Note: I started this post almost three weeks ago (how time flies).

I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my technical blog to WordPress 2.3 from 2.2.3.  One of the main reasons I wanted to move was for the better term support.  Specifically, WP 2.3 categories its terms so that you can more easily tell what categories are for posts vs. links.  I also wanted the ability to assign tags to my posts without blowing out my category hierarchy.

This article will primarily touch on categories/tags/terms and backup plugins.

Backing Up

Before upgrading to any new version, particularly one that modifies the database structure (i.e. schema), backing up your data is a critical step to take, just in case something goes wrong.  There are three backup plugins I tried out with varying degrees of success.

Each has its own benefits and each has its own flaws.  I ended up using WordPress Database Backup (v2.1.3) because it actually worked for me (the backup part, I mean) and restoring works well through phpMyAdmin.  The other two had various failures which you can read about in their respective reviews (yet to come).  I have to admit to being disappointed that the other two didn’t work for me as they both have some very compelling features.

Because WordPress Database Backup only backs up the database, I had to backup the files separately.  Fortunately I have access to the server (running Windows Server 2003) and building a compressed file is a snap using the built-in support in Windows Explorer.

I just read Roland Rust’s post about upgrading to v2.3.1 and using SVN.  Eventually I think I need to set that up.

Terms

One of the benefits I was looking for was to be able to separate my terms between categories and links.  This part of the upgrade was flawless.

Another benefit I was looking for was to be able to add tags to my posts.  There is an automated conversion utility built-in which is pretty nice, but even with that, there are some flaws in the whole terms feature of WordPress 2.3.

  • When you convert categories to terms, the category is removed from the post.  Nothing is done to handle the case where the post has no category.  This really should be fixed so that it is assigned to the default category.
  • Categories and tags share the same namespace.  That means if you want to use the same phrase for both a category and a tag, they share the same case.  I found this out because I wanted to have a “Movies” category and a “movies” tag.  Guess what?  You can’t.  Since I want to use sentence casing for my categories, I must decide to either not use those same phrases as tags or to use the same capitalization for both tags and categories.  This is probably not a bad decision to make, but it would be nice if the namespaces were independent.
  • There is no way to change the case of a tag once it has been created without editing the database directly.  This could be solved by having with tag management UI.

Overall I’m really quite happy with v2.3.  Of course, I’m still quite new at the whole WordPress game.