Upgrading to WordPress 2.5 and Switching E-mail Services

I'm ashamed to admit that our website is powered by really ancient software. WordPress 2.1.3 was released way back when we did our server move about a year ago and it has kept our site chugging along ever since. Recently, WordPress 2.5 was released along with some news: if you don't upgrade, Technorati may remove you from their listings. Yikes! Given the severity of this threat, I figured that it was time to start updating the aging infrastructure of our website.

Certainly the biggest headaches involved in any new version of WordPress are theme and pluigin incompatibilities. The jump from 2.0.4 to 2.1.3 required us to find a new theme and upgrade almost all of our plugins to boot. The jump from 2.1.3 to 2.5 will require upgrading most of our plugins with some uncertainty as to how some of them will behave once the dust settles. I took advantage of this time to clean out a few we no longer used and caught a few potential compatibility issues. (I owe a big thanks to the excellent Upgrade Preflight plugin for making some recommendations.)

What does this mean for you? Not a lot… except for those of you still getting e-mail updates. If you've been getting e-mail updates from our site when we post new stuff, you'll need to re-subscribe with FeedBurner as soon as possible (the box is on the right) to continue to receive them. Why? Because, quite honestly, Subscribe2 hasn't really been fitting the bill. While using it over at FreeUTOPIA, I got reports of unsubscribe requests not being honored, duplicate or even triplicate deliver, strange formatting issues… a lot of stuff that I really didn't have the time to fix. The newest version of Subscribe2 comes with a bunch of reports of bugs that I'm not going to deal with either. FeedBurner is a proven service with reliable delivery that consumes exactly zero server resources and causes no problems with spam filters.

If you don't switch over within about a week or so, I'll send out a reminder e-mail before I flip the swtich and send Subscribe2 into retirement. As part of the change, update e-mails will go out only once a day instead of each time we post; FeedBurner doesn't support any other kind of delivery frequency. This would be a great time to think about signing up for an RSS reader like Bloglines or Google Reader to keep track of what we're up to as we post it.

So why not switch the feeds to FeedBurner? Because you lose a vital part of WordPress' feed capabilities: feeds by category. I tried to use a plugin to emulate this functionality, but it didn't work right and would have required that I build a whopping 33 feeds, one for each category plus a main feed. Hopefully FeedBurner can think about adding this kind of functionality into their core.

So what about you, fellow WordPress users? Have you taken the plunge to 2.5 yet? Are you embarrassed to admit how old your version of WordPress really is? (It can't be worse than TimesandSeasons.org: they're still on 1.5.2!) Gimme some feedback.

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7 Responses to Upgrading to WordPress 2.5 and Switching E-mail Services

  1. Jeremy says:

    I’m on 2.2.1. I have very few plug-ins so my WordPress upgrades tend to be relatively headache free but for some reason I still put them off.

    I’d be interested to hear how your upgrade goes.

  2. David says:

    I’m on 2.2.2 and I’d like to keep it that way for the nice number.

    Actually, I want to move to 2.5 but I want to build a plugin that will take advantage of the tagging that was added as of version 2.3 to replace the related posts plugin I currently use. I will need to convert my “keywords” for that plugin into tags and then write the equation to determine relatedness (I’m not always thrilled with the results of the one in the plugin I’m using now).

    So I’m making my own headaches which are delaying my upgrade.

  3. Jesse says:

    The related posts plugin we currently use has been… inconsistent at best. (This is why I refer to them as potentially related posts.) Maybe as a part of this upgrade I should take advantage of the new tags to produce better results, not to mention finding a better related posts plugin.

  4. David says:

    What plugin have you been using?

    For your move to 2.5 you could consider the one I’m building (hint, hint).

  5. Jesse says:

    It’s from w-a-s-a-b-i.com and the site has disappeared from the web since I installed it. The reason it’s not all that great is because it only uses the post slug when finding related posts, not the best option. There’s a successor out there that uses the full text of the post, but I haven’t taken the time to mess with it.

  6. David says:

    I have seen the plugin that uses the full text. Maybe it’s just me, but I found that the relationships it found could be skewed by the mood I was in when I wrote the post (I express myself differently when I’m frustrated than when I’m bored for example) so I chose a plugin that I had some control over because it would determine relationship based on keywords that I would set for the post. My plugin will use tags rather than keywords, and it will weight the tag connections based on how much the different tags are used. The plugin I have been using considers all connections to be equal and seems to favor recent posts over older posts so older related posts often remain hidden in the archives.

  7. David says:

    I finally posted my new Similarity plugin at http://www.davidjmiller.org/similarity/. You can feel free to try it out. I will be using it when I convert to 2.5 (after I build the script to convert my keywords to tags).

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