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WordPress 3.0 – Monk said it straight

When I was in college, I had the opportunity to hear Al Young read from his book, Something about the blues: an unlikely collection of poetry. All my life, I’d only heard Thelonious Monk (middle name Sphere) as instrumental. And Al just read his poetry with a nice beat and no ‘singing’ and suddenly I realized how art was ever evolving and transforming and taking old and putting new on it.

Which is probably a strange thought to carry in when I tell you I’m going to be talking about the latest WordPress release.

WordPress itself is a derivative piece of art. In a way, it’s both the hep, free jazz spirit from which its releases are named, and it’s the pop music Lady Gaga of the masses. WordPress says ‘Code is poetry’, and they live up to that, by encouraging open source development to the point that even my name is listed as a contributor this time around (search for ‘Ipstenu’ and you’ll see me).

Don’t get me wrong, WordPress has problems that make me tear my hair out. They really don’t have a good way to manage users, or comments. You can’t easily ban someone, and anyone can spoof anyone else in a comment. But. This is where the beauty comes in. Anyone can learn to write a plugin that does what they want (sure it’s hard, but that’s how you learn), or you can suggest a plugin that someone else says ‘Hey, wait, I can do that!’ That’s how I got started.

So WordPress 3.0 came out on June 17th, just 20 days after WordPress turned 5. I’ve been using it for a long time (since 1.5, give or take), and WordPress and I share a birthday, so I’ve always had a bit of love for it. As soon as the new version was released, I upgraded and went to the forums to see if I could help people out. Turns out there are some pretty common errors, so here’s the ‘How to fix a broken 3.0 upgrade’ routine.

Before you upgrade

Make a backup of your files AND database. You’ve been warned. If you’re using a lot of plugins, you may want to disable them. There are a few that have known issues with 3.0 (Events Calendar and Podcasting Plugin by TSG to name two). There are fixes out there for some, but check the plugin pages to see if they’re 3.0 compatible before you upgrade. There’s a semi list in the 3.0 Issues, Problems, Resolutions Thread on the support forums.

My upgrade failed!

Upgrade done, now I get a blank page

This is the most annoying error! It can mean so many things and it’s hell to debug.

  1. Delete the folders wp-includes and wp-admin. Then download a fresh copy of the zip file from WordPress.org and copy everything up. Yes, again. A file corruption can cause this.
  2. Rename your plugins folder to plugins-old (via FTP or SSH) and see if that fixes it. If so, make a new plugins folder and copy your plugins back, one at a time, testing between each copy.
  3. Make sure PHP is working at all. Make a page ‘test.php’ and put a simple Hello World script in. GoDaddy’s known to have some issues right now, and this may be that.
  4. Add define('WP_DEBUG', true); to your wp-config.php file. This will at least give you an error. Take that error and google or post it to the WP Support forums.

I upgraded from WPMU

Go read WPMU Tutorials excellent post on the matter.

Where did you get the post title from?/h3>

Well Monk said it straight:
It’s out of town while you wait…
He knew the answer
This town’s a dancer;
So now is the time.
You know you can’t pack up the moment
And take it with you on the road.
So Now is the time.
— From the blues “Get it Straight”, known instrumentally as “Straight, No Chaser”