WordPress 2.5 notes from the field

It’s been a few weeks since I upgraded to WordPress 2.5 and whilst the upgrade went well it hasn’t been all plain sailing.

New and changed

Manage files removed

The Manage > Files administration function has been silently removed despite still appearing in the on-line documentation.

If you don’t have FTP access this was the only way to modify your .htaccess and other important files without installing additional software. I can understand such a powerful function could be abused but an option to turn it back on or even a warning about its removal in the upgrade notes/read-me would have been useful.

Hopefully somebody will repackage the old functionality into a plug-in.

New look administration

I’m not sold on the new administration theme look but Dean J Robinson has crafted a plug-in called Fluency that refines the styling.

Generally usability in the administration user interface is better, the write post screen makes a lot more sense and the category & tag management is more logical.

Auto update plug-ins

I love this new feature, it shows you when a new version of a plug-in is available and then lets you automatically update. It isn’t without issue however, specifically it:
Screen-shot of WordPress 2.5's automatic plug-in upgrade feature

  1. overwrites modified local versions without warning
  2. may go wrong (it “upgraded” my wp-PostViews to wp-DBManager)
  3. does not provide a roll-back or revert facility

Still it’s a v1 feature and I’m sure it’ll get some refinement in 2.6.

Compatibility

Live search broken (Redoable theme)

The Ajax-enabled live search is broken in Redoable although the normal search works. There have been no signs of an update in quite despite an un-patched HTML injection vulnerability.

Gregarious

This social bookmarking plug-in is broken in 2.5 and the author is too busy to fix it right now and the search for an alternative led me to Joost and his Sociable plug-in.

I’m not 100% happy with the output from Sociable right now but that can wait until my new theme is finished.

Other tweaks

These weren’t caused by the 2.5 upgrade but once you start messing with one thing there’s always that urge to fix other things you know aren’t right.

Google Analytics

Whilst testing my site I found XHTML compliance was broken. It turns out that Joost’s Google Analytics for WordPress incorrectly rewrites the hyperlinks when they parent another element such as an image. Putting on my PHP hacking hat I managed to fix it by editing the plug-in and changing the last line of ga_parse_link to:

return '<a '.$matches[1].'href="'.$matches[2].'//' .$matches[3].'"'.' '.$coolBit.$matches[4].'>'.$matches[5].'</a>';

Subscriber counts

My feed subscriber counts have been bugging me for a while as they jump up and down seemingly at random. In fact, it can be traced down to two things:

  1. If you base it on less than 5 days of activity you’ll get the weekend dip
    Solution: Count 7 days worth of individual subscribers
  2. Google Reader etc. sometimes stop passing the subscriber count from time to time
    Solution: Use single most recent multi-subscriber header for each service/feed in the last 30 days

If you want to do the same you need to edit the Feed Statistics plug-in and change the how_many_subscribers function to:

$q = "SELECT subscribers, CASE WHEN subscribers = 1 THEN identifier ELSE CONCAT(identifier, feed) END AS ident FROM ".$table_prefix."feed_subscribers  WHERE ((subscribers = 1 AND
	date > '".date("Y-m-d H:i:s", time() - (60 * 60 * 24 * get_option("feed_statistics_expiration_days")))."' ) OR 
	(subscribers = 1 AND LOCATE('###',identifier) != 0 AND 
	date > '".date("Y-m-d H:i:s", time() - (60 * 60 * 24 * get_option("feed_statistics_expiration_days") * 3))."' ) OR
	(subscribers > 1 AND date > '".date("Y-m-d H:i:s", time() - (60 * 60 * 24 * 30 * 3))."' ) )
	ORDER BY ident ASC, date DESC";

This should help but it’s not ideal with individual readers counted more than once if they change IP and groups counted as one if they are sharing an IP/NAT.

[)amien

10 responses  

  1. Whilst the removal of the file manager is a little on the annoying side for making changes to the core WordPress files I haven’t yet had to do anything that couldn’t be done with the new Theme Editor, Pludin Editor or the Media Library Manager.

    Plus it means you’re less likely to break things completely until you got to a computer that has FTP access.

    Adrian RitchieApril 18th, 2008
  2. I like the new version – but I have a few complaints. I am a bit used to the ‘Write Post’ page of the old version(category list in the right side rather than at the bottom) – it will take some time for me to get used to that. Another issue I noticed is that I cannot use the flash uploader. I have to disable flash to upload files(using the fallback system).

    Binny V AApril 18th, 2008
  3. @AdrianR: Just wait until you need to edit your .htaccess in a hurry because somebody has linked to you incorrectly and you want to put a 302 redirect in.

    [)amien

    Damien GuardApril 18th, 2008
  4. Since you mentioned it I decided to install it. I think it’s excellent. The administration pages have been updated so much, I much prefer them. I especially like the AJAX style loading for the pages on the main admin page.

    I haven’t had a chance to sift through all the features just yet though.

    KezzerApril 18th, 2008
  5. Binny: I tend to agree with you there. With everything being at the bottom it means I have to scroll down there, I’d rather they were on the right-hand side, especially as I work on my laptop at 1280×800 :)

    KezzerApril 18th, 2008
  6. Hey, I’ve tried to fix the Google Analytics plugin, could you test if the latest version works for you? XHTML compliant and everything? :) Thx!

    Joost de ValkApril 19th, 2008
  7. Is the tag system designed to replace the categories then?

    KezzerApril 19th, 2008
  8. Joost, had some problems with 2.5.2 where comments would not display but I guess you know that and resolved them in 2.5.3 :)

    [)amien

    Damien GuardApril 20th, 2008
  9. I thought so. Nothing to do with WordPress, of course (but given the name of the program, impossible to resist :) ):

    The expression “plane sailing” has, by analogy, taken on a more general meaning of any activity that is relatively straightforward. However, in modern usage, it is often spelt incorrectly as “plain sailing”.

    via Wikipedia.

    robert – April 21st, 2008
  10. The author of that Wikipedia article seems to be confused, they state no source nor has it had sufficient review.

    From Answers.com: “Easy going; straightforward, unobstructed progress. For example, The first few months were difficult, but I think it’s plain sailing from here on. Alluding to navigating waters free of hazards, such as rocks or other obstructions, this term was transferred to other activities in the early 1800s.”

    “Plain sailing” returns 228,000 Google entries, “plane sailing” only 26,700 and the free online dictionary contains references for “plain sailing” that go back to the early 1800′s and no entry whatsoever for “plane sailing”.

    [)amien

    Damien GuardApril 21st, 2008

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