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2.9.1 Around The Corner

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December 22nd, 2009
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WordPress

WordPress 2.9 was released last weekend. Yesterday, I was notified that 2.9.1 is most likely around the corner due to some issues that arose because of a last-minute addition to the core of WordPress. The issues revolve around scheduled posts not firing because the cron scheduler ends up broken. The patch can be found here which is already a part of 2.9.1.

While reading the support thread, I became concerned with some of the responses that were published. For example, “How could you release an upgrade that is obviously this problem-filled?” or “WordPress should have tested 2.9 before releasing it!“. I’m not sure how many times this has to be preached to the choir but each version of WordPress is tested before it’s release to the public. That is what the Beta releases are for as well as the Release Candidates. WordPress 2.9 went through one release candidate version and two beta releases. In fact, before RC1 hit the public, all of the tickets assigned for that version were closed. Each version was tested by anyone who volunteered. There seems to be this notion that there are thousands of WordPress developers and they should iron out every bug before releasing software to the public. While there are hundreds of WordPress developers submitting patches here and there as well as squashing bugs, not every hosting setup can be tested. This is where the end users come in.

Dion Hulse who has been a long time contributor to the WordPress project illustrates this problem quite well in a blog post entitled WordPress, A Call To Arms. I think Dion says it best in the first paragraph which illustrates the lack of testing problem quite well.

WordPress 2.9 was just released, And several users have run into a bug. Surprising? Not really. There’s one simple reason for this, While thousands of people Test each and every WordPress release, These users are not You.

While hundreds or thousands download the betas to perform testing, the real crux of the testing comes when the “Stable” release is shipped. The stable version is installed by everyone because it’s considered to be stable only since you now have hundreds of thousands of blogs running the software which translates into more testing environments, you’re going to run into bugs the testers simply didn’t find. This gives the perception that the Stable release was not stable at all and therefor, should have never been released. But, if the software were never released, the bug would most likely would not have been found.

Please Help Out:

It’s very easy to setup a test installation of WordPress, especially since the release of Peter Westwoods plugin called Beta Tester. While testing on a local server is a good idea, most local servers are not setup to mimic the configuration of the public web server. This is why it’s actually better to test on the same setup as your public facing site than on a local server.

Now, if you happen to come across something you believe to be a bug, please refer to this article in the Codex which contains instructions on how to report it.

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32
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Comments

  1. John Myrstad (7 comments.) says:

    I`ll recycle this post:

    http://johnmyr.wordpress.com/2.....st-plugin/

    John Myrstad

  2. rudely anonymous says:

    Hi Jeff,

    It is most likely Society’s fault for allowing people to think that airing one’s extreme narcissism by berating the charitable efforts of other people is acceptable or even laudable.

    Yet another tragic failure of Society to maintain decency and manners.

    Of course, the act of pointing out this failure in a public forum verges on criminal behavior in and of itself. But there you go, we have to blame someone, and Society is always a safe target ;-)

    If people have major qualms when a WordPress release does not work perfectly in all of its multi-million installations, as you recommend, there are many options that are quite constructive and allow one to conceal one’s selfishness:
    1) become a Beta tester and become a benefit to society
    2) buy a book and learn how to write your own blogging software
    3) hire one of the thousands (or maybe it’s just hundreds) of WordPress consultants out there to qualify the latest releases against your peculiar setup
    4) go out and chop some wood to let off some steam until a patch is issued – this should keep you busy long enough that you won’t embarrass yourself by writing ignorant things on forums

    It is difficult to understand what drives a person to be rude in such a permanent and public way. Heck, I consider this piece a bit rude since it implies that other people were being rude, but as a member of said Society, I offer my thumb to stem the flood of entitled narcissism.

    Oh well, I still don’t have the guts to post this under my own name! So, hah! (I just hope there’s not a gravatar associated with that email address…that’d be funny, huh!)

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good Night!
    Rudely Anonymous

  3. David (1 comments.) says:

    I am one of those who wonders, at the testing prior to the stable release of a new wordpress version. While I understand the concept, that a beta and rc can only accomplish so much and that a larger testing model is needed, I also wonder at the time allotted for those releases.

    2.9 RC wasn’t out for long,(2 days perhaps?) so it would seem to me, that no way could even a limited number of testors accurately put the version through its paces. And isn’t that what beta and rc testing is for?

