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Tips for a successful v13 upgrade

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Darrin Lythgoe

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With TNG 13 being released today (Sep. 21, 2020), 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.

  • Install the upgrade, not the full version. When you get to the v13 downloads page, the first link near the top will be for brand new TNG users. What you want is a little further down in the Updates section. Also take note that a new version of the full version readme.html file will be included with your upgrade, but the installation instructions for the upgrade will be in a different file. The name of that file will be listed next to the download link. For example, if you’re coming from version 12, the file will be called readme12x-13x.html or readme123-13x.html. If you accidentally open readme.html, 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.
  • 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 “12” (like 12.0.1 or 12.1.1) counts as “12.x”. You will see links for several different upgrades on the v13 downloads page. Be sure to get the one most appropriate for your currently installed version. If you have v11 but you install the upgrade for users with 12.x, you will likely notice errors when you’re done.
  • 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). 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 12.0.1, open your web browser and go to http://www.mysite.com/readme12x-13x.html from there. If you continue with the local copy you opened immediately after downloading, some of the later steps won’t work.
  • Don’t skip any steps. A lot of people think they just have to upload the files, but there’s a little more to it than that. The step most people still skip is the one relating to database structure changes (if you see a bunch of database query errors after installing the upgrade, this is probably what you did). There’s usually just a simple link you have to click. Doing that will open another page that runs through a list of database updates. Depending on the version you had previously, some of the items may say “Failed or done previously”. Don’t be alarmed if you see some of those.
  • 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 in with the latest files. Some of the new features may not work unless you’re using the latest template files.
  • 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.

If you still have issues and you think you may have botched the instructions, feel free to ask for help from me or the user list (tngusers2). If you think you might have found a program bug, please contact me directly (darrin@lythgoes.net).

Despite the possible pitfalls described here, the upgrade process should be fairly easy. If you’re still sure you won’t be able to do the upgrade yourself, there are other options though. Simply Hosting no longer does upgrades, but I can do it for an extra $15, and others could be hired as well. I might be swamped at first if too many people request this, so please be patient.


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