Upgrade Saturday

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Effective January 1, 2010, this site does not use Drupal and instead uses only WordPress.

It was raining pretty hard this morning, so I had to delay some of my plans for outside work. Instead, I turned to doing some much needed website updates and upgrades. Here are some notes from that.

First, a couple of the open source tools, FileZilla and Komodo Edit, had upgrades available, so I installed those. Of the two, Komodo has the more automatic process, though I still think the FileZilla message about “installing the upgrade whatever way you installed the original” is pretty honest and funny.

WordPress logo

Next it was on to WordPress for the blog support. I’ve been updating the plugins fairly regularly as I see the notices about those whenever I need to approve a comment. WordPress 2.8 became available a few days ago so I decided to install it. I watched the little video the WordPress folks prepared and decided to go for it. Normally I try to wait for the x.y.1 release, but I felt bold.

After backing up my files and the database, the automatic upgrade for WordPress itself went fine. Once 2.8 was in place, three plugins then wanted to be upgraded, so I did that. The WP-DBManager plugin, which does database backups and restores, then started to put messages on every page about an .htaccess file needing to be moved into my backup-db directory from the plugin directory. The only problem was that there was no such file in the plugin directory. After forcing FileZilla to show hidden files (via the Server menu), I found an htaccess.txt file. So I downloaded this, put it in the backup-db directory, renamed it to .htaccess, and the warning messages went away. Now, presumably, my database backups are not publicly accessible.

When looking at the blog after the upgrade, I noticed that the links on the left hand side were not being displayed. I checked to make sure the My Link Order plugin was current, which it was, and then deactivated and reactivated it. This fixed the problem, but only after a little web research didn’t turn up any other likely culprits. Incidentally, I restored the recent comments listing in the right hand column of the blog. These somehow went away when I switched to the new theme.

Drupal logo

After the WordPress half of the site and my lunch was finished, I turned to Drupal. The Administrative console had been warning me that I needed to upgrade from version 6.10 to 6.12 for quite some time but I hadn’t gotten around to it. Frankly, upgrading between Drupal upgrades is a pain in the neck, no matter how much I like the software (and I do, very much). It is far too manual a process. Nevertheless, I got the new code, made sure my customizations and additions were copied over, and installed the latest. Once everything was on the site, I ran the upgrade script, and I was done.

We need to get a point with all this type of software where these is a one button upgrade process. WordPress is pretty much there, but other software providers should follow their lead. Let me say, though, that I am very appreciative of all this fine open source software and the thousands of hours put into my developers. It’s truly beautiful, elegant stuff.

Postscript: After I installed WordPress 2.8, I read that version 2.8.1 will soon be available. One of the big bugs it will fix is in the automatic upgrade process. Evidently it can delete the wrong files if something goes wrong. This did not happen to me, but you might want to wait if you are nervous about it and you might have to manually reinstall some of the core files from the source file installation set.

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