WordPress 3.5 Quick Look at Upgrading

WordPress 3.5 was released a few weeks ago. I held off upgrading for about 10 days while some things were shaking out. I had a few friends that got antsy and pulled the upgrade plug right away. I guess it is like hearing the phone ring and having to answer it no matter what. Some see the Upgrade to 3.5 message appear and just have to click on it. Then they call me to find out why their site is broken.

Can I upgrade now?

Yes, if you were current on your WP installs it should be no biggie, if you are coming from as far back as say, 3.2.1 you better backup everything or be feeling lucky.

The Upgrade Process

I’m finding the process of upgrading is as important as what version you are upgrading from. And the WP upgrade screen isn’t helpful as most of us think from a top down approach. Meaning, the top of the page is update WP, next is Update Plugins, finally Update Themes. What often happens is people will update WP, maybe plugins, almost never themes.

Here is my recommended way to minimize issues with a WP upgrade.

  1. Upgrade Plugins
  2. Upgrade Themes
  3. Upgrade WP
  4. Upgrade Plugins

Wait, you have upgrade plugins twice.  Yes, because sometimes plugins need to be upgraded before you upgrade WP for a better integration.  But sometimes a plugin needs the new version installed before the update can take place.  Some plugins might even have an update before and then one after.

Once the latest version of WP is installed I like to go to plugins and refresh the page.  Often there are one or two plugins that now report a need to update.

The most common problems with an upgrade to WP is plugins.  Sometimes it is because of not having the plugin up to date, sometimes it is simply that the plugin author hasn’t yet modified the plugin to work with the latest version of WP.

Logical Diagnostic

What does that mean?  it means when the site is “broken” after an update don’t panic.  First access what isn’t working?  Ex.  Adding new images to a post with the new media library in import process.  Suddenly with 3.5 one friend couldn’t get images to import.  Logical Diagnostics said “Look for plugins that are image related”.  I found one that would import images from Flickr.  It wasn’t compatible with the new code for image library and adding images to posts.  I deactivated it and everything worked as it should.

I’ve upgraded all of my sites now to 3.5 without any issues. I had one that I’d missed since 3.2.1 and it upgraded without issue. I keep all the production sites up to date which makes for a smooth upgrade process.

Final Thought on Dev sites and “Projects”

Some of you have built sites to play on, or for a project that either ended or never got off the ground. But you still have that old WP site on your hosting. Don’t forget these sites. They can easily become a back door for malware injections. My advice, if you aren’t using it delete all those files. If you want to keep it for future use or reference, be sure to include it in your update schedule.