Never too late for an update

Held out as long as I could
By Sol in Lab

With WordPress 3.2 looming on the horizon (due on June 30, 2011), I decided today would be a good day to upgrade to the latest and greatest that version 3.1 had to offer– 3.1.3.  But I didn’t upgrade for the usual reasons.

After much testing and debugging to determine why my plugin, Simple Lightbox, wasn’t giving me update notifications when I uploaded a new version to the plugin repository, I found that only after updating WordPress to 3.1.3 did I start to properly receive notifications.  I still can’t say for sure why this is, because I hit a dead end at the point where my plugin data is sent to WordPress’ servers to perform the actual update check via the following API URL:

An array of all of your installed and activated plugins are sent to this URL, which presumably checks them against the current versions of those plugins in’s plugin repository.  While I was receiving update notifications perfectly on all clean version of WP that I tested with (including the older WP 3.1.2), the response from WordPress’ API was simply empty when tested from my live site.

Unfortunately, there’s basically zero documentation for the API, so there was very little I could to do debug the issue any further (hence the aforementioned dead end).

I’m not a huge fan of incremental updates (even if the update has beneficial security fixes) because it means I need to run a bunch of tests to make sure the update doesn’t break anything.  However, I had spent so much time debugging the update notification issue that testing the 3.1.3 update before was a walk in the park.  After a few quick tests, I updated to 3.1.3 and lo and behold, there was an update notification for Simple Lightbox!

The moral of the story:

If you’re wondering why a plugin you love has not been updated in a while, perhaps you should check to see if WordPress itself needs to be updated.