Not Another WordPress Upgrade

Dec
11
2008

Exit Sign

Finally WordPress 2.7 is released, but don’t you just hate all the endless upgrades, especially if you have code base modifications in place.

Whether or not you like WordPress as a blogging platform is debatable, but you have to agree that it does have a large slice of the market share.  And when you get to be a tall poppy like WordPress, just in shear numbers you will get (that is find) your security problems as people poke holes in your product.

This can have a distinct downside in the endless upgrades that the wordpress development community puts out.  It seems that you can be forever upgrading, testing it all works and then doing it all again.

There must be a better way. Well there is.  Don’t use WordPress (joking). No seriously, there are better ways than the constant manual upgrade of hundreds of files:

  • Automatic Update Plugin – You can get WordPress to upgrade itself for you, with the WordPress Automatic upgrade plugin. From version 2.7 this is automatically included as a core feature.  Now personally I’d be a little hesitant on this one, given the volume of sub releases that are fixes for previously introduced bugs and the like.
  • Use Subversion – If you are a developer and are subversion savvy this would be a way to go using subversion (SVN) to upgrade at your request.
  • Use the Trac – Did you know you can find out which specific files have changed and even the lines of code with them that has changed from version to version.  So you may only have to download a handful of files to install not hundreds in a full release. You can do all this with the WordPress Trac facility.

How to Use WordPress Trac

Trac can be very confusing with all its version numbers, revisions, tags  and trunks.  Sure you can go spread a while working it all out.  But really if you just want to know what has changed from one version to another and if it’s going to effect your code base then you maybe going a little too far.

Trac Changes Dialog PageFigure 1 – Trac Changes Search Page

So how do you work out what files have changed and what hasn’t:

  1. Go to the ChangeSet Page (follow the link or press the View Changes Button on the bottom of the Browse Source Page).
  2. On this page is two fields for Select Base and Target for Diff, they are labeled From and To (see figure 1).
  3. If you want to see the differences between for example: WordPress 2.6.3 and WordPress 2.6.5

    Type in the first field:  tags/2.6.3

    And the next field:  tags/2.6.5

    Yeah the secret is the “tags/” bit then the version number.

  4. Now press the View Changes button.   Ignore the “At Revision” fields leave them as their default.
  5. You will be presented with the results (see figure 2) this is a list of files (at the top), and the changes to the files. It is important to look for files that have been moved and removed as well as these may give you grief later.
  6. At the very bottom of this page is a link Zip Archives under the heading Download in other formats. This link will allow you to download just the changed files and apply or modify them as required.

Trac Results PageFigure 2 – Trac Results Page

Note sometimes you really just want to do the full upgrade like from version 2.6.3 to 2.7.  But at least now you have the option to find out what has really been changed in WordPress.

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