Tag Archive for: blog


First real facelift for this site in many years. First time I purchased a theme too. So far I rather dig it — and it looks nice on my phone as well. Building up a list of future articles. Could this be the revival?

Testing New WordPress Versions Part 4: Upgrade!

22 Sep 2007
September 22, 2007

This is Part 4 of a multi-part series of posts discussing how I test new major releases of WordPress before upgrading my “live” sites. The first step got us rolling with a XAMPP install .  Next, we copied our Live database to the test environment. The third step was the copying of the current WP files, extensions and themes to our test environment… In this step, we’ll try an actual upgrade

Upgrading WordPress typically is a pretty minor event. However, upgrading for major releases (like the upcoming 2.3) causes me to take a bit more care and pay a bit more attention.

Will my theme work? How about my plugins (I’m willing to bet some will not…). What are the changes that I’ll want to be aware of?

An upgrade should begin with a complete backup. Since I just built this test environment, I consider it “backed up”, so I’m glossing over this ( since I still have my database export and the files I copied down from the live site:  backup.  Wouldn’t hurt to make a copy of that wp-config.php we tweaked though).

I know of some database changes associated with 2.3, so I think I can safely assume some plugins aren’t going to work. Therefore, before beginning the upgrade, I’m going to deactivate all of ‘em. For minor releases I tend to skip this step, but not for major.

Say, did you know about the “Deactivate All Plugins” link?

Deactivate All Plugins link!

It sits at the bottom of the plugins page, below the list.  Nifty, huh?

As of this writing, the 2.3 Release Candidate 1 is the most recent (found at that link) so that’s what I’m going to download and install.

Upgrading a local install like we have with XAMPP is pretty simple. I unzip the download, navigate to that folder and select everything in there — then I unselect the wp-content folder (ctrl-A to select all, ctrl-click on wp-content to unselect it). Ctrl-C to copy, then I navigate to my htdocs/23_testing folder and hit Ctrl-V to paste.  When prompted about overwriting files, I click “Yes to all” and wait.

Now I’ll navigate into that new wp-content folder and do plugins and themes individually so as not to blow away my existing themes and plugins folders.

Almost done.  Now we need to tell WP to run the upgrade scripts by running upgrade.php.  In my case, that’s at http://localhost/23_testing/wp-admin/upgrade.php (yours will be wherever you installed in the previous steps).  When prompted, click “Upgrade WordPress” and follow the links.


Now the work begins.  Every theme is different and everyone runs different widgets and plugins, so I’m not even going to attempt to document how you test them all.  :-)  Just point your browser to your blog and start checking things out. Enable plugins/widgets one by one and check to see if/how it works. Be methodical and be observant!

WordPress 2.3 Notes

If you’re doing this testing for WordPress 2.3, be sure to not only check the Plugin Compatibility page in the codex, but also update it with what you learn (anyone can register and make updates).

Final Note: I hear that Christine of Ultimate Tag Warrior fame is rumored to be crafting some new plugins for the built-in tagging stuff that now comes with 2.3.  I, personally, can’t wait! I hope some sort of “related posts” functionality is part of that. (not much there yet for Tags oriented template tags)

Oh yeah, without UTW, my Add Related Posts to Your Feed plugin won’t work real well.  Would be cool if someone tried it with the other Related to Posts plugin…

Short Detour with the Testing New WordPress Series – Database Issue

19 Sep 2007
September 19, 2007

After finishing yesterday’s article, I noticed I had a problem with the newly copied local blog: Funny characters showing up in my posts!

In IE7, they’re little empty squares:

Funny Symbols in IE7

In Firefox they’re black diamonds with question marks:Funny Symbols in Firefox

I checked the live MySql version against the one that came with XAMPP. While not identical, they’re close. Local is 5.0.45 and the live server is 5.0.24a. Checked character sets and don’t see any differences either. Both are at UTF-8 Unicode.

Then I recalled something…

See, I learned to type on a typewriter (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth if you listen to my kids) and the notion of two spaces after every period is deeply ingrained. It seems that causes odd stuff to be stored in the database.

That seems to be part of the cause (it doesn’t explain all the issues), but how about a fix?

I took a quick peak at my original backup file, using Notepad++ and after a brief search found the little critters lurking in all my posts.

Funny symbols in the database backup

I noticed that the file encoding is ANSI, so I changed it to UTF-8 instead.

Changing encoding in Notepad++

Oh ho! Funny symbols disappeared in Notepad++!

I saved the file and then re-imported it (see Part 2 of the Testing New WordPress versions series for a refresher).

… Nope, that wasn’t the answer.  Still funny characters all over the place when viewing posts.

I’ve now spent an hour goofing around with different search/replace and encoding combinations and have yet to manage any sort of real improvement. I’ve never run into this before!

Is this a show-stopper?  Nah — but definitely an annoyance!  Guess I have a bit of a research project ahead of me. A glance at WordPress Support shows that a common fix is to remove some lines from the wp-config.php file.  Unfortunately, I don’t have those lines.

Testing New WordPress Versions Part 3: The Files

18 Sep 2007
September 18, 2007

This is Part 3 of a multi-part series of posts discussing how I test new major releases of WordPress before upgrading my “live” sites. The first step got us rolling with a XAMPP install .  Next, we copied our Live database to the test environment. This step will tackle copying the actual blog files and content (pictures, themes, plugins, etc) and getting it all running locally. Subsequent articles will discuss the actual upgrade and whatever else seems useful…

We have our XAMPP environment. We have our database copied. Now we need some files to make our WordPress installation actually run. When we’re done with this step we should have an almost identical copy of our live blog running on our PC.

Even if you’re not concerned about upgrading, this is great for testing plugins and doing theme development!

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