Kicking the Tires of WordPress 2.5

OK, for those of you looking for something more profound, I’m sorry to disappoint. This post is devoid of deep thought. Instead it focuses on the technical side of my portfolio here in Mexico.

Part of what I do here in Mexico deals with maintaining my website, and the website of our Missionary Fellowship. Maintenance has a lot to do with staying current, and when the web management software that you use tends to upgrade every three months, staying current can be a challenge. I use WordPress as the engine that drives what we do at and today, I completed the upgrade process to the brand new version 2.5

Part of my reasoning behind the upgrade is to ensure the security and stability of our website. There are many languishing installs that are currently succumbing to hackers and spammers and losing their status in search engines because of it. Problems like that can hurt non-profits like us who rely on a low-cost web presence to promote their message. It pays to be current.

The other part of my reasoning lies in taking advantage of new features that the software provides. I’m on the lookout constantly for step savers or ways to extend what I offer. I was particularly interested in the WordPress 2.5 gallery feature. If it worked, it would allow me to ditch my another process and help me get pictures up more easily, and perhaps more frequently. Of course, that was only if it worked.

The first upgrade, a 5 minute process performed through WordPress Automatic Upgrade failed to produce the brand new uploader which is the heart and soul of the new gallery feature. Without that, my new time-saver was dead on arrival. OK, time to trouble-shoot, an hour of trying this and that proved fruitless. Only a complete reinstall of the software, this time manually installed, allowed me to access the new uploader.

OK. Step one solved, now on to the next, producing a gallery. I looked for examples to see what this new tool was capable of. Would it fit the bill for my site? A quick tour of the Internet proved promising, but my first gallery was a flop. With no navigation, the supposed gallery seemed unwieldy and useless. It looked like I was going to be tied to my third-party solution. Still, something in me said that there was a solution out there. Others would not have been able to get the results that they had achieved without software mature enough to deliver.

A deeper search revealed that the gallery feature relies not only on the new uploader, but also on a new template called image.php, available in the default theme. Part of the problem of heeding the upgrade warnings that WordPress sends is that many of the new and improved features are poorly documented. Tags were a case in point a few releases back. This time the photo gallery has proven to be the winner.

Sure enough, copying the image.php file to my current theme did the trick. With a few tweaks and a few bug fixes, I achieved success. My first WordPress native gallery was born. I’ve posted it below. It’s a conglomeration of some prominent images characteristic of the Mexico that we have experienced. It’s not exhaustive, but it displays a bit of what the WordPress gallery can do. I hope you enjoy.

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  1. Lorelle’s avatar

    Actually, many people have a problem upgrading because they don’t read the instructions which state clearly “delete first” all the core programming files. Uploading over the top of the often causes problems. Every other time I skip that step, I get a problematic upgrade. Over the years, I’ve learned. so you are not alone. Read the manual. 😀

    There were so many last minute changes to WordPress 2.5, and thoughts that the Media Library would not be included, so the documentation team, of which I’m a part, held off on adding documentation for something we were unclear would be currently needed. Now the team is working overtime to get as much of the new documentation done as possible.

    It’s a volunteer effort in the support forums and the WordPress Codex and we’d love your help. Please get involved if you would like to help others not suffer as you have.

    Thanks and happy blogging now that you’ve figured it all out. 😀

  2. Dave’s avatar


    Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment. I’ve appreciated your contributions to the WP community and I’m glad to have been able to link a bit of that into this latest post.

    WordPress is a wonderful blogging platform. Still, it requires a certain expertise to keep it up-to-date and secure. My intention behind this post was to display a bit of the struggle required in maintaining a WordPress install, while featuring a bit of what WordPress 2.5 could do. Perhaps the post displayed a bit more of the struggle than the benefit of upgrading. I’ll keep that in mind for future posts. Still, I think that I am beginning to realize that it is truly difficult to maintain WordPress without rolling up your sleeves from time to time with a willingness to get your hands dirty so-to-speak, and I feel that it is necessary to communicate that with those who would be thinking of supporting their own WordPress install.

    As far as the upgrade process is concerned, I guess you could say that I’m on a quest to make the famous 5 minute upgrade process, 5 minutes in truth. When I manually install via FTP I’m always tentative. I’m not a big fan of having to delete and then re-install, waiting for my Internet connection to catch up with my impatience. 13 years of working with Microsoft products may be to blame for that. Anyway, I’ve tried the Instant Upgrade plugin with limited success, and for this last upgrade, I took WPAU out for a spin. I had hoped that the author would have coded the correct procedure into his offering, but it appears that I was mistaken. Here’s hoping that an updated offering won’t leave me with the same results.

    “Doctumentationally” speaking, I am what you could call a “hack.” I don’t feel that I ever really create anything when it comes to code, I simply cobble together what others have done. I feel therefore, that I lack the foundational understanding from which to constructively collaborate with those who write the codex. Still, it’s easier to criticize than it is to provide solutions, so I’ll keep your invitation in mind, as I’d like to be on the solution-provider side of the equation as well.

  3. Lorelle’s avatar

    You wouldn’t lack the “foundational understanding” to help with the Codex. I got involved because I was tired of reading “seperate” instead of “separate” – that’s it. If you can write, if you have two brain cells to rub together, and if you have a passion for WordPress, you are welcome. There are no rules nor regulations on who can help. We need spell checkers as well as code hackers. WordPress documentation won’t improve unless everyone pitches in.

    As for the issue of the 5 minute install, there is “install” and “upgrade” which are different. An install requires no deletion of previous files as this is a first time attempt. The upgrade does, though many have it down to a science and get it done, depending upon their bandwidth and access times, to a minute. It’s amazing.

    Future versions are expected to have both the Plugin update and WordPress core programming upgrade incorporated for “automatic” handling. So stay tuned for this to become much easier, and more “Microsoft” style – though I do hope WordPress will continue to NEVER be like Microsoft in some respects. 😀

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