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WordPress 2.2 upgrade caveats

I upgraded a test blog to WordPress 2.2 yesterday morning, and then–because it’s not really a test blog, like most development sites I actually have a use for it, like, um, a meeting with a church web committee tomorrow evening–found myself in conniptions dealing with upgrade aftermath–nothing huge, but it ate several hours.

Overall, the upgrade should go fine, but my suggestions follow (several from WordPress itself, others cobbled together from other blogs as well as experience).

Before upgrading…

  1. If your ISP offers “one-click upgrade,” STOP. Don’t just press that button! Read the WordPress upgrade instructions end-to-end and then proceed with caution.
  2. Backup your data. (Again, when are we going to see cron-operated data backup built into WP?) Ok, I admit, the test blog has about five posts, most from content copied and pasted from Amazon and Wikipedia, so I didn’t do this. But I guar-an-tee I’m going to do a belt-and-suspenders backup before Free Range Librarian is upgraded.
  3. Disable all plugins. Wonky things might happen if they aren’t disabled before you upgrade. It might be ok (it was for me), but on my live blog, I wouldn’t take the chance. That’s probably the biggest error I made in merrily pressing the upgrade button before reading instructions.
  4. Check the list of incompatible plugins.
  5. Uninstall the Sidebar Widgets plugin (don’t just deactivate it; remove it from the plugins directory–I say that from both research and experience). Widgets are now integrated into WordPress, and the plugin is incompatible and will cause conflicts. (Note: if you really want to keep using the Sidebar Widgets plugin, there is a plugin for disabling the new integrated WordPress Widgets. But I would guess that down the road we’ll all be moving to WordPress Widgets, so that’s a stopgap.)
  6. Be aware that your theme may not work right after upgrade. I could not get “andrea09” to work with the new Widget structure; some of my widgets wouldn’t display. In fact, I struggled to find a three-column fluid widget-compatible theme that would work correctly with one other crucial plugin, the Event Calendar; I have kind of a kludge that doesn’t look quite right, and I’m too design-naive to dare touch the CSS. (A church website without an event calendar is a non-starter.) Suggestion to People Like Me: have a backup theme or two hip-pocketed.
  7. I also found that I learned more from searching the WordPress support forums than from the WordPress documentation, which in places falls behind WordPress reality… poor little free kittens, starving for food!… and that the WordPress site is so busy that I had to stop and restart searches frequently.

Anyway, a nice upgrade, All Should Go Well, WordPress rocks, blah blah blah… but don’t assume you can do this on a coffee break and come back to presto-changeo happy new bloggyness. It’s an upgrade, and Things Can Happen.

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