    Perhaps a longer period between releases, with more time given to testing the beta and rc releaes would be prudent, and cut down on the aggravation many feel. Just seems there is a rush to get the stable release out.

    my 2 cents

    • bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

      I agree, except for 1 thing.

      Alot of companies, when they go thru LONG periods of betas and RC’s, seem to spend “years” waiting for every “T” to be crossed, and every “j” to be dotted, so to speak, and although I agree with your point, that 2 days just isn’t long enough, I don’t think too much time should be wasted doing that.

      ya don’t want 2 days to turn into 2 years, like phpBB frequently does, for instance, there should be a happy medium, 2 days should be more like a week, or maybe 2 weeks would be fine, but any longer then 2 weeks is way too much IMHO. I agree you have to give people time to test, but don’t give them TOO much time, or users will get ansy. lol

  4. Michael Aulia @CravingTech (5 comments.) says:

    Hm..I always schedule my posts and they’ve been working fine so far with 2.9

    There is no software in the whole world that is bug free! It’s just not possible unless if you are only creating a software that prints “Hello World!”. WordPress is a complex but great platform!

  5. Christina Warren (3 comments.) says:

    See, I understand your point Jeff, but it’s one of those issues that always smacks to me of double-speak — and this isn’t just about WordPress, it goes for any open source project. On the one hand, you have the argument that this stuff is community tested and coded and all these eyes are on it and it is just as secure and stable and feature-rich as any pay software and you get people who extol all of the huge sites that love and live by WordPress. Yeah, awesome, brilliant — I totally agree. But then, as soon as anyone makes any sort of criticism (and in this case it might be premature, but by the same token I think the RC candidate was out for such a short period of time before becoming THE release that deep testing couldn’t be done), they are dismissed because, “oh this is free. These are volunteers. You ungrateful bastard.”

    You cannot have it both ways. If you want people to think of WordPress as being on the same plane as any other commercial project, then WordPress has to accept its lumps when they come. Issue an update and be done with it. But it’s not rational — or fair — to say that no user has the right to complain unless they actively beta test themselves. First, not everyone has that kind of time. The idea is that users are supposed to be able to upgrade to the released version and stuff like post scheduling doesn’t break. Now scheduled posts isn’t a huge deal, but it’s issues like that that keep people from upgrading to begin with, which in the case of WordPress leads to major security issues.

    Users should be more understanding — and I believe the vast majority are — but the WordPress community can’t have it both ways. If you want to be treated like a professional piece of software, that means taking criticism, even if that criticism was one of those things that happens.

    • bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

      that was my thinking exactally.

      case in point, my brother in-law still uses Moveable Type. I always thought that project died a quick painful death, but apparently its still around, and those who use it, are dedicated to it. My bro-in-law runs several blogs using MT, and he tells me, he’s never paid one dime for it. all fine and dandy for him, but I still went to WordPress and never looked back.

      I think there are still enough Free alternatives to WordPress, that users shouldn’t complain, for nothing says they can’t use an old version, I still do, or another alternative like MT or B2 or whatever.

      I say, as long as the majority of users are happy, who cares about a couple whiners! :-)

    • pete says:

      Good point…

  6. that girl again (2 comments.) says:

    Judging purely from the post on semiologic, it sounds like the people having problems are those with outdated server setups, and there’s never going to be much overlap between people in that category and those who are sufficiently geeky to sign up for beta testing. I’m not convinced a longer beta period or a larger number of testers would have made any real difference here.

    Personally I would be tempted to re-label the ‘stable’ release as a release candidate, get everyone to download it, fix the inevitable bugs, and call the fixed version the official release rather than a .1, but that’s really just a marketing thing.

    • bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

      well, when it comes to outdates server setups, we can’t always control that. Unless you make the “big bucks” to have your own dedicated server on rackspace or something like that, you have to deal with outdated server setups, unfortunately, but if thats the case in the bugs that were reported, its not wordpress’s fault, and they should stop whining about it.

  7. Adrew (1 comments.) says:

    I think WP 2.9.1 is nice solution and worth to upgrade because as told before no software with bug free even Windows or OSX!

