Backend Update to Deep Sand

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Aug 042009
 

We did an update today to a new version of WordPress. This was a significant upgrade that involved a lot of updates for the plugins that add so much functionality to the site.

WordPress now has an automated “in-place” system for updating the core files. There have been automated in-place updates for the plugins for some time. Some people reported some issues with the update, so we created a development blog that replicated the Deep Sand environment.

To create this development site, we download the entire set of files for Deep Sand. We create a test database, and change the special WP Configuration File to match the test database. Then we upload the entire set of files to the sub-directory housing the test site.

We create a complete backup of the database using the WordPress Database back-up program. I open it in a text editor and do a find and replace to replace to the URL for the main site with the URL for test site. I import the modified backup file into the the test database, and you’re pretty much ready to go with an exact replica.

It’s a good thing we did some testing, and there were some issues with a couple of the plugins we use that haven’t been updated in a while. We changed a few to start using plugins that seem to be updated more often, and found some workarounds for a few of the other issues. It wasn’t anything major, and you really can’t expect every plugin developer to support their plugins forever. You just hope they are engineered enough initially to stand up over time.

We had a lot of plugin updates with the newer version of the core software, so when I did the upgrade on the production system, I deactivated all the plugins, did the update, then deleted the entire plugins directory. I had previously downloaded the entire plugins directory from the test site, and just uploaded it to the production site. Brought all the new plugins online and implemented the few changes we had to make to accomodate the minor issues, and Deep Sand was back on-line in no time.

The folks responsible for WordPress, Automattic, do an outstanding job, and have put a very powerful publishing tool in the hands of millions of users.

Aug 072008
 

I seem to be doing lots of upgrading lately. I’ve been having an issue for some time now with my Outlook crashing several times each day, and often taking multiple attempts to restart it. In some cases, it will even break the connection to the pst file, and I’ll have to restart the computer. I’ve tried everything without success, so I’m now considering an upgrade to Office 2007.

I don’t hear a lot of good about it, and most people are, at best, indifferent. I do know I’ve gotten very good at using Excel, and had a friend tell me that’s the program she had the most problem with adjusting to the new interface.

I’m downloading the files now from our corporate interface. It’s taken several hours. I don’t know why they won’t send out a CD, but whatcha gonna do. Once downloaded, I may install in on my laptop first, and see what I think.

Does anyone have an opinion, or better yet, suggestions on how to cope with the changes resulting from an upgrade?

A Clean Upgrade to Deep Sand

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Aug 072008
 

If you visited Deep Sand earlier this week, you might have gotten a message saying we were temporarily unavailable. I was performing an upgrade to a new version of the software. Normally, that’s not a huge task, but this time I wanted to get as clean a database and code base as possible. Over the years, a lot of additional tables for plugins and files and folders and options settings have been left behind. I wanted to get that cleaned out.

I pulled a current back up of the site (site files and database). Then I uploaded the new version and ran the upgrade routine. This meant that database would be updated to the current format (whatever changes that might mean).

I made sure that all the plugins we currently use here were up-to-date (the WordPress team has made that a lot easier). I then took a clean set of the latest WordPress files (2.6, but this technique could be used for any version I believe), and downloaded all the current plugin files and theme files we use here on Deep. I made sure I got rid of plugin files no longer in use. I also downloaded an additional backup of the database file from the upgraded version.  Continue reading »

A Big Day at Deep Sand

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Mar 282008
 

We’ve been busy here at Deep Sand over the past several evenings, and you will probably notice one  of the biggest changes right away, as we have implemented this new look to the site. We really loved the older theme, “I Feel Dirty,” and it’s still there for us, but this Zeke 1.0 theme offered a great look, along with some newer features. We also worked on what goes on behind the scenes as well, and while things are pretty much back to normal as far as you’re concerned, we still have a bit of work to do.

Continue reading »

AWOL

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Jul 132007
 

Man, this past week has been rough at work. We had two major proposals to get out, and I have been chained to this desk for 16 hour days the whole week. Thank heaven for client imposed deadlines. They are both out, so the pressure is off. Hopefully next week won’t be so bad.

In the background, I have been working on planning for a major upgrade to the software that runs this site. They’ve made some major changes to the functionality, so most all the plugins will have to be updated. We use a lot of those here at Deep to give you the best possible experience, so that has all take some time. It’s also time for a major clean-up of the site files and the database, so the testing process has been extensive. I think we’re about ready to migrate.

If all goes well, you won’t notice a thing except some performance improvements. I also hope you’ll notice more posting now that I’m not so under the gun at work.

Blog Upgrades

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Feb 282006
 

Work was busy last week, and there wasn’t anything exciting going on this weekend. That’s why I haven’t posted much lately.

Another thing I’ve been doing is testing out a new version of the blog software. It is open source software called WordPress, and it is really pretty cool. You wouldn’t believe all the plugins people have written to extend the capabilities of the software. I use quiet a few here on Deep Sand. There is the random quote plugin that generates the quotes at the top of the sidebar. The weather report near the bottom of the sidebar is the result of a plugin. Many of the ones I run you don’t see. One of my plans is to create a page that elaborates on the program that drives this blog.

A recently released version was a pretty major re-write. I built a new blog for a friend as a way to test the software and the plugins. Much of the re-write is “under the hood.” As a result a few of the plugins had to be updated as well. I worked through those, and really liked the results. So, I ran through the upgrade process on my Mother’s blog. That went very well, but I was holding my breath as I upgraded the Deep Sand blog. It is a significantly more complex site. However, the upgrade went very smoothly. There are one or two minor problems that will have to be corrected. I think I know how to resolve these fairly quickly tomorrow. There is?a file up-loader that I use for the photo gallery that isn’t working, so I’ll have to do some research on that. There is an option to it using the Flickr photo system, and there are plugins for that too.

The main differences in this version are the tighter integration of some anti-spam tools for comments. Those are implemented on this site, and already capturing a ton of track-back spam. The other main difference is in the flexibility of the interface, and there is a built in WYSIWYG editor that includes access to a spell checker system and direct access to a plugin I use for collecting the information I use in the movie reviews.

So, that has been my evening tonight, upgrading this blog.