Yesterday’s release of WordPress version 3.0 came with a ton of great new features. As a developer, I am really excited about some of the new capabilities.
There is no doubt that a lot is changing. In fact, one of the first things you will notice after you update is that even the dashboard is a different color. With all of these changes, I just wanted to mention a few things you should consider before you update your site to the latest version.
First and foremost, MAKE A BACKUP. Hopefully you make regular backups of your site already. But if you don’t, now is definitely the time to start. If you don’t have a backup of your entire site (database and all), you risk losing everything if there is an incompatibility somewhere during the update. There are several backup solutions available. Some are free, some are paid. As with most things, I believe you get what you pay for. Since your website and content are extremely vital, shoot for the stars and get a good backup solution. Personally, I use BackupBuddy. I highly recommend you skip McDonalds for a few days and pony up the measly $45 to ensure you have a great backup.
Ok, you have a backup. That is crucial. The next thing I would look at is plugin compatibility. In 3.0, there was a major change in the way plugins use the automatic update system in WordPress. Because of this, you will want to make sure that all of your plugin authors went in and updated their code to work in the new system. First, check to make sure you are at the latest version of the plugin. Next, find the changelog or history file that tells you what that latest update did. If you plugin author is smart, he informed you there that his code now works with the new updater.
The last thing I recommend you double-check is theme compatibility. I put this after plugins because a lot more changed for plugin authors than for theme authors. Although tons of new features were added that themes could take advantage of, almost all of them are ‘opt-in’ features. For example, the new 3.0 menu system does not appear in your theme automatically. Your theme author would have to write in the code to make the 3.0 menus work. This is a good thing. That means that if your theme author didn’t update for the new menu code, you old menu will still work just fine. The same applies to custom-post-types and the MU merge.
Hopefully, you won’t have any trouble updating your WordPress install to the latest and greatest. I have been using WordPress since version 2.7, and I have to say that 3.0 is by far the greatest version yet. Enjoy.