  8. Dana @ Online Knowledge (27 comments.) says:

    I know it will be come so i just sit back nicely when 2.9 come out and wait for at least 2.9.1 or 2.9.2. :D

  9. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    I didn’t know 2.9 was out until I read this post.
    NOrmally WP tells me when there’s an upgrade, but it
    didn’t this time, and I guess I sorta took that for granted,
    so guess I gotta get upgrading…

    but if there are issues with 2.9.0 then maybe I should wait
    until 2.9.1 is released? I think I’m still running 2.8.3
    if I remember right.

  10. Byron (20 comments.) says:

    Agree with @Dana & @Mark above. I build some WP plugins, so I go ahead and upgrade ASAP on my test sites, but if I’m worried about an upgrade with my main blog, I’ll wait a week or so to see if anything ugly rears its head.

    WordPress is in good company when it comes to releasing software only to discover some serious problems that didn’t come out in testing/beta/RC’s. Take Apple’s release of Snow Leopard for instance. It was deleting people’s primary user accounts (and user files) off their hard drives when they logged into a Guest Account – most people didn’t suffer this, but for those who got bit, it was ugly.

    Here’s the engadget story: http://www.engadget.com/2009/1.....errorizin/ (the comments are worth a read for a good lol).

    And Microsoft? Lots of companies do not install new releases of Microsoft software for the same reason. They wait until the Service Pack 1 comes out. It’s kind of a cliche.

    So, by those measures, WordPress is on similar plane as Apple and Microsoft, the only difference is that I have paid $$$$ to Apple and Microsoft for the right to rant & rave at them, but I’d feel a bit like an ungrateful bastard to throw it at the WP guys.

    Cheers,
    Byron

  11. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    I’m not surprised there are bugs showing through in this release. I was running it on a live site since early on when new features started to get rolled into the 2.9 Trunk. I’ve never seen a trunk release break so often. Then it broke again during the betas. These weren’t minor breakages, but quite major ones. The solution was always easy enough, but it did cause my site to go down multiple times for about 10 mins until I could hack a solution into place before I figured out the actual cause of the problems (usually about 20 mins later).

    I was then expecting the RC to be out for a few weeks at least, but it just popped up out of the blue as a stable release.

    I suspect if the RC stages were more actively encouraged for use, then there would be a whole bunch more testers to make sure the final release is up to scratch.

    Perhaps the solution is to actually recommend people download the RCs for use on live sites? So those who are worried about potential problems can stay safely on their current version until the rest of doi an extensive live test of the RC … just an idea

  12. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    ran into a strange problem today.
    Tried to upgrade wordpress to 2.9 thru the admin
    interface, like I usually do, and the wordpress admin
    crashed on me in the middle of the install, so now I
    have to figure out a way to upgrade the FTP way,
    because I no longer have SSH or Shell access :(

    sucks having to upgrade manually via FTP, I hate doing it that way :(
    I can do it in 5 lines of code in SSH…arrgh hosting providers
    that don’t allow shell access! lol

    • Byron (20 comments.) says:

      I had a similar problem with 2.8 upgrade. It turned out to be that you have to have it running PHP5. My host requires a tweak to .htaccess to run PHP5 by default, and I didn’t have that set.

      Just a thought…

  13. Victor Teixeira says:

    In my case, I always wait for all the plugins I use to be upgraded before I upgrade wordpress.

    A new version always break plugins functionality.
    But this is expected.

    People will just not use RC releases nor betas, because they would break their sites.

    Test environments are never going to replace real world software release.
    So, there’s nothing to complain here. This is the only way to really squash bugs – Release the stable version, and then .1, .2, .3.

    That’s it.

  14. king rat says:

    Beta testing is not a suitable substitute for a rigorously executed test plan.

    • Ipstenu (31 comments.) says:

      No plan ever lasts past it’s first meeting with reality.

      Seriously. No matter how beautiful and exact and detailed your test plan, it will never match the crazy setups people have in the wild.

      You do your best and you clean up the problems as fast as you can.

  15. Brian Child (1 comments.) says:

    Yes – this problem is big. Getting sick of having to post things because its delayed. ‘Failed to Post’ GRRR!

  16. jive (7 comments.) says:

    I’ve learned its usually best to wait until the extra .1 version with web applications (for example 2.9.1) and then wait a days after that is released until upgrading. Unless you have a really old version or one with security holes. Any minor bugs or forgotten files are usually sorted out once the majority have made the switch and reported back.



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