[wp-hackers] Making Updates Friendlier?

James Bisset lists at mediachrome.com
Tue Sep 8 21:07:46 UTC 2009

All my Wordpress installs now use this directory structure:


This makes updates and backups on shared hosting a doddle, including  
systems with no SSH access, no CP, or reduced PHP privileges blocking  

But I can guarantee that I'll have at least two plugins in each  
install which have had to be hacked to understand the 'unconventional'  
directory structure, although it is legitimate and supported by  

So I update Wordpress core, but now I need to update the plugins. Do I  
need to hack the plugins all over again? Which ones did I hack? How  
many lines did I change?* What's different in the new plugin? And some  
plugins will have a style dir or other custom content inside the  
plugin dir, and suddenly my pain free upgrade for multiple sites isn't  
looking so straightforward.

So, for me, good documentation for plugin developers on how to address  
wp-content and wp-config.php - wherever they are - including sample  
code or drop-in function is essential. You wouldn't believe the  
variety of startling solutions folks are coming up with in its absence.

Oh, and some strongly worded advice about the benefits of storing  
custom plugin data outside the plugin dir too.

*Yes, I realise I ought to keep changelogs of my own for every site -  
I'm trying.

On 8 Sep 2009, at 21:03, Dougal Campbell wrote:

> On a tangential note, a lot of people complain that occassionally  
> WordPress upgrades "break plugins". I've pointed out before that  
> typically, this is because the plugin author has taken a shortcut  
> somewhere, and is mucking around with WP internals, instead of using  
> an established API function which insulates them from changes in the  
> guts of WP. But it's hard to get end-users to see it that way. From  
> their perspective, it's simple: the plugin worked before the  
> upgrade, and it was broken after. Therefore, the WP upgrade "broke"  
> the plugin. You'll probably never convince them to look at it any  
> other way. But I have to wonder if we can't try...something. I'm not  
> sure what. But since this seems to be a large source of the FUD  
> concerning upgrades, it certainly seems worth discussing it and  
> kicking around some ideas on how to address it.
> [1] http://www.wptavern.com/security-this-security-that#comment-3613
> -- 
> Dougal Campbell <dougal at gunters.org>
> http://dougal.gunters.org/
> http://twitter.com/dougal
> http://twitual.com/
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