names and extensions to do similar.

    Open source publishing projects like joomla, drupal, wp, phpbb, etc are great, yet at the same time a major pain when it comes to security; simply because lots of people just don’t bother upgrading for ages. Hackers etc have all the time in the world to paw through code and seek out holes and exploits.

  4. Stefan

    Matt, i totally understand your thoughts.

    Although WordPress is still my favourite blogging app (for pure blogs, not more complex sites with a blog) i think about looking at alternatives at some time. These little things which are kinda “not understandable” kill your nerves sometimes.

    I wish WordPress would start to overthink some basic structures to have a more solid product line. WordPress userbase grow from a big handful of bloggers having fun to a widely used blogging application. Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t fit in some of the use cases but it could if everything was more structured.

    I’d definitely vote for some performance optimization in the core (Something like WP-Cache should be built in to better integrate) and also for some more centralized organisation of plugins and themes – some compatibility stuff like in Drupal e.g.

    WordPress is surely the most used open source web app – the guys should work hard to make it the best also.

  5. . :-D It would be helpful to have a preview comment option so one could get a sense of the comment one is about to make before submitting – or – an auto AJAX preview that displays previews as one is typing

    . :-D Could you consider adding the Sitemeter Stats to the blog – to make the stats public – it would be helpful to the readers – so many bloggers are now doing it.

    . :-D Also a gravature and a MyBlogLog or cocomments – to give another dimension to this readership community

    . :-D A preview of Latest Comments Made would be nice for finding what archived topics are generating a current interest

  6. LuciferAust

    Grrrr…….

    Come on gmail team you got to do better work on your spam filters.
    And can’t we just have emails deleted automatically if they contain.. I dunno.. VIAGRA or VIA_GRA ???

    Screw the spam box, I would rather just let it auto delete even if I missed a few emails.

    Rgds.
    LA

  7. I haven’t upgraded after 2.0, instead I’ve tweaked it for a couple of websites I use it on. It’s more fun to go into wordpress and personalize the code than to do an upgrade. I have watched for the bug fixes and tweaked it there myself as well.

    I’ve added in so much additional code, that upgrading would make my life hell for a week

  8. thanks for the heads up Matt. I don’t think I want to upgrade. the version I have is working fine. why fix it if it isn’t broken?

  9. Stefan, I almost suggested that WP-Cache is something that should be integrated into WP. Some of the issues (needing to write the cache files) might not be easier, but it would be helpful to integrate that.

    S.E.W., I’m hesitant to add any more plug-ins right now. I want to make sure that things are stable and get a feel for WP 2.1.x.

  10. Matt,

    I was with Matt Mullenweg (WP author) this week, complaining gently about the same thing, and he said “oh, the way I do it is with SVN”.

    Basically, he does an SVN checkout into his blog directory, and then any time he needs to upgrade, he just uses SVN update to get the latest release. No zips, etc.

    Makes sense, but still doesn’t solve things like custom code you may have, plugins with mismatched versions, etc.

    Anyway, there it is for what it’s worth. :)

  11. I’m with you. Upgrades are the one thing that WordPress really fails to do elegantly. On my DreamHost installs, I just use the One-Click Updater and to hell with the details. I love it, and it hasn’t caused me any problems yet, and to be honest I haven’t worked up the nerve to see what their script is actually doing to make the upgrade happen.

    But, the WordPress installations I maintain that are not on DH …well my OCD tendencies take over and I end up doing a full diff of the new files versus the existing installation, so that if a file is no longer included in the WP distribution it is removed during the upgrade, and so on.

    It can all be scripted, but like so many other “y’know, we could automate this easily enough” tasks, it never seems worthwhile until I’ve gone through the process manually once again, grumbling bitter commentary all the way.

  12. Hey Matt, I totally avoid the WordPress “Write” page by using Firefox’s ScribeFire (formerly Performancing) blog editor client .

    I suggest you try it ASAP.

    Cheers —

    Lucky

    ///////////////

  13. I feel your pain there Matt, WordPress is not world class when it comes to testing prior to release or upgrade ease. I’ve still not recovered fully from 2.1 as many plugins that are vital still do not work properly in this version – like Viper’s Video tags.

    Instead of being proud of plugins, I wish WordPress would wake up to the fact that it has outgrown that phase of life and that these need to become incorporated into the main version and a priority needs to made to make upgrades pain free.

  14. I hate the way the plugins keep breaking too. But what can I say? It’s free. It would be nice if they had a better way of ensuring the plugins don’t break every time we upgrade. Oh well. It’s free and it works really well for me. Blogger is good too but I prefer keeping my content on my own server so I like WordPress. Hope they keep up the good work. It was a pain to upgrade on my mac before I found a nice little ftp client called Cyberduck.

  15. Sorry for you displeasure. This is great feedback!

    The recommended upgrade is actually as Rob suggests to overwriting all the files that exist there only after you have delete the old files, though we definitely are working towards easy updating of WordPress, which is the second most popular WordPress Idea.

  16. Us having over a year between major releases also does not help make exposure to the evolving user experience smooth, so Matt, Ryan, Mark and the whole community are working hard on having at least two major releases each year.

  17. When will google buy wordpress ?

  18. The edit/preview links being removed has been raised as ticket #3694 go to preview / go to top button.

  19. Not everyone uses Firefox (unfortunately) and most people prefer a visual editor over a code editor. For those that do prefer the code editor, the visual editor can be disabled in the user’s profile.

    Firefox 2 is also my preferred browser. I cannot compare its text field autosave, with the feature that WordPress or gMail similarly provide. Or do you mean something else by “solid autosave”?

