The 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)…
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.
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.
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.