I had heard earlier about the frequency of incremental upgrades to the WordPress platform, and so was unsurprised last night when WP issued a directive to upgrade to version 2.3.3 – an “urgent security release,” something about a flaw in their dechyon-field infrastructure or something equally unintelligible.

Well, better to be safe than sorry. I had some spare time for the upgrade today, so opportunity costs weren’t an issue. On the other hand, I did have private trepidations, and not merely because I’d heard that many WordPress users put off upgrades out of fear, uncertainty, and confusion. I have a rather checkered career of blogging platform upgrades (see: Movable Type), as readers here maywell recall.

There being nothing for it, however, I set about carefully following the rather bleak expanded upgrade instructions…and in the words of Canadian philosopher Alanis Morissette, everything’s just fine, fine, fine. The procedure was indeed more dreaded than dreadful; lots of steps, but each one completely unambiguous.

  • Back up your database. Back up your files. Make sure the backups can be properly opened. Deactivate all plugins.
  • Download the new WP version.
  • Delete the files and folders on your remote installation that the instructions specifically tell you to. Leave alone those files and folders that the instructions tell you to leave alone.
  • Upload the new versions of those deleted files and folders.
  • Run the upgrade script.
  • Check .htaccess and permalink settings. (Mine were fine.)
  • Reactivate your plugins.
  • Brew a cup of Earl Grey and write a blog post celebrating your incredible smarty-ness.

Having to manually upload files in order to upgrade will never be a summer vacation, and I still think that the blogging platform that makes this frequent and necessary task largely automatic (no pun implied) will wind up ruling the blogging world. Still, if the instructions are clear and the procedure is not terribly onerous, then you have to admit that you’re in a pretty good place.

Those WordPress folks complaining about the rigors of upgrading have obviously never used Movable Type.

First upgrade on the new frontier