WordPress Automatic upgrade

Apparently there’s a plugin that does what I’ve been waiting for WordPress to incorporate all this time: WordPress Automatic upgrade:

WordPress Automatic Upgrade allows a user to automatically upgrade the wordpress installation to the latest one provided by wordpress.org using the 5 steps provided in the wordpress upgrade instructions.

WordPress automatic upgrade upgrades your wordpress installation by doing the following steps.

  1. Backs up the files and makes available a link to download it.
  2. Backs up the database and makes available a link to download it.
  3. Downloads the latest files from http://wordpress.org/latest.zip and unzips it.
  4. Puts the site in maintenance mode.
  5. De-activates all active plugins and remembers it.
  6. Upgrades wordpress files.
  7. Gives you a link that will open in a new window to upgrade installation.
  8. Re-activates the plugins.

The plugin can also can be run in a automated mode where in you do not have to click on any links to go to the next step.

Sweet! I thought the automatic plugin update was really neat already. If this works, then it’ll be sweet! Just make sure you haven’t actually modified WordPress code or your upgrade would overwrite it. Previously, I went and modified WordPress core code to get my collapsible sidebar menus, since that wasn’t exposed in the theme layer. However in my recent upgrade, I forwent all that and only made slight changes to the theme so it’d be easier for later upgrades, so upgrading won’t have to be a multi-hour process and tons of breaking changes. I’ll also be able to upgrade more frequently instead of every 6 months to 1 year.

Next thing they need to add is the ability to download and install new plugins on the fly. Currently I have to download the zip file and upload it myself. But given that they can already automatically upgrade plugins to the latest version, I’d think adding a new plugin shouldn’t be too hard.

Update: Speak of the devil. WordPress 2.7 was just released today. Got to test the plugin first hand today and it was a smooth as a baby’s butt. It was basically the steps above, one after another. Personally I think it requested confirmation too many times. Like I don’t think it really needed my confirmation to go and download the latest version of WordPress. I think it should be 2 simple steps: 1. Backup, 2. Upgrade. Any option needed for backup should be on the 1st page. Any option needed for upgrade should be on the 2nd page. However, it definitely made the upgrade process a lot simpler.

Tons of new stuff that I have yet to check out. Definitely a big improvement over 2.6. The editor space is a lot bigger now (fills up the width of your screen instead of set at some fixed width). The common panes (publish, tags, and categories) are move to the right side. Unfortunately they haven’t made it possible to resize the panes individually. I still don’t understand why you can resize the editor window when it’s in Visual mode, but not in HTML mode.

I just watched the video on their blog and they’ve basically rendered this plugin useless. They’ve apparently built the WordPress upgrade directly into 2.7. They’ve also addressed a few of the points I’ve brought up (i.e. automatically downloading and installing plugins).

Upgraded to WordPress 2.5.1

So after many months of WordPress complaining that I should upgrade from 2.3.1, I’ve finally decided to upgrade. What prompted this action was the fact I was trying to do a review on 時をかける少女 (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) and the stupid blog would convert all my unicode characters to ???????? (question marks).

I have no idea what’s wrong since Krunk4Ever.com runs on the same WordPress version and does unicode fine. I decided to try upgrading to WordPress 2.5.1, but the unicode problem still exist.

Searching online, I found WordPress, Unicode, and ‘?’s and it turns out Krunk4Ever.com’s wp-config.php was so old, it didn’t have the following defined:

define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');
define(’DB_COLLATE’, ”);

When I commented that out from HD-Trailer.net’s wp-config.php file, I was able to do unicode, but all my existing blog entries that had non-standard characters now became funky (white question mark inside a black diamond). There didn’t seem to be a simple search and replace where I could fix the problem. The underlying problem appears that when WordPress first created the database, the text data type it set as default was latin1 instead of utf8.

Searching a bit more, I found: Converting Database Character Sets on WordPress.org’s site. So a brief read revealed this is exactly what I wanted. I wanted to convert my existing latin1 text to utf8 text. So I jumped to the solution and start altering tables, which wasn’t as simple as it looks. Those …for all other tables/columns… really gets to you.

Half way through the process, I found that I screwed up. Apparently I was suppose to convert LONGTEXT to LONGBLOB, and not just BLOB. Guess I should’ve read all the instructions first. Thankfully, I had backed up my database as it instructed. And I guess I should’ve scrolled further as under solution was Conversion Scripts and Plugins. Grrrrr.

I installed the UTF-8 Database Converter plugin, read the readme.txt FULLY, activated the plugin and started the conversion. BAM! Everything works now. Even though there were big red warning signs saying this plugin was meant for 2.1-2.2, it worked on 2.3.1 and 2.5.1 w/o any problems.

Back to WordPress 2.5.1. The admin UI has completely changed. It’s definitely prettier, but I dislike the fact that they’ve moved a bunch of stuff I’ve been accustomed to the side (such as categories) to below the post. And since I run on a 1920×1080 resolution monitor, this is leaving about half my screen white, basically wasted space.

However I really appreciate the fact that Save no longer refreshes the page. Same with a bunch of other post editing functions.

Another awesome thing is that plugins now support updating from within the admin panel! No longer do I need to deactivate the plugin, download the plugin, overwrite the existing plugin, and reactivate it. In one click, it now goes fetches the plugin and automatically upgrades it on its own!

I wonder if they’ve supported upgrading WordPress like this yet…

Anyway, if I find anything more interesting, I’ll let you know!

Also, if you see any funky characters, please let me know too. Thanks!