  20. Man, you sound like more of a biatch that Michael Gray fellah Mr. Cutts! ;)

    I guess I have upgraded so many times that it no longer bothers me, my only concern was if Google could handle changes in the blog structure and today they handle things like a pro, good work and thanks for not frying us in your algorithm as you toast spam that sometimes can mirror legit stuff, lost me?

    If you follow wordpress they always pull in good plugins that work well (like Skippy’s database backup). There is an upgrade plugin for those afraid to dive right in, haven’t tried it yet but I am sure that if it works well they will offer it sometime soon with newer versions. There is not a lot of funds like at Google so people do things out of the kindness of their geeky hearts so calm down.

    At least Matt is not a biatch and a know it all, that is a bad combination.
    The point about a future upgrade/install/thingy is good though.

    Please do not buy WordPress Google, it does not need to be monetized, leave something for the people by the people or the people might turn on you.

    Snark

  21. Upgrading is a pain, but there’s not a great solution we can do (YET!) at the script level. As Don said, an SVN checkout is great and also let’s you keep track of local modifications, most people upgrade through their host’s one-click process, and finally if neither of the above is your bag of tea, there is a handy plugin that can do automatic upgrades. If we can get our head around the permissions issues, I’d love to see a plugin like that core in the future.

    Plugins, especially caching ones, should probably be deactivated before an upgrade. In fact in 2.2 we’re putting a link on the plugins page to do a quick “deactivate all.” The issue Kishore described above is well-documented in our support forums as a problem with the way a plugin was working outside of our API, and deactivating or upgrading the plugin fixes it. Hopefully our new plugin directory will also help in terms of making plugin compatibility and such better.

    Finally I wouldn’t recommend editing core files. I believe there’s a plugin that adds back the edit/preview links and in 2.2 there’s going to be a little popup window instead that’s just a click away. As Lloyd said we’re moving to a more frequent release schedule and 2.2 will be coming out on April 23rd and I think address at least several of your pain points here. I do hope you give it a try, and thanks a ton for taking the time to share your feedback.

  22. Mr. Mullenweg,

    Thank you for admitting to the existence of this type of post – that is progress I guess.

    After the security issue outlined in this post, http://wordpress.org/development/2007/03/upgrade-212/
    do you think you really have the trust of the users to allow automatic updates? Especially when many updates break themes or plugins…

    I just spent a month moving to the new theme. I’d like WordPress to respect that people have better things to do than spend time fixing broken themes and plugins. In other words, I’d like them to be complaint across future versions. To me more frequent versions is not good news and I’d much rather have less frequent, but highly tested, large updates with fully functional features upon release.

  23. New releases: 2.1.3 and 2.0.10.. last from 2.0.X branche :(

  24. Peter Markovic

    I have wordpress and Semiologic, initially I experienced all kinds of weird behaviour that neither I or anyone else could sort.

    I blew the installation away and started from scratch reposting all my content and it is all working fine at the moment.

    Bottom line is I dont think I will be upgrading for at least 20 years :)

    Cheers
    Pete

  25. Heather Paquinas

    I still use the ancient firefox sessionsaver 0.2 with ff 2.x because it saves all entered form data on a crash, as well as “Back Arrow” history. One lost form is one too many!

  26. Heather Paquinas

    LuciferAust, there are people who do get legitimate informational emails from pfizer about vį@ĝŗā.

    Personally, I recommend kegel and persian jelq exercise.

  27. Matt, I too missed the “preview” and “edit” links. There has been a number of requests around for it so here’s a little plugin that will add them back to the 2.1 editor. Hopefully it will make the change to 2.1 just a little bit easier until the core team can address the issue directly.

    Preview Post Navigation

  28. I wish WordPress would start to overthink some basic structures to have a more solid product line. WordPress userbase grow from a big handful of bloggers having fun to a widely used blogging application. Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t fit in some of the use cases but it could if everything was more structured.

  29. ben

    Open source publishing projects like joomla, drupal, wp, phpbb, etc are great, yet at the same time a major pain when it comes to security; simply because lots of people just don’t bother upgrading for ages. Hackers etc have all the time in the world to paw through code and seek out holes and exploits.

  30. Hi all,

    Kishore Asokan, I`m upgrade my blog with Fantastico without any problems. But, my version of wp 2.1 was in Russian version with some modifications of russian support team. My be some bugs they fixed himself? i don`t now :( . You can try to upgrade with russian version, but don`t forget to backup your data and code page Cirillic 1251 (not UTF). My friend from Poland do this whith his blog, and upgrade it whithout any problems, hi only replace language files and change codepage when upgrade was complete.

    PS. sorry 4 my bad english

  31. This is the part I hate the most about running websites. I always apply or use mods to my scripts and when it gets time to upgrade, I am completely lost. Some websites are running with old versions of scripts and some day I will regret not being able to do the upgrades.

  32. I started from the WordPress 2.0 version and such and upgrading to 2.1 was fine, so on the understanding that the mySQL error is occuring even after following the standard upgrade instructions http://codex.wordpress.org/Upgrading_Wor… it might be an idea to upgrade 1.5 to 2.0 first and seeing if that works. If that’s fine, then a quick upgrade to 2.1 (or 2.2) would be ideal, seeing as I think the reason why 2.1 came along so quickly was because of some security/bug! Would be interested in knowing how it all goes

  33. I found this by looking for advice on upgrading. What a hassle. Really I guess this topic could be a whole blog subject in it self

  34. WordPress installations I maintain that are not on DH …well my OCD tendencies take over and I end up doing a full diff of the new files versus the existing installation, so that if a file is no longer included in the WP distribution it is removed during the upgrade, and so on

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