Upgrading my WordPress

Earlier this week I was writing a post and lost it. Losing data, even a couple paragraphs, is the most annoying thing I can think of. So I looked into autosave on WordPress and discovered that up-to-the-second WordPress installations already support it.

I’d been meaning to upgrade my WordPress installation forever and just hadn’t gotten around to it, so I upgraded this weekend–it’s really nice! Let’s see, what’s good, what’s bad. Let’s start with the bad first, because there isn’t much:

– It took a little bit of effort. When you’ve been blogging for a year and have tweaked most of your template files a little bit and are running a few plug-ins, it’s good to be cautious. I hadn’t been backing up my MySQL database or www directory, so I wanted to write some teensy scripts to do that. That took the majority of the time. It’s a bit unwieldy to untar a directory on top of an old directory, or to copy over modified files to a new WordPress installation. There probably isn’t an easy way to abstract out the file changes though.
– The “Categories” box only shows about 10 categories at once, and the box doesn’t appear to be resizeable. Anyone know where to edit the code off the top of their head?
– The visual rich editor isn’t my cup of tea. For example, it looks like the “insert a link” button requires that you select the text that you want to hyperlink. That’s great, unless you’re using the AutoCopy extension on Firefox, which automatically copies anything you select to the clipboard. Why? Because God intended selecting text to copy to the clipboard, that’s why! πŸ˜‰ The net effect is that if you copy a url, selecting the text to hyperlink will erase the url that’s on the clipboard. And the make-a-link button only seems to activate when you select text, so you get some very degenerate behavior. Luckily, each user can choose to use or not use the visual rich editor.
– The SecureImage captcha plugin doesn’t work for WordPress 2.x, I think.

Okay, time for things I love.

– The documentation on the upgrade was great and complete, with no surprises. Major props for that. It’s also editable, so I submitted a correction for what I thought was a typo.
– Autosave. Okay, it turns out that 2.0.4 doesn’t include Autosave, but the next version probably will.
– Akismet. Nice job on the UI and the backend on this. I’m sure I’ll delve into this more over time.
– Post previews are much better. You see what the page will actually look like. πŸ™‚
– Lots of little things to streamline your life, like the “preview ↓” button at the top-right of the “Write Post” page that takes you directly to the preview frame. And the ” edit ↑” button to take you back up to the text-area of the post. I’m falling in love all over again.
– “Save and Continue Editing” seems to work with Firefox. Was I the only guy in the world that would get a blank page if I hit this button twice on one post? It always bothered me, but was below the annoyance threshold to hunt down where the interaction of WordPress/web server/Firefox was happening. Maybe having referrers off caused it?
– The AJAX to move/expand/collapse stuff on the “Write Post” page is super spiff. Minimize the stuff that you don’t change and expand the boxes that do change, plus put often-changing boxes toward the top of the page. Easy peasy, and very smart.
– User roles are interesting. I’m playing around with the notion of asking readers to register in order to comment.
– Posting doesn’t wait for pings to succeed, so publishing a post feels much snappier.

All in all, a really nice piece of work. I dropped a small donation over to Automattic, and if nothing major blows up in the next few days, I’ll drop some more in the donation box.

Let me know if you see any weirdness or problems. For that matter, let me know what your favorite WordPress plug-ins are. πŸ™‚

53 Responses to Upgrading my WordPress (Leave a comment)

  1. Favorite Plug-In? hmm, it’s got to be the Google Sitemap Generator at:


  2. Google Analytics plug-in…duh πŸ™‚


  3. Welcome to 2.0.4. The only problems I ever had with upgrading from 1.x were with one theme and a plugin or two–but the authors were quick to release updates.

    Anything I use can be found on wp-plugins.net. I’ll have to dig through there again one of these days to see if I’m missing anything useful.

    My favorite is definitely Admin Drop Down Menu. This saves a lot of clicks and I can’t figure out why it’s a plugin, rather than part of WordPress.

    I don’t know what’s different about the plugin you were using, but CaptCha! works fine with 2.x.

    Spam Karma 2 handles the spam. I just use the default settings, but there are plenty of options that can be tweaked.

    WP-ContactForm is an easy way to add a contact form. Just enter the tag where ever you want a form (post, page, etc.).

  4. There probably isn’t an easy way to abstract out the file changes though.

    Subversioning your local copy of WordPress is an easy way for peace of mind whenever you need to keep track of local hacks. I ran my own flavour of Textpattern thourgh at least five official version upgrades without glitches that way.

