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Posted on Monday, September 5th, 2005

Dave!Well that was a big bucket of non-stop fun.

I just upgraded Movable Type to version 3.2, which is the blogging software that runs this site. To put it bluntly, the upgrade process sucks ass. After spending hours on two crash-and-burn installs (thank the maker for backups!), I was about to give up. But then I read some forum commentary about NOT upgrading the installation, but instead creating a NEW installation in a NEW folder.

Piece of cake.

How incredibly stupid that SixApart doesn't have this bit of wisdom in their docs, because it would have saved me a lot of wasted time. For anybody wanting to "upgrade" to MT 3.2, here's what worked for me...

  1. BACKUP YOUR FILES! It is particularly important that you backup your MT database if you use one. I am not joking here... if I hadn't backed up my stuff, Blogography would be totally hosed right now. Don't even think about skipping this step.
  2. Create a brand new folder and upload all the MT 3.2 files to it. Don't forget to adjust permissions of the CGI scripts as listed in the docs!
  3. Copy over your unique plug-ins, skipping the included plug-ins (like "nofollow") which have all been upgraded. MT-Blacklist is no longer used, so don't worry about that one. Also, if you have customized search templates, don't forget to copy them to the new install as well.
  4. Rename the "mt-config.cgi-original" configuration file to "mt-config.cgi" and then make all necessary changes so that your settings are correct. Refer to your original, if needed, and note that if you are using a database you have to add the password here now.
  5. Go to the new URL of the "mt.cgi" file with your web browser, then wait for MT to upgrade your old installation. If you use blogging software (like the brilliant "ecto"), be sure to edit the path to reflect the new location.
  6. After a successful upgrade, be sure to change the permissions of the "mt-config.cgi" and "mt-upgrade.cgi" files so that they are not executable (644).
  7. Do an archive back-up of your original MT installation, then delete it. Test everything on the new install thoroughly. If you forgot something, you can always go back to that archive. Some MT users are even suggesting leaving the old install intact, but just stripping permissions from the scripts... whatever works for you.

I have no idea why I couldn't get an overwrite-upgrade to work, yet a new installation performs flawlessly. It's strange to think about how close I was to switching to WordPress or B2Evolution... I had downloaded both packages and was ready to get started when I thought to visit the MT forums and find a solution that worked. In the end, I'm somewhat furious that the above method isn't the one given in the MT docs, because it was so incredibly painless, quick, and easy.

As for MT 3.2 itself... well, there's not much I can comment on yet. I upgraded not because there were new features I was dying to have, but because I like to stay current. A few things I've noticed...

  • The Creative Commons license badge selection finally works now, allowing me to display the revised and updated badge on my pages.
  • Comments and TrackBacks are now moderated much better. You have the option of filtering to only "unpublished" items, which is sweet... I found out I had three comments that I never published!
  • The working interface of the system is much more informative. This eliminates "digging" to find info you need, since more stuff is displayed up-front.
  • There's new template tags that I am very excited about, because they will simplify things and allow me to eliminate a few plug-ins. Of course, now I will have to find the time to study the docs and actually create the templates, but at least they're there when I'm ready.

Still no way that I can find to perform bulk-actions on entries and comments and such. I would like to disable TrackBacks on every entry, but the idea of manually opening 1000 entries and disabling them is lame. There's probably a plug-in or script for this, so I'll have to check.

UPDATE: Well, well, well... there is an option to disable all comments or all TrackBacks (or both) in the "System-Wide Settings" panel. Very cool.

And now that I'm back home, it's time to answer email and get caught up with the world...


Categories: Blogging 2005Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. JoeBruin88 says:

    You’re not tired of Movable Type yet?

  2. Patrick says:

    Nice to come home from a trip and get down and dirty with MT, ‘ey? :)

    Disabling trackback is probably easiest directly against the database with phpmyadmin or similar.

  3. Dave2 says:

    In some ways, I am very tired of Movable Type. But considering that all my templates are already formatted for MT… better the devil you know.

    I find SQL commands scary, but I hadn’t thought of phpmyadmin, which is a part of my hosting package, so that’s an option, thanks!

  4. Sorry, you had such problems. I did two MT 3.2 upgrades last week (both on completely different servers, 1and1/textdrive) and both went painlessly and quickly.

    The painful part was getting ready. The options they have to backup stink and the docs talk you through some myPHPadmin stuff, but I don’t understand why the software doesn’t do it for you (MT definitely misses some of those finished touches). If I wanted to do junk like that, I’d just hand code my site.

    I didn’t remove MT blacklist. For one, I was afraid to (it stops 200-500 a day). And the documentation doesn’t work (it says placeholder page) for SpamLookUp so there isn’t much go on (and all the lists seem to be empty). And everything I’ve read seems to support that SpamLookUp is a resource hog. So I’m going to let MTBlacklist get the bulk of it first and see what happens. The next time it force moderates a hundred or so I may change my mind (but they’ve made it a hundred times easier to moderate those now). Besides, I was afraid to…

    The other thing MT misses is documentation and labels. They’ve got it, but there is always stuff that’s a little off. When I download the upgrade version, the folder and files should be labeled “upgrade” and there should be something in the folder so if you’re not 100%, you will be when you see these “cues” The docs always have great information, but it’s sometimes very hard to find it. When I’m on the “trackback page” of MT and hit help, it’s should take me to the trackback section (not the front page). Once you find the right page, it’s generally pretty good.

    And the order of the instructions is weird (i.e. bad), in the upgrade instructions “backing up” is last. “Upgrading” is after “configuring” and refers you back 6 sections to “installation” saying it’s the same.

    It’s also very hard (and has been for several versions) to tell what version of the software the documentation is for.

    I think trackbacks are great, I wish people utilized them more (other than the spammers). My one feature in regards to spam blocking (speaking of blacklist) is something that just keeps track of the last 20 or so domains posted in comments/trackbacks and if you see the same one show up more than X times, then start blocking/junking it.

  5. Dave2 says:

    I find the MT docs to be abysmally bad. Within them they have bad links EVERYWHERE! The tag reference section is the worst, as they don’t even provide sample usage. I know they’re marked as “beta” but how hard is it to check links?

  6. ssp says:

    As I’ve suffered through such problems as well, let me ask whether you also had the ‘vanishing comments’ problem in your failed upgrade attempts.

    I had to revert to 3.1x to get my comments back…

  7. Dave2 says:

    Nope, didn’t run across that problem. The only problem I had with comments is the inability to manage commenters in any form… you are supposed to be able to mark certain commenters as “trusted” but nothing I do will make this happen. And since you can’t manually add them, I’m screwed there as well.

    And then there’s the problem with comment rejection.

    And tag nesting.

    And category assignment.

    And a half-dozen other minor issues that I’m not sure what to do about. I’m sure I’ll get it all figured out eventually, but this is not how I want to spend my time, and the docs are pretty horrible… the only way I can understand anything is to dissect the sample templates.

  8. ssp says:

    Thanks for the info… keeps me from wasting even more time with that.

  9. delmer says:

    I have installed WordPress several times and have found it to be a painless process. I went so far as to send the developer a donation even though I never seriously made use of the software.

    MovableType was a little trickier and I’ve been putting off the upgrade.

    Thanks for the tips.

  10. Neil T. says:

    My ‘upgrade’ was also in a fresh folder so that I could roll back to an old version if it went titsup. I still have it actually… should probably get rid of it at some point…

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