April 25, 2008
Since I last wrote here, I’ve upgraded three WordPress installations to version 2.5. Mr. Karen’s placeholder site was first. I set it up using Dreamhost’s one-click install, so upgrading was easyâ€”a few clicks through the Dreamhost control panel to find the spot to do the one-click, a short wait for an e-mail, then a quick login on the WordPress upgrade page on the site to complete the process. The two installs on my main site took a lot more effort (both are for this journalâ€”at the time I moved over here from Diary-X, WordPress didn’t have a good way to do semi-static pages like About Me and such, so I did one install for my entries and one for the semi-static pages). I couldn’t one-click upgrade them, since I hadn’t one-click installed them (Dreamhost didn’t have any one-click installs back then).
I started with the semi-static pages install. My initial plan was to upgrade the same way I’d installed originally, with FTP and an ssh client and bringing all my geek girl mojo to bear. I started down that path, but since the version I was running was embarrassingly out-of-date (so much for my geek girl cred) I couldn’t just upgrade from where I was to the latest release. I ran into enough issues getting to the first increment that I decided to rethink the plan. I ended up wiping out the existing install (after backing everything up, of course) and doing a one-click install of the latest release. Because the table structure wasn’t the same in the new release as it had been in the version I’d been running, the data didn’t import perfectly from the backup but I was able to pull in the bulk of the information and just had to re-do the categories (which aren’t that important on the semi-static side anyway, they just make it a bit easier for me to find what I want to edit). By Sunday night, all my semi-static pages were back up with the same permalinks and everything.
When it came time to upgrade the entries, I decided to setup a development/playground site first to make sure the approach I’d used with the semi-static pages would work since I have hundreds and hundreds of entries compared to the handful of semi-static pages. It worked great. My first test import turned up a problem with my data file, so I fixed that and got all the entries in, then started on organizing them into categories and getting the archives page format sorted. In the process, I found several useful plug-ins: Batch Categories and My Category Order to make it easier to move entries into categories and get the categories in the order I wanted them, and Smart Archives and Clean Archives Reloaded to give me more control over how my archives page looks. Yesterday I was happy with how things looked in the playground, so I did an export, blew away my existing entries install, did the one-click for the latest version, imported what I’d exported from the playground, tweaked the configuration (I’d made notes while I played so I knew what I’d done), and that was that. It took maybe half an hour.
Today I was basking in the glow of this accomplishment when I visited the WordPress site and noticedâ€”get thisâ€”a new release, newer than the one I’d just spent my time getting up and running. What are the oddsâ€”I wait years to upgrade and a new release comes out the day after I’m finally up to date. I’m so glad I chose to convert to the one-click install model; I’ve already updated two of my installs to today’s version and will do the other two before the end of the day (wanted to make sure the auto upgrade worked as expected before I messed with my main pages).
This new WordPress has a lot more features than the one I’d been running; I’m looking forward to exploring. I may be able to make things easier on myself by taking advantage of some of this new stuff, and I’m pondering a redesign just so I can have an excuse to play.