  5. I’ve also seen blank target pages when referring URLs are disabled, using Firefox on a Linux platform. Enabling URLs solved the problem.

  6. For the “Categories-Box” you have to edit “/wp-admin/wp-admin.css” somewhere around line 802, for example:

    #categorydiv div div {
    height: 28em;
    overflow: auto;

    28em seems just right for about 21 categories.

  7. “The SecureImage captcha plugin doesn’t work for WordPress 2.x, I think.”

    Yay πŸ˜‰

  8. SimpleTags and Akismet.

  9. Google analytics looks good but I am having trouble getting it to work. I’m using WordPress via the web and I have no idea where to paste the code for Anlaytics to work. Answers on a postcard to reachjm at mac.com would be REALLY appreciated!

  10. I like the WordPress Database Backup plugin by Scott Merrill at http://www.skippy.net/blog/plugins/

    I also use the Google Sitemap generator mentioned by JLH and the Google Analytics plugin. Both work really well.

  11. WP DB Backup from Skippy, my friend πŸ™‚ AkiSmet.. never tried a plugin for sitemaps. Better make those by myself.

  12. I never liked the image captcha things, could sometimes never even read the buggers!

    I like the type you are using now, quick and dirty q+a thing. Is it this one?


    My favourite plug ins are those that funk things up a little.

    I like the ajax inline comment plugin by Peter kashou

    I also like the adsense injection plug in by some guy who likes to sell his moustache


    It moves the adsense around your posts so your blog doesn’t look so samey.

  13. You can use Trencaspammers as captcha system! πŸ™‚

  14. The math verification is MUCH easier than the image

    However, for this blog….
    A Post Preview would Really be helpful, or an AJAX Auto- Preview as well as a link to a page withthe codes for various emoticons πŸ™‚

    and, perhaps the ability to add or embed images in one’s posts

  15. The math verification is MUCH easier than the image

    However, for this blog….
    A Post Preview would Really be helpful, or an AJAX Auto- Preview,
    as well as a link to a page witht he codes for various emoticons πŸ™‚
    and, perhaps the ability to add or embed images in one’s posts

  16. The math verification is MUCH easier than the image

    for this blog….
    A Post Preview would Really be helpful, or an AJAX Auto- Preview,
    as well as a link to a page witht he codes for various emoticons πŸ™‚
    and, perhaps the ability to add or embed images in one’s posts

  17. WordPress is the best!

    Looks great.

  18. I just wish it were easier to customize. Every time I try to make wordpress not look like wordpress, I spend hours digging around trying to find what files do what.

  19. Matt, I haven’t had any trouble with the SecureImage plugin in WP 2.x+

  20. Another great plugin is http://wp2pdf.sourceforge.net/
    It generates PDF version for your posts. But I couln’t get it to work on my blog, although I saw it in action and it works. Anyone using this plugin?

  21. I dunno if this is a WP plugin or just something Aaron did, but I was always partial to his custom 404 (hint: turn on yo’ speakahz, homie.)

    My only concern, as I stated once before, is the increased potential for blog spam due to the relative ease in which the “Please add 8 and 2” portion could be scraped, read and manipulated from a software automation point of view.

  22. My favourite has to be Tiger Style administration, which beautifies the backend a LOT πŸ™‚

  23. My favorite plugin is Akismet. Thanks to it, I don’t need to make users do anything extra to make comments. But in the backend, Akismet has stopped me from having to deal with thousands of spam comments.

    Yes, empty referers are a Bad Thing when publishing. I’ve lost posts that way. πŸ™ Now I know to do a select all and copy before publishing just in case anything goes wrong.

    As for the select and paste thing, I don’t have a problem with it in Ubuntu using gnome. It used to be a huge pet peeve when using Red Hat where I couldn’t predict what was going to be pasted. With Ubuntu, I’ve found that select to copy/middle-click to paste works different from ctrl-c/ctrl-v. In your case of wanting to paste the URL, try this:

    Ctrl-c to copy the URL.
    Select the text you want to hyperlink
    Ctrl-v to paste the URL in the dialog box

    I haven’t tried to publish a blog post in WordPress on my Ubuntu machine so I can’t confirm that this will work. But that’s what I do when I want to overwrite selected text with something in the clipboard.

