As I discussed a month ago, I'm working to initiate some under-the-hood upgrades here at fourhman.com. I have a new main page template already cobbled together; it will not be much of a design change (still khaki-and-red!), mostly some key layout moves and some fun interactive bits. Before I go much further, I wanted to upgrade Movable Type.
Although the party line is how easy it is to upgrade, my initial experience was not as successful. First of all, I'm still on version 2.661, which dates from 2003. (And my Movable Type forum account is from 2002, which just shows how old I am in weblog years.) The upgrade path from 2.661 to 3.34 is not as simplistic. Particularly when you factor in that I'm still running a Berkeley database, which I now understand to be terribly gauche and a highly questionable practice. The suggested database solution these days is MySQL, which you might as well mambo dogface in the banana patch for all the sense this makes to me.
But I tried it tonight. I downloaded the free 3.34 system and correctly uploaded it to fourhman.com (you need to make sure your FTP knows what stuff to send as ASCII and what to send Binary and no, setting it Automatic is not good enough; shouldn't this shit be figured out by now?)
The only clever thing I can say I did was to spirit away my [working] 2.661 install by changing the folder name, rather than deleting all the old system. This was either highly clever or highly stupid, given that nothing worked anyway, as you'll soon see.
After uploading, I tried the new Movable Type and got a big failure. This was because I had not set the chmods of all the cgi files to 755. Duh.
After I did that, it still failed, because I had not modified the config.cgi to reflect my local site path. Duh again, but at least I could follow along and adjust as necessary.
After I did that, I got a Welcome To Movable Type! screen with a request to set up a user account. And the ominous message "after this, we'll initialize your database!"
That scared the everloving shit out of me. Two things: I wanted to upgrade my database from Berkeley to MySQL, and MY FUCK PLEASE DO NOT ERASE FUCK MY WEBLOG SHIT BALLS. So, and this was probably the key error of the night, I backed out of the friendly Let's Make A Username And Erase Your World! screen and went to see about upgrading my database.
There is a supplied cgi that is supposed to convert that, but I had a question: How do you "make" a MySQL database in the first place? The reason why MySQL is the way to go is because the resultant database is more stable, less prone to getting "corrupted," and easily backed up. If your hosting service supports MySQL (mine does), you can even do it all yourself without having to bother tech support, should there be a catastrophic failure. It took me some searching, but I finally discovered that you have to create a MySQL database via your hosting service. This is probably really obvious to some people.
Once that is done - and you have to create user access accounts and everything - you slap that in a config file and then Movable Type's db2sql cgi can do the deed. So I ran that, and I don't think it worked. If you think of a MySQL database as one of those old hotel front desk cubbyhole systems full of room keys, I had the cubbyholes but no keys. No data.
But the worst part is that, now, when I tried to get into my new MT, it declared my login invalid. Probably because I bailed out of it before it finished setting itself up.
None of this bothered or altered my existing Movable Type install and its hopelessly old fashioned Berkeley database, by the way, as evidenced by the fact that I'm able to post this mess for you to skim on your way to another whimsical Animal Crossing / Gangsta pastiche.
I tried deleting and re-uploading the entire 3.34 system again. No dice. I burned through tons of support forum posts, many of which described my exact problem without any kind of offered resolution. So, seeing as my old MT was still working, I gave up. I don't need this kind of stress.
So I bought Movable Type, which entitles me to tech support (the free download does not.) I've been using it for five years now, so they definitely have earned some compensation. I also went a step further and paid for them to install 3.34. Once we exchange information, they should be able to upgrade my MT, get my existing weblog(s) into a MySQL format, transfer all of my current authors and templates and categories and entries and everything, plus save me the cost of a new desk chair to replace the one I surely would have crapped in had I blown up fourhman.com again.
Although the cost made me choke a little ($150 total, and my Google ads will cover it - why don't you click one to make sure!), it's worth it to know that the shit will be taken care of without any chance of me screwing it up. And I'll be able to move forward with my redesign plans. I feel so much better now.