With the impending release of TNG 14, I thought I’d take a minute to go over some of the things to watch out for while you’re upgrading your site. All of these apply no matter which version you’re installing.
- Make sure you choose the right upgrade. Before you begin, go to your TNG Admin menu and look at the top of the screen. It should say there what your current version is. Anything that starts with “13” (like 13.0.1 or 13.1.2) counts as “13.x”. You will see links for several different upgrades on the v14 downloads page. Be sure to get the one most appropriate for your currently installed version. If you install the wrong upgrade, you will likely notice errors when you’re done.
- Install the upgrade, not the full version. When you get to the v14 downloads page, the first links near the top will be for brand new TNG users. What you want is a little further down in the Updates section. Look for the upgrade most appropriate for your currently installed version, then look next to the download link for the name of the file that will include the upgrade instructions. Note: A new version of the full version “readme.html” file will also be included with your upgrade, but you can ignore that since you’re upgrading. If you accidentally open that file, it should warn you that you’re about to install the full version. If you see that, go back! Installing the full version on top of an existing install will cause you to lose your data and your customizations.
- Don’t forget the backup. At the top of the instructions, you’re advised to back up your key files (mainly the configuration files, like config.php, pedconfig.php, etc., but also any others that you may have customized) and your database tables. If you do make a mistake at some point, having a backup can save you a lot of headaches. Once the upgrade is finished and everything is running smoothly, back up your tables again.
- Remember to view the upgrade readme from your browser, not your home computer. One of the first steps is to upload the files to your site. After that, you need to load the instructions again from your site. In other words, if your site is www.mysite.com and you’re upgrading from 13.0.1, open your web browser and go to http://www.mysite.com/readme13x-14x.html from there. If you continue with the local copy you opened immediately after downloading, some of the later steps won’t work.
- Update your template. For most people, this should be simple. If you’ve never tinkered with the HTML or PHP in your template files, just upload the entire “templates” folder from the upgrade and that’s it. If you have made any customizations (not the Template Settings or the mytngstyle.css style sheets) and you want to keep those, then you’ll probably want to merge your changes into the latest files instead of just uploading those new files. Some of the new features may not work unless you’re using the latest template files.
- Watch for the twist. Large upgrades usually include a step to update your database table structures, but a lot of people miss it and then wonder why things are broken. This time the database update step directs you to visit the TNG Admin menu on your site, where you’ll be given the next steps. If you skip those, you’ll be reminded again each time you visit the admin area. Don’t forget to click the final link to delete the upgrade files when you’re done (the upgrade page will still show until that happens).
- Clear your browser cache. Once you’re done, go into your browser settings or preferences and clear the cache (or “temporary Internet files”). Until you do that, your browser might decide to hang on to some of the old pages, and that could present a conflict. Some features might not work. The instructions for clearing the cache vary from one browser to another, so do a Google search on this if you’re not sure how to do it.