WordPress Upgrade “Gotchas”

Posted on Thursday 15 May 2008

Oh the joys of upgrades!

As I am sure most of you are aware by now, the software on most computers that you install gets, or should get upgraded every now and then, either by small pieces of software called patches , or by larger pieces called upgrades. WordPress ( software upon which this blog operates ) is now exception.

Unfortunately, as I am sure most of you are aware of by now, one companies upgrade or patch can quite often affect ( or even break ) another companies software, especially if they are related or dependent upon each other. Anyone who has upgraded their Microsoft Windows has probably experienced this from time to time. Well, WordPress is no different…

WordPress has actually been upgraded 2-3 times this last month, and while I noticed some oddities, nothing jumped out at me, that there was a problem… which is unfortunate… because there was one.

I manage several blogs and the one thing that I did find irritating was that a great “advanced” editor plugin for WordPress called  “Super Edit” no longer gave me or any of the other blogs that I managed, the flexibility or tools that I used to have. So this morning I decided to investigate further and found that with the latest release of WordPress “Super Edit” actually no longer works! They are working on a newer version, but until then I and my clients will have to do without – ouch!

While reviewing one of the other blogs I noticed that there was an article which I wanted to respond to, but when I tried I found that the anti-spam software that I had originally installed on their site ( which by the way is the same software as on this site ) was no longer working properly AND I could not post a response – which of course no one here could post comments either – BIG OUCH!

I further discovered that although there was indeed an upgrade for the anti-spam software, it still did not work properly on any of the blogs that I managed. So I went in search of a replacement – and thankfully found one quickly.

The package is called yaCAPTCHA which stands for “Yet Another Captcha program.” The Captcha program/concept essentially pops up a little graphic window of letters and numbers (so that an automated computer spammer cannot read it ) which you then type into the authorization window which will allow you to post your comment. It is sometimes referred to as a “challenge-response” test.

It worked great on all the blogs that I was managing except for this one. For this one I actually had to change the code ( programming ) to allow the software to work. So you will find, if you have commented before, that the comment entry page looks slightly different. Also, unfortunately, if you mistype your validation code your entry will be entirely deleted! So do please be careful typing it in.

Anecdotally, it took about five minutes maximum between the time that I turned off the old anti-spam software and installed and turned on the new yaCAPTCHA anti-spam software. In that short window of time, I was hit by no less than two spammers trying to post garbage on this site! Scary!

I do apologize for any problems that the broken code ( programming )may have caused those who did try to respond to any of my postings – I obviously will be checking and testing my upgrades a little closer in future. And making sure that the anti-spam software is still turned on and working as well….

Till next time!

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