Seamless WordPress 2.2 upgrade

Update January 2010: This plugin is now obsolete, and has been for some time, since WordPress is capable of updating itself when the built-in updater is used.

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I just this minute upgraded my WordPress from version 2.1.3 to the new 2.2, and it took only a few seconds. How did that happen, you ask? (Even if you didn’t ask, I’m going to tell you anyway.)

When I noticed that the WordPress software had just been updated – information here – I went over to my Plugins page and activated the Instant Upgrade plugin by Alex Günsche of Zirona. To my complete and utter astonishment, the plugin worked as advertised, and I had absolutely none of the problems that Mr. Günsche spoke of with regard to implementing the plugin. As advertised, the update was fully automatic, and it took only a split second.

Of course, before using the software, I backed up my database tables. I already had copies of all the other files that I use in my WordPress blog that I download as needed. I learned a long time ago that backups are a lifesaver, even if one isn’t having a near-death experience.

For database backups I use two programs – WP-DB Manager by GaMerZ, and WordPress Database Backup. The latter does timed backups, depending on the schedule you set, and will email, download, or store on-site my WordPress database backups.

Thank you very much, Alex Günsche.

Plugin blues

After installing the http:BL WordPress Plugin and successfully walking stumbling through building a new table for it in my WP database, today I discovered this: http:BL Lite. No database table modifications are required, since data logging is not built in.

Here’s what the author says:

The primary difference between http:BL Lite and the original http:BL WordPress Plugin is that my version does not include the logging feature. I did not feel that it was necessary and preferred the simplicity of the plugin prior to logging being added. After stripping out all of the code pertaining to the logging feature, redesigning the plugin’s option page, and cleaning up various aspects of the code, I decided to release my rendition…

I jumped on that bandwagon immediately and removed the long-winded http:BL, and replaced it with the much cleaner http:BL Lite. I’ll keep my database table addition, just in case.

More WordPressWorld anti-spam plugins

Spam is a constant problem for blog sites. Consequently, I tend to scour the WordPress Plugin site for anti-spam plugins. I currently use Akismet, and it works exceptionally well. Thank you very much, Akismet.

I think I’ve found another good one. From the http:BL site:

“The http:BL WordPress Plugin allows you to verify IP addresses of clients connecting to your blog against the Project Honey Pot database. Thanks to http:BL API you can quickly check whether your visitor is an email harvester, a comment spammer or any other malicious creature. Communication with verification server is done via DNS request mechanism, which makes the query and response even quicker. Now, thanks to http:BL WordPress Plugin any potentially harmful clients are denied from accessing your blog and therefore abusing it.”

After installing http:BL in my plugin folder, I discovered that my WordPress database needed a new table for the http:BL plugin to record its data. lunarpages.com provides access via cPanel to MySQL account maintenance. From the bottom of that page, I selected phpMyAdmin.

On the right sidebar, I selected my database, which in my case was worp1, and then selected Databases from the main page.

The names of my databases appeared next. I then selected the name of the database for which I wanted to add the table.

When the new page came up, it showed all of my current tables in my selected database.

At the bottom of this page, I chose Create new table on database. I typed in the name of the table I wanted to create, and the number of fields in my new table.

Fortunately, ht:BL has included a php file (I wasn’t able to run the script) – httpbl_log.sql – with the information I needed to create the database table

CREATE TABLE `wp_httpbl_log` (
`id` INT( 6 ) NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY ,
`ip` VARCHAR( 16 ) NOT NULL DEFAULT ‘unknown’ ,
`time` DATETIME NOT NULL ,
`user_agent` VARCHAR( 255 ) NOT NULL DEFAULT ‘unknown’ ,
`httpbl_response` VARCHAR( 16 ) NOT NULL ,
`blocked` BOOL NOT NULL

from which I was able to glean the six field identifiers (id, ip, time, user_agent, httpbl_response, blocked) for the creation page that popped up next. From the above, I filled in the appropriate field information, and was sure to scroll to the far right to insert all of the field information in the form, especially the PRIMARY KEY identifier.

When I viewed the actual code for the routine I created, I saw that it added at the bottom of the routine, TYPE = MYISAM ; After comparing it to the existing database table types, I saw that it was correct for the type of database I had just created.

