WordPress 2.0

January 24th, 2006

If you’re reading this, then the upgrade to WordPress 2.0 worked.

Of course it worked! Those guys (and gals?) are flippin’ brilliant. I had been putting off doing the upgrade because I’m busy, and it’s always daunting to deal with upgrading web packages. Migrating database formats, making sure plugins still work, etc., etc. Well, I’m not saying that WordPress users never face those problems, but the WP install/upgrade process is so easy and surprisingly error-free … it’s like using a Mac!

I literally just renamed my old blog directory “blog.bak”, dropped in the new WordPress 2.0 folder, copied my tweaker plugins and theme over, and went to the WordPress “upgrade.php” URL.

I especially like how the upgrade.php page says (perhaps as homage to a famous iMac commercial) “There’s actually only one step. So if you see this, you’re done. Have fun!”

In my opinion projects like WordPress represent the best hope for the future of open source, free software. You go, WordPress! I wish I still lived in the Mission so I could buy them a beer at their next party.

You’re probably scratching your head and wondering what the heck the big deal is. Everything on this blog looks exactly the same. That’s the big deal. I totally pulled the rug out from under my blog and replaced it with astroturf, but nothing fell apart. The advantages to me behind the scenes are enormous, though. The “administrative” interface is much improved, with some “ajaxy” stuff, and general polish around the edges. Apparently the plugin format is greatly re-architected for the promise of even better plugins down the road. They even started including a comment-spam filter plugin by default. Let’s hope it works better than my previous solutions. I’m so sick of seeing the word “phentermine” pop up in my comment moderation queue (though I recently figured out I could add it to a WordPress blacklist – so don’t mention it in your comment here or else it will meet an instant death).

One of the things I plan to pursue with my shiny new WordPress installation is some kind of mechanism where I can add “non-essential” feeds to my existing primary RSS. It’s easy for me to expose a feed for just one category, but I don’t know yet how to expose a feed for a single category *and* keep that category out of the mainline feed. For example, I’d like to start something akin to Daring Fireball’s Linked List, but am not interested in pushing those perhaps frivolous and frequent “entries” out to all the kind subscribers of my main blog. Similarly, I often get the urge to post LazyWeb entries, but don’t want to soil my relationship with any borderline subscribers :) It would be great if I could offer a separate feed so people who would love to make my day by answering a question would have something to read!

On the subject of feeds, Eric Albert of Out of Cheese recently asked me if there was a method of subscribing to all of the comments made to the blog. He observed that my increasingly sophisticated readership manages to inject some pretty interesting information “below the fold” on some of my entries. While each entry offers a link for subscribing to that particular entry’s comments, I had never noticed a method for subscribing to the whole kit and caboodle. But I noticed on WordPress’s administrative interface, that it showed me a running tally of just such a thing. A little research discovered a variation on the RSS URL that does just that. I was pleased to see that it continues to work as expected in WordPress 2.0. I realized during this examination that I didn’t previously list the basic “subscribe” link anywhere on the page. For those unlucky enough to be running a browser that doesn’t put a big obvious “RSS” button in your address bar, that might come in handy. So I’m adding two links to the main sidebar: one for the blog, and one for the comments. I’ve said it before: my readers make this place worth coming back to. I love the interplay between “really smart people” that takes place after I’ve left the building. Hopefully by subscribing to the comments feed, you’ll be able that much more likely to notice when you have something valuable to contribute.

Update: One of the things I’ve been unhappy with for some time is the “permalink format” for my blog entries. It used to be something like:

http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=68

Pretty darned meaningless to any human. But with WordPress’s customizable permalink formatting, I was able to easily change it to the following:

http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/68/kids-in-the-park

I think the new structure does a good job of being guaranteed unique (the numeric part) while also offering the human-readable slug, all without getting too insanely long.

The best news of all? The old format still works, so all the existing links out there resolve as expected to the original post. If any other WordPress users like the format I’ve adopted, it’s easy to set up. Just enter this as your custom permalink structure format: “/%post_id%/%postname%”.

Update 2: The end of the honeymoon? After being perplexed by the permanent loss of significant and important attributes of my <div>, <img> and <ul> tags after uploading from MarsEdit, I learned that a WordPress 2.0 bug was the culprit. Thanks Gus for pointing me to Bill Bumgarner’s writeup, now a few weeks old! I even subscribe to his blog, but must have glossed over it since it wasn’t pertinent to me at that time. Fortunately, it looks like the core problem has been addressed by WP and is being slated for the 2.0.1 update. Until then, I’ll just be really careful what I post through the XMLRPC interface!

Update 3: I just updated to the 2.0.1 release of WordPress and, as promised, it seems to address the XMLRPC problem. I was able to sync and republish the originally problematic post with MarsEdit and didn’t lose any information! I’m glad the space of time between my becoming exposed to this problem and the release of a fix was very short.

9 Responses to “WordPress 2.0”

  1. charles Says:

    From one of your subscribers…

    Found this at the bottom of the page:

    Fatal error: Call to undefined function: wp_joe_visitors() in /usr/web/www.red-sweater.com/www/blog/wp-content/themes/redsweater/footer.php on line 5

    oups… ;-)

  2. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    D’oh! Just like to point out quickly and clearly that it was not a WordPress 2.0 upgrade issue. It took me going in and deciding to disable some of my old plugins to get that problem to show up :) Fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. charles Says:

    wow, that was fast!

  4. Matt Says:

    I was inspired by your post to also do the 2.0 upgrade. That was indeed easy! :-)

    Regarding the permalink format: I’m using “/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%”, which I think I really useful. It means the URL contains both the year and month of the post, an easy-reference convenience.

  5. Shaun Says:

    Cool. I just upgraded to MT 3.2 and was similarly impressed with how seamless the process was. I jumped into MT fairly early and don’t want to learn something new, though I keep looking wistfully over at WordPress and Textpattern. Maybe someday….

  6. sjk Says:

    Have you considered adding comment previewing here? See Tim Gaden’s Hawk Wings blog for an example.

  7. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Shaun: It seems that we may always be destined to look at the “grass is greener” options. I just learned that MT supports “multi-blogging,” which is something I could really use for some ideas I have for adding posts to this blog while keeping the focus for the main feed.

    sjk: The comment-previewing is pretty cool. I’ll look into that!

  8. sjk Says:

    Thanks, Daniel!

    For reasons that still elude me, I’m disappointed that the WordPress developers have continued their tradition of not bundling some form of comment previewing with the generic distribution. Seems such an obvious feature to include so more sites might start using it. I can’t be the only one who’s uncomfortable posting marked-up comments on WP blogs without previewing them first to make sure they’ll display as intended. And blogs often don’t specify which markup, if any, is supported.

    Or maybe I’ve missed some “secret” method of comment previewing other people are using to work around a blog’s lack of it? Any ideas are appreciated.

    Hopefully the wordpress.com folks notice and act on my suggestion to make comment previewing available for blogs hosted there since that’s where I started helping my wife set up one earlier today.

  9. Red Sweater Blog » Blog Archive » Live Preview or Die Says:

    [...] Taking a hint from sjk in a previous comment on this blog, I have added a “live comment preview” functionality, exactly like the one being used on Hawk Wings. [...]

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