I am a freelance website designer/developer, and a WordPress developer and end user. While I have not written any plugins or designed any themes from the ground up, I have modified and tweaked some to my liking. I feel fairly comfortable and confident editing the code in the WordPress functions.php, template files, and plugin files to make them behave the way I’d like.
Most of the sites I work on are for small businesses and local organizations. Not only do I create the initial design and build the website, I also do the routine maintenance and updating. The websites are typically built with child themes based on the WP 2010 or 2012 themes, and I am eager to explore 2013. (I totally missed 2011 — by the time I got a good handle on child themes using 2010, 2012 was out!) My clients mostly want to “set it and forget it,” so when a major update to WordPress is rolled out, my goal is as little downtime and as smooth (transparent) a transition as possible.
I’m happy to report that it went so smoothly, most clients probably had no idea there was any change, except for the note I sent to each telling them I had made the updates and asking them to inform me if they noticed any glitches, hiccups or wonks that I may have missed in my testing. So far, there have been no reports of anything broken or not working.
My process for implementing the update is pretty standard:
- BACK UP! I use iThemes BackUpBuddy for regular backups of the database and full site (on most sites). I will use Backup to DropBox or BackWPUp on occasion. I check the status, and if there is not a current full site backup (within the week), I run a manual backup.
- Update all plugins (except for NextGEN 2.0, but that’s another post), then deactivate all plugins.
- Run the update to 3.6.
- Reactivate plugins and test to see that each is functioning properly and as expected.
With my own site, I reactivated plugins one at a time. Since I use a similar set of plugins on most sites, once I was confident the “core set” worked without problems, I could reactivate several at once on client sites and just go more slowly with the plugins unique to each.
I updated several sites on August 2 and have had zero issues reported to date, either from my end or from the client end. Plugins used on the updated sites include:
- All in One SEO
- Backup Buddy *
- Bad Behavior
- Carousel *
- Limit Login Attempts
- Simple Google Analytics
- Tailored Login *
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox
* iThemes Developer Bundle plugin
My testbed site is a Multisite install, and that upgrade to 3.6 went smoothly as well. I have not yet taken the plunge to upgrade the client site(s) I have on a Multisite, though it’s likely I will be doing that soon if I hear nothing from my own clients or from others about issues. Then again, that might be one site I put off upgrading until 3.6.1 is out.
Overall, the transition to 3.6 was as simple as any other update. The changes will benefit me, primarily, as I work in the admin area and with the new 2013 theme. The two new features I see myself using the most are the improved version control and media embedding.
The version control interface is pretty slick, easy to use and understand. I can see this quickly becoming indispensable! Media embedding promises to make adding video and audio enhancements as easy as writing a post and adding a URL—no plugins needed! It’s incredibly simple and effective.
I look forward to building my first child theme using 2013, and working with 3.6 in depth in the days and weeks ahead.
Sue Laren is a freelance website designer/developer living in the SF Bay Area (North Bay), married 33 years, with four grown children and two grandchildren. She taught computer lab (basic computer skills) at a local elementary school for many years, and in 2007 started her own web design business, Laren Net Works. Follow her on Twitter at @LarenNetWorks.