Upon completion, a new table (The table is working. I checked later in the day and found data written to the table. Success!) was inserted into my WordPress database.

That was simple, wasn’t it?

WordPressWorld

Update: July 2008 – The most recent plugin update broke, so I’m removing it completely.

The WordPressWorld never ceases to amaze me. This diversity – which I expected, of course – has come up with so many methods to assist WordPress users that their number is uncountable. Just when I think I’ve seen everything, something new comes along that isn’t really new at all – it’s been around for a year or more, and I just haven’t seen it.

I’m talking about a “new” plugin I just discovered for placing footnotes at the bottom of a page.

Better yet, go here (link removed) to get the plugin from WordPress.

Backup boredom

Yesterday morning/afternoon I lost my WP database. Completely. Entirely. In total. Everything gone! Fortunately, because I’m such a computer expert dumbass, I learned to always make a backup. I know. I know. Nobody makes backups. Well, I do. Do ya think maybe that in the past I’ve had similar disasters, perhaps of greater magnitude? Yup! And I learned my lesson a long, long time ago.

Thankfully, the good man at Il Filosofo has a plugin that he is managing for just such a purpose. I had it installed, and it was emailing me the backups on a weekly basis. Yes, that’s right, you can schedule backups weekly, daily or hourly, via email, server save, or direct download

After a phone call to lunarpages.com I was back up and running with a re-install of my WP database. Only one post was missing – yesterday’s – which I replaced. Thank you, lunarpages for your fantastic customer service. The entire fiasco lasted only an hour or so, no big deal time-wise.

Following my restore, I immediately set my backup schedule to daily. You may call me silly paranoid if you wish.

Consequently, I’ve been doing some investigating regarding backup plugins, and I’ve discovered another very useful backup routine by GaMerZ called WP-DBManager 2.10 for version 2.1 of WordPress. It puts a Database menu selection on the Dashboard. As of this morning it’s installed and running well. I didn’t even have to tweak it. The interface is simple and easy to understand, and has options for email, download and restore. You can even optimize your database. It does not provide for automatic backups, but that’s all right. I’ll run it in conjunction with the other. In fact, I already have.

I use another plugin from GaMerZ. It’s WP-Ban 1.10. It permits me to ban users by IP or host name and even allows a customized ban message to be displayed to the bad boy (or girl). So far, I’ve not had reason to use it.

As I have discovered, the WordPressWorld is diverse and varied. By means of search engines I’ve been able to discover and make use of a wide variety of plugins to save my ass help me manage this newfound interest. There is an entire net full of themes and plugins to satisfy my every whim.

Thanks to all of you.

Finally – one more time

Loyal readers – of which there are 45 to 50 two or three, thank you very much – will have noticed that I’ve changed the template. I prefer the new look and feel – it’s not quite so boring. The new theme accepts sidebar widgets, and I’ve added anti-spam control, digital fingerprinting (his server is really slow), SpotMilk to clean up the WP dashboard interface, and a banning plug-in, among others.

Feedburner does a great job of tracking blog stats. Thanks, guys, for responding to my now-lost post from yesterday with your suggestion to add a plugin, even though I hadn’t queried you on the subject. I have absolutely no idea how you manage to do it.

Ah yes, the wonder of it all. Whilst attempting to do some blog fancy-dancing this afternoon, I inadvertently deleted my database. Although it’s taken me decades to learn to do regular backups, I had one! and so I’m back up and running. Thanks to lunarpages.com for your ministrations on my behalf.

And now back to regularly scheduled programming…

Transition complete!

I’ve finally finished moving over to WordPress 2.1. The biggest problem was attempting to discover the many routines and stylesheets and how they affect the screen display. Additionally, I wanted to personalize the page and make it mine. That was frustrating too, until I finally searched the net for the appropriate information. It’s out there, one just has to find it.

In the long run, I think this will be a much better platform for posting. It appears to be more straightforward, has better backup facilities, and is easier to host on my own site. There is much more control afforded to the geek in me.

Now all I have to do is learn the software, and by ‘learn the software’ I mean learn how to customize the page displays and make it mine.