I have now finished upgrading to WordPress 2.3 and at the same time I changed the theme. To be honest; I’m happy with the result. The upgrade was long overdue and well, the old theme didn’t work with 2.3. Sure I could have fixed the theme to work with 2.3 but at the same time I wasn’t that happy with the look of it. So after a lot of testing I came to the theme that you now see.

The new theme that SamuelNova.com is using is the xMark 2.0 created by Lisa Sabin-Wilson. The funny thing was that I decided for this theme a week ago but just before I did the upgrade I did a double check on the web site for it; and to my surprise I saw that Lisa updated it, so it works better with WordPress 2.3, perfect timing.

The upgrade went very smooth, so let me go over the steps I took in the change. I’m sure that other people will be able to upgrade the same steps but I do not make any guarantee that it will work for all.

Backup phase

Call me paranoid but I really like to have backups before I do changes, especially when it is massive changes as this one. I do backups on a regular basis, not only the web sites but also of all local data.

  • Did a full backup of the WordPress folder on the web server
  • Backup of SQL database

Plugins status

Next step was to get an overview of the plugins and other settings.

  • Wrote several text files with
    • What plugins was used, including version number
    • Content of each Widget
    • Special tags used on the page
    • AdSense codes
    • Any options that I thought would be useful to keep in a text file
  • Checked the list with plugins to see what the status are of them all, if the author had released new versions or if there were reported issues with WordPress 2.3

Upgrade time

  • Disabled all plugins
  • Upgraded to WordPress 2.3 using the One-Click-Installs (which also does upgrades) (from DreamHost97$ discount page)
  • Finished the 2.3 upgrade directly from WordPress

At this time the site still worked, just with a few errors due to the old theme.

Change of theme

  • Upload xMark the theme to WordPress and selected it inside WordPress admin area.

Surprise… It just worked :-)

  • Did some modifications to the theme, such as the upper/left graphics :-) and some movement of text.
  • Worked on the widgets in the two side bars on the right. What had to be included and in what order (this is an ongoing task)
  • Installed few new plugins, also removed a few old ones that was no longer needed.
  • More small modifications to the theme and the style sheet used by it.

I didn’t run into any problems with the upgrade or the theme or any plugins, so all in all a very smooth upgrade. This does not mean that I’m done yet, I still got some plugins and widgets that I want to check. Then again, new plugins and widgets appear all the time.

Do note: I’m not using tags but still the good old categories. I might add tags at a later stage, but that will be when I have some hours free as I will need to go back to all old posts and add tags to them.

I will one of the next days do a post about what plugins I’m using and where they can be found.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Lisa Sabin-Wilson

    Hi Sam – I’m glad to hear that xMark works well for your blog and that you found it relatively easy to install and modify for your own needs. Also glad I got the theme updated in time for your own upgrade! Keeping that theme upgraded is an ongoing task for me :)


  2. Lis

    Hi – care to elaborate as to how you changed the top right image to customise it to your own cartoon – I cant find where to hack to the theme html – but I am pretty new at all this Thanks Lis

  3. Sam Nova

    Hi Lis,

    Will be happy to help.

    First I changed the background image (bodybg.png) to include my ‘avatar’. Then I needed to adjust the position of the text so it didn’t overlap as it does in the original xMark theme (Where it makes sense).

    Edit the styles.css and find following:
    padding:4px 0 0 25px

    font-family:italics Georgia;
    padding:45px 0 0 175px

    The place you need to change is the last number in the ‘padding’ lines, they describe how many pixels to the right you want the text moved.

    On my site I use 185px both places.

    Hope this helps.
    Best, Sam

  4. Lis

    Thanks I’ll give that a go!

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