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Zenphoto – doing an update the right way, manually ..




After experimenting with various photo blog kind of interfaces (including the use of Gallery2 and other plugins that work along with WordPress), I finally found something that I liked – namely, Zenphoto, that I have started to use to build a photo site called Tourist Photos (photos from different tourist locations) (primarily to find an outlet for the number of photos I have taken in different countries, with photos + some text provide feedback to people before they even visit a place, so that they have some idea of what to expect).
Now, my web host provides me an interface called SimpleScripts that provides a simple interface to do this upgrade process. SimpleScripts makes the process of update so simple:
1. You log into your Web Host account
2. If there are any updates, there is a message that SimpleScripts has an update available
3. Click that link, it gives an interface where the interface provides information about the current version and the future version(s) that are available. And you can proceed on the upgrade path
4. Once the upgrade is done, the user has an option to review the website to see whether everything is fine, or if things are not fine, there is an option to go back to a previous version of the application.
A lot of people try the above option 4 as a formality, and do not check. If you care about your site, then you need to do that check in the following way (atleast based on my experience):
1. Before running the upgrade, do a backup of the site and the database and save these files locally
2. Check whether site is launching
3. Check whether there seems to be any performance problem in the site
4. Login into the Admin area of the site and see whether the initial dashboard comes up
5. Check for existing plugins and other widgets, and see whether there seems to be any problem
When running updates for my sites, I go through the above checklist and it has proved necessary in some cases. I have been using SimpleScripts for many of my sites, and there have been many cases where the update has completed successfully, and then the site has had serious problems.
I encountered this problem more recently when I was trying to update my Zenphoto page, and my current version was version 1.3.1.2 with a recommendation to update to version 1.4.1.4. I went ahead, and after the update, things did not work (the site refused to load). So, after an initial round of panic (I already have around 2000+ photos added to the site), I went for the rollback and the rollback worked fine.
Next step, went to the Zenphoto site to check up their instructions for creating a new site / upgrade (link) and found the following text over there:

NOTE: We do not support and do not recommend installations or upgrading done with helper scripts like SimpleScripts or similar some providers make available. If you have any problems after using these please contact the maker of the script.

So, atleast for my Zenphoto site, I will go ahead and do a manual update with the steps written on the page and stop using SimpleScripts for any updates of Zenphoto.




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