WordPress 2.5 Plugins Beware: Automatic Plugin Upgrade Problems

WordPress 2.5 iconThe Release Candidate 1 for WordPress 2.5 has just been released for beta testers, and Darren of Unfolding Neurons warns about using the new Automatic Plugins upgrades feature due in WordPress 2.5, which is in the final stages for release within the next two weeks.

WordPress 2.5 comes with the ability for blog owners to upgrade their plugins automatically via the Plugins Page. “Automatic Upgrade” means that instead of having to download the plugin and then ftp it to your server, you can simply click the “upgrade automatically” link and WordPress will take care of everything for you.

It’s a great idea and definitely one that will work okay with most basic plugins but here’s the problem(s)…

WordPress 2.5 Automatic Plugin Upgrade Feature
He goes on to explain that the Automatic Plugin Upgrade feature will not deactivate and reactivate your WordPress Plugin during the upgrade process. You have to do this manually.

Special instructions required for pre-upgrading are not passed onto the user naturally, as they would with other program installations. If there are any special handling restrictions or actions, such as requiring some or all of the Plugin differently from the new standard where every Plugin has its own directory under the Plugins directory, the upgrade feature will not handle the instructions. A simple example would be if the original Plugin was installed in the root Plugins directory and the upgrade installs it in its own directory as /wp-content/plugins/mypluginname/myplugin.php. There are now two versions of the same Plugin because the old version was not removed from the root directory and the new version doesn’t work from a subdirectory, which could cause conflicts and function reference location issues.

While these are not blog-threatening issues, especially if you avoid using the Automatic Plugin Upgrade feature until reassured it has been fixed and all Plugins comply with the new standards, a broken blog due to a poorly installed WordPress Plugin is still broken and not to be taken lightly.

Darren has put a ticket in the WordPress Trac to help fix these issues, however, some of these issue might not be corrected in time for WordPress 2.5 final release – though we can hope.

WordPress Plugin Authors

Update your WordPress Plugin to accommodate these new changes in the system so your Plugin will upgrade appropriately.

Ensure the notes within the Plugin’s description text are clear or include a link to upgrade notes. Also, put upgrade notes and instructions in your official Plugin Page on your blog and in the WordPress Plugin Directory and WordPress Plugins Database. See Migrating Plugins and Themes for more information on upgrading your WordPress Plugins for WordPress 2.5.

Once upgraded, add your Plugin to the WordPress Plugin Compatibility.

WordPress Users

Consider checking the official Plugin Page for that Plugin before upgrading to see if works with the new Upgrade Plugins feature. Check the WordPress Plugin Compatibility list for your Plugin.

When in doubt, install the new Plugin or upgrade in the traditional manner manually by uploading to your WordPress blog server.

WordPress 2.5 Testers

Are you testing the early beta release of WordPress 2.5 and not an expert in all things WordPress? If this feature causes your Plugins to bork your blog, access your WordPress blog with an FTP program and remove or rename the Plugin you just upgraded. This will deactivate the Plugin manually.

Visit the Plugin’s official Page and follow the upgrade instructions for manually upgrading the Plugin. Let the Plugin author know that it did not work with the new Plugin Upgrade feature if they haven’t upgraded.

More on WordPress 2.5

For more information on WordPress 2.5, see:

Comments

  1. says

    Hmm, sounds to me like this is an issue that may get bumped to a service release or at the worst case, 2.6. It will be a pain in the rear to get the majority of plugin authors to code or revamp their plugins so they meet the automatic upgrader requirements.

  2. says

    @Jeffro2pt0:

    I don’t think it will be that complicated. WordPress Plugin authors have been “guided” to install their Plugins in their own directories under the Plugins directory for a long time. Few Plugins today need to have special handling like the older ones.

    A way to provide any installation instructions should be easy to code in the new feature, I hope. There are some brilliant folks working on this.

    Rumors are flying that the WordPress Automatic Upgrade might also be pushed back, too. Automatic upgrades and installations are tricky things.

  3. says

    No clue if my Nusuni Technorati Links plugin works in 2.5 (would assume it does), I’m not planning any future development on it, so if it doesn’t work I suppose someone else will have to hack it up. Not even sure if the plugin is needed for 2.5, think I remember reading somewhere that it has a built in option for changing the blog search URL (not sure though).

    If someone with 2.5 installed could check up on this for me that’d be great :)

  4. says

    @Jeremy – yes, you can change that link at example.com//wp-admin/?edit=dashboard_incoming_links#dashboard_incoming_links

  5. says

    Actually, I’m not sure exactly how everyone else is finding it but 2.5RC1 seems to be packed with issues. There are numerous elements that just don’t work (like the visual editor, the future post link…). I like the new features but I’ve got to say that this is far from being a suitable candidate for release.

    That said, perhaps it’s just my test installation that’s going wrong.

  6. Erich says

    WARNING: The WP-Authors plugin is jacked in 2.5 – the widget displays a list of ALL USERS – not good. I wish this upgrade would have been written a little more carefully – WAIT FOR 2.6!!

  7. says

    @Erich:

    Is that Plugin listed in the WordPress Plugin Compatibility page on the Codex? Be sure and check there for Plugins that will and will not work and contact the author directly if there is a problem to find out if they have or will be upgrading to work with WordPress 2.5.

  8. says

    Is that Plugin listed in the WordPress Plugin Compatibility page on the Codex? Be sure and check there for Plugins that will and will not work and contact the author directly if there is a problem to find out if they have or will be upgrading to work with WordPress 2.5.

  9. says

    Excerpt’s will only show words of your post and not display any Javascript code. The only way around this for now would be to use the summary option from reading options instead of using the excerpt function.

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