    Oops! After writing that, I re-read your post and it turns out that auto-copy is a result of a Firefox extension instead of the OS. Well, I don’t know if it will work then. But hopefully this helps someone using Ubuntu. πŸ™‚

  24. I started using the AuthImage captcha plugin with WordPress 2, and my blog spam attempts have plummeted from hundreds per week down to 1 or 2. The built-in Akismet spam filter nabs those last few so I am a happy boy!
    (I really, truly HATE spam!)
    You can get the AuthImage thing here:
    Just follow the instructions, upload & activate the plugin and add the required code snippet to comments.php. I put the code snippet just above the “Submit Comment” input button code. Works good for me.

  25. Having WordPress host my blog due to laziness and thinking “Scoble does it this way so it must be smart”.

    But I can’t get the delicious plugin to work and would like to automatically add a “Digg this” to post.

    Any ideas out there other than setting this up at my own domain name?

  26. Akismet by far. I wish my e-mail could be this spam free.

  27. I just ran over my plugin list, had a difficult time chosing one. There was a tough competition between Ultimate Tag Warrior, Google Sitemaps and Bad Behavior.

    I guess I have to give it to Bad Behavior, its making akismet work less πŸ™‚

  28. I was going to ask what the “Please add 5 and 5” box is for, but I found out when tried to post the question πŸ™

  29. Matt,

    I have also updated my wordpress blog. I found some very nice features. There is a plug-in that will show most popular posts. It is great for getting visitors to dig deeper into your site. The problem there is, you have to use wordpress’s default for creating urls ?100

  30. How can I get the Askimet plugin? I have a lot of trouble with the spam comments, and especially the English spammers come and just give a lot of headaches. I have some askimet plugin in the plugins list, but how can I reduce the spammers’ access to the comments area?

  31. I think the best thing you can ever get is the plain wiki (or Blog planner) on your blog with good user management and BB code supported. Very secure as it is running with phpbb support. http://www.idealwebtools.com/blog/beta-blogplanner/ – Look at the right hand side, it is still in the beta version though. I am using it and I am satisfied. One thing I have innovated here is the “next posting list”. Matt you can also try it, you can read http://www.idealwebtools.com/blog/posting-list/ for more details. A lot of my users are interested in my analysis on orkut memetics. Hope you will also like it. You can also contact the innovation center for any help. It is fun to be a part of good thing. I also like mybloglog feature. Then I have integrated phplist for subscription.

    Best luck

  32. Here’s the fix to change the category box’s height:

    1. Look for the file “wp-admin.css” in the wp-admin folder.
    2. Find the following CSS rule in that file:

    #category div div {


    3. Change the height value in that rule to something larger than 10em. I use 27em on my site.
    4. Enjoy.

  33. Matt. The ‘Postie’ plugin is great! It allows you to just email your blog (from an approved address) and the email will become a Post. This has been great for my design ‘blog’ since several different designers can may entries on the blog by email (and not need admin access). You can even get fancy and have the postie filter a specific email address to a specific category. Blogging has never been easier.

    Browser? I don’t need no stinking browser?

    more info here: http://www.economysizegeek.com/?page_id=395

  34. captcha does not work if you use smart permalinks (there is a bug within the plugin which does not correctly recognize path to the file)

    spam karma is my favourite spam plugin, works great (really impressive piece of software)

    random post and most popular posts are quite important plugins; recent comments are also nice…

    there are also a number of different SEO hacks, dynamic meta tags, probably some manual edit into files to adjust page titles…

  35. My favorite WordPress plugin is the: adsense-deluxe-wordpress-plugin.

    It enables “quickly inserting Google or Yahoo! ads into your blog posts, and managing when and where those ads are displayed.”

  36. LOL @ the “Adam that doesn’t” thanks for reminding me to put back that “you got jacked” 404 page, I am also changing my theme a bit today, breakin’ off a alil’ a dis’,,, and alil’ a that yo’! It’s ok to have a sitemap on a .404 page correct? πŸ˜‰

    Matt – I would remove that ugly archives list from your sidebar and in the header, it is just not used by anyone and makes no sense to users. I bet if you used heatmaps to see where people click you only get a couple clickies on that a year.

  37. Good job on the upgrade Matt!

    I still have a question about some results being shown in the Google index though. When you do a search, such as a search for “lyrics”, it returns results, but sometimes the first result will show a menu tree underneath it. How does a site specify a menu tree to be displayed or is it completely controlled by GoogleBot and how it feels that day?

  38. Forced registration is a nuisance. Just for the simple fact that registering AGAIN for a “one-off comment” is so annoying.
    I like commenting and random interesting things I come across in the blogosphere.

