[wp-hackers] Plugin Authors: Major Plugin Upgrade Question

Eric Mann eric at eam.me
Mon Apr 9 18:06:56 UTC 2012

I've gone through this same issue with some of my own systems - the 1.x
data system was different enough from the 2.x system that they were

Ideally, you would include some kind of auto-update script with the plugin.
 Perhaps export your data to a flatfile and then reimport it (so you could
resume if something times out in the process).  But if there is a lot of
manual intervention required, I would recommend creating a new plugin and
referring people to it.

Just know that if you do create a new plugin ... existing users will never
see an update notice.  Most people skip reading the readme anyway, so
you're likely to lose customers in the transition.

On Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 9:47 AM, Scott Kingsley Clark <scott at skcdev.com>wrote:

> I've got a pretty beefy question for plugin authors. I'm getting ready
> to release a major new version of one of my plugins, but really don't
> know how to handle the upgrade as I've never attempted anything of
> this scale for any of my plugins in the past.
> There's a lot of DB changes, a big codebase change (refactor), etc..
> Do I submit a new plugin to WP.org, update my old plugin readme.txt to
> tell users to check out the new version, that way they can install/
> activate and run the upgrade script that is required? (has to be run
> by hand, as the upgrade could potentially fail if just run
> automatically for really really large sites using this plugin (server
> config issues like timeouts etc)
> Or how should I handle the upgrade? Do I try to figure out some
> complex workaround to keep sites functional up until the upgrade
> script is run (once they've upgraded to the new major version)?
> Also -- if I do the plugin release in-place (like a normal plugin
> update would be), how do I communicate to users that an upgrade script
> needs to be run, to backup their DBs before upgrading in WP itself
> (the plugin updater), etc..? How do I handle this for future 2.x
> releases, for users who didn't have time to update to 2.0? Do I keep
> that text in the upgrade notices forever?
> Any tips are appreciated, I want to be sure I'm thinking about all my
> options and so far it seems like I must be overlooking something.
> Users are #1 here, so I don't want to do anything that would disrupt
> their site.
> -Scott
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