The biggest fear I hear over and over again is that people do not want to upgrade because they are afraid their WordPress Plugin won’t work. This is a good example of how important WordPress Plugins are to our WordPress blogs, as well as how dependent we’ve become on them.
WordPress developers have added a backwards compatibility file to help most older WordPress Plugins and WordPress Themes continue to work. For those really paranoid about how this new upgrade will impact their blog, see these instructions below to help set up a WordPress test blog.
In a update to Aaron Brazell’s “10 Things You Should Know About WordPress 2.1″, WordPress developer Ryan Boren explained how most of the old template tags will work because of the new inclusion of the new
deprecated.php file in the WordPress 2.1 download.
This file adds backwards compatibility to WordPress, instructing the programming language and WordPress Plugins that the template tags were this and now are that. The
deprecated.php file is found under
This might not apply to every WordPress Plugin but it should to all who have updated their WordPress Plugin within the past six months or so.
Still, check the WordPress Plugin compatibility list to make sure your WordPress Plugin is on the list, and if it isn’t, then contact the WordPress Plugin author (info on your Plugins panel) to find out if their Plugin has been updated.
Attention WordPress Plugin Authors: If your WordPress Plugin has been updated, get on the damn list!
More Help With WordPress 2.1
While most people upgrading from the most recent updates have had little trouble installing the new WordPress 2.1, here are some tips to help you make the transition an easy one.
1. Update WordPress Plugins: Before you install WordPress 2.1, check the WordPress Plugin compatibility list to make sure your favorite can’t-live-without WordPress Plugins will work with the new version. Even if they aren’t on the list, check the WordPress Plugin author’s site to see if they have updated their Plugin.
If you are making the leap from an older version, please follow the instructions on upgrading from WordPress 1.5.x and 2.0.x to 2.1. Changes were made in each of these versions to the database, so your upgrade may need to be incremental, or at least a little more fussy.
3. Before installing the new version of WordPress:
1. Backup everything, including your WordPress Theme files.
2. Turn off all WordPress Plugins.
3. Delete the old WordPress core files.
4. Upload the new WordPress core files.
If you don’t do this, we’ll tell you to do this when you come visit us in the WordPress Support Forums. ;-) The process of uploading files over the top of others can cause glitches if there are any interruptions in your Internet connection. Don’t trust it. Delete and upload new files.
If you are having massive errors and problems after running the
upgrade.php script, then start over by deleting the files and uploading them again. This solves most problems with upgrades and patches. Hopefully, this process will be automated and easier in the future.
4. Turn Off WordPress Plugins Before Upgrading: WordPress 2.1 changes the tables structure in the database a bit and adds new ones. WordPress Plugins that access the changed tables in the database may implode after the upgrade, so make sure these are updated before you begin the upgrade process.
Make sure all WordPress Plugins are inactive, then turn them on one by one and test the site thoroughly after each one is turned on so you can find the culprit before you get too far.
Download Squad’s Post Install Checklist is worth reviewing to make sure everything is still working as it should.
5. Specific Troubleshooting Issues
If You Have Trouble: If you are having trouble with the WordPress 2.1 upgrade, spend a few minutes searching through the WordPress Support Forums. The odds are you aren’t alone and someone has already responded with an answer. If not, then ask. Your problem may be the some as someone else who doesn’t have the courage to ask.
If your host server has not upgraded past MySQL 4.0, do not install WordPress 2.1. According to Ryan Boren, while the WordPress 2x branch will continue to support MySQL 3.23.23, WordPress 2.1 will require MySQL 4.0, taking advantage of the more powerful and optional functions in the newer versions of the database program. It’s time to nag them or find a new server if you want to keep up with WordPress. You should also know that MySQLAB has stopped support for MySQL 4.0. Ryan says that WordPress 2.2 will require a minimum of MySQL 4.1.
WordPress Theme Authors be warned. Some are reporting screwed up WordPress Themes and structure after upgrading. WordPress 2.1 now incorporates blogroll links into the category list and a few new WordPress Theme template files, deprecated a few older ones. If your WordPress Theme uses the
wp-list_cats() template tag, it has been deprecated in WordPress 2.1. The new template tag is
wp_list_categories(). Ericulous summed up some of the other changes in template tags between WordPress 2.0x and WordPress 2.1.
Old Atom Feeds: Some have complained about the lack of an upgrade for Atom. Matt Mullenweg announced that next update will feature the Atom API for the next version. Until then, you can add Atom 1.0 feed to your WordPress blog with WordPress Atom 1.0 WordPress Plugin, enable it manually with the instructions from snellspace.com, or replace your feeds with Feedburner.
Instructions for the Really Paranoid WordPress User
If you are really paranoid about how WordPress 2.1 will work with all your WordPress Theme and Plugin modifications and customization, and you can’t afford to have your blog down for the time the upgrade may take, the following might help:
- Create a test directory on your site.
- Install WordPress 2.1 to that directory, creating a new database for testing.
- Using the default or classic WordPress Theme, write several test posts that resemble your typical post writing and styles.
- Add your WordPress Theme files to the test site and test it.
- If the Theme works, then start adding your WordPress Plugins one-by-one, testing the blog thoroughly before adding the next one.
- If the Theme doesn’t work, it usually means you are using WordPress Plugins not designed to fail gracefully, and/or you didn’t embed them in your WordPress Theme with the failsafe method. Check to see if you have the latest version of your WordPress Plugins. Then go through your WordPress Themes to ensure the conditional statement to check whether or not a Plugin is active is wrapped around every Plugin statement breaking your blog’s Theme. See When the Blog Breaks: Fixing Your Broken Blog for the instructions on what to do when Plugins break your WordPress Theme.
- When you’ve tested your test site thoroughly, and fixed all things needing fixing, properly install WordPress 2.1 to your main blog, test it, and copy over the now fixed and updated WordPress Theme and Plugins.
- Delete the test site and clean out the testing database files, very carefully.
- Enjoy your new WordPress upgraded blog.
More News on WordPress
For more information on what is happening around the WordPress Community this week, see WordPress Wednesday on the Blog Herald with Lorelle, that’s me. ;-) I’ll be posting weekly updated on what’s going on within the world of WordPress. If you have any news you want shared, be sure and let me know.
- When the Blog Breaks: Fixing Your Broken Blog
- My WordPress Theme is Broken
- Backing Up Your WordPress.com Blog
- What I needed to learn about WordPress
- Stepping Into Templates
- Stepping Into Template Tags
- WordPress Lessons on Designing Your WordPress Site
- WordPress Template Files
- WordPress Lessons on Template Files
- WordPress Lessons on Template Tags
- WordPress Template Tags
- Using WordPress Themes
- Designing A WordPress Theme From Scratch
- Designing A WordPress Theme – Building a Sandbox
- The Secret of Successful Editing of WordPress Themes
- Finding Your CSS Styles in WordPress
- WordPress Tips and Tricks for Template Files
- Secrets of WordPress Theming
- Conquering Site Validation Errors
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