    If you’re going to require an account to comment, might I suggest given an OpenID plugin a whirl ( examples: WP OpenID @ sf.net or edulix’ contribution @ openidenabled. ).
    Yet another username and yet another password makes me cry :'(

  39. Since we are talking about blogs I have a question.
    How does one go about dealing with the possible duplicate content issue on a blog?
    Lets say you make a post. Immediately it could show up in 4 places. The exact same content under four different URLs.
    1) The home page.
    2) In the category it was posted under.
    3) In the monthly archive.
    4) And finally in the permalink for the post.
    Ideally I would want the permalinks being considered the real content but I have no idea how to go about this using a robots.txt file.

  40. Reham – Not to be a know it all but I have a few blogs and have watched this closely. Google does well at ranking the permalink and the “duplicate” stuff drops down into supplementals. This is pretty cool because Google once did not understand blogs and boy was it frustrating.

    You can also change your permalink structure for your entire blog and within a few weeks Google gets this correct with no loss of page position in the serps.

    In fact the old “set it and forget it” idea (in fear that Google will flag you as a spammer) seems to be gone, I play around with my blogs all the time with no loss of rank.

    I give Google a B+, Yahoo a C+ and MSN a C- today.

    Why do I give Google a B+? Google seems to hate when you delete content, throws your entire website into a spin….or is this just an imagined thing that is actaully something else?

    Must……sleep……must…..have…..sleep…..nighty night.

  41. Matt, want to see a neat trick with the Rich Text Editor?

    Hit Alt-B when you’re inside a post (http://engtech.wordpress.com/2006/09/03/wordpress-tips-alt-b/)

  42. re: forced registration

    Akismet will do a super-spiffy job at handling the spammers.

  43. WP-Flickr is my favour WP plugin, the flickr pics related with your tags help your post more vividly.

  44. I’ve learnt throught the years how to work around those “OMG I lost the all my text” stuff.

    I’ve been living in a region of my country where it was normal to have a couple of power outages or fluctuations during the day. I din’t have an UPS so I lost a lot of data I was working on when outages happened. Moslty when I had to write something for the interent ( journal, comments etc. ) I openenet the good old Notepad and saved the epty file . . . and after that I started writing . . . while writing ( fast ) a small journay to the CTRL+S key combination made me not lose everything for the case that an outage happened.

    Now I have an UPS but I still write things in Notepad because it happens that some contact, send or whatever form doesn’t work the way it should . . . sometimes I get time out errors, it’s not possible to use the back button etc. etc. so the text is getting lost in the WWW . . . or somewhere else.

    Sitting 20 minutes on writing something and then losing things . . . ain’t good for the mood so, Notepad can help out here . . . or before hitting the button another little trip to CTRL+A and CTRL+C . . . so if soemthing goes wrong it’s its possible to refresh the page and paste the whole text.

  45. I just use the reg version so i don’t have any plugins!

  46. Another thumbs up for Spam Karma from me as well. I just recommended it to someone else on his blog earlier today, actually. I like the way it can do captchas, but won’t make a user fill one out unless their comment looks a little spammy. Then they can save it (or at least improve its chances) by filling out the captcha.

    I’ve been using it for a while, and it’s been absolutely perfect. No false positives, no false negatives (I check slightly obsessively through the caught spam list.) A few comments that it wasn’t sure about, which all turned out to be spam.

  47. Hi Matt,

    SecureImage plugin is working perfectly in WP 2.0.4. I just tested it on one of my blogs.

    Now no need of the Math, Matt. πŸ˜‰

    – Tuning

  48. Well, I see you already have Did you pass math? plugin πŸ™‚

    You may enjoy the “Optimal title” plugin to switch the order of Blog title and Post title in page titles.

    You can also check:
    – “Post teaser
    – “Related posts
    – “Fuzzy recent posts
    Google Sitemaps (Google Sitemap generator – an earlier version than mentioned above)
    – “Bookmark me” by Semiologic

    Btw, reading your post is fun, because I have only been using the 2.0.x versions πŸ˜‰

  49. Funbug, that’s exactly what I needed–thank you!

  50. My favorite plugin is the silaspartner plugin for flickr integration: it works perfectly, the sidebar displaying photo is just beautiful.
    Wordpress is an awesome software.

    Use phpMyVisites with it (for your web analytics), and it’s just perfect!

  51. Favorit Plugin

    ADD Video Plug that allows you to add GoogleVideo and YouTube and those

  52. Hi Matt, long time reader of your blog. Just occurred to me that you could’ve used a Writely account to write and auto-save documents. Posting to WordPress from Writely is a breeze. Definitely worthwhile for any of those really long posts πŸ™‚