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.