About a month ago, all the admin sides of all WordPress sites I manage started displaying notices that WordPress 3.0 was available, please upgrade. I keep each site automatically backing up its own database, so I ploughed ahead, confident I could fix anything that could go wrong, even if I had to rebuild it from scratch. (No, I didn’t really want to rebuild anything from scratch.) Out of the first 5, 3 went really smoothly, but 2 of them did not. Oh no!! Something went “horribly” wrong, and not only were the sites’ front pages displaying completely blank slates, but so were their admin login pages. I couldn’t even login to fix them.
Hmmmm…. I scratched my head for a few hours. Visited some forums, including WordPress.org’s own forum, and people were definitely posting the problem. But nobody was giving any helpful information. In fact, I saw some serious blind leading the blind, and one poor bloke got talked into deleting his whole web site AND disgarding his database (OW!), and starting all over, trashing hundreds of articles. I was dumbfounded at that, but not that dumb.
So, even though it was a known issue, there was no known “fix” for it, because it is actually a “feature” of the php language WordPress is written in! Yup. If the code somehow gets cross threaded and the web server can’t decide exactly what to display — you get a blank slate. And it’s not just WordPress. It’s Joomla, Drupal, and any other content management system that is written in php.
So I stepped through and treated it as if I’d been hacked, and using ordinary FTP, stepped backwards one step to the previous version of WordPress, by replacing my 3.0 code with a clean copy of the 2.9 code. Amazingly, no luck! Well, it had to be in the plugins then, so using FTP, I simply renamed the plugins directory so WordPress would assume there were no plugins that day. Voila. I could see the admin login page
Now the next step was to go through the plugins one by one, and replace them with fresh code. Well, what did you know – some of them are no longer available from WordPress. They must have been no longer compatible with the most recent version of WordPress, and got “retired”. One by one I replaced each plugin with its most modern self, or a replacement for it (since WordPress offers 4000 plugins anyway). I finally realized what the two sites that had failed had in common — In both of them, I had replaced the ordinary “TinyMCE” post editor that comes with WordPress, with the FCK-editor plugin, which enabled some special purpose I’d needed those days. Ah well. Found it’s now called CK-editor, continued updating the rest of the plugins, and all is well.
Now barely a month later, all my web sites are now prompting me to “upgrade to 3.1″
Naaaah. I think I’ll wait a couple more weeks, and not be so out on the bleeding edge front that even the forums are lost.