Administrative carping, aka progress

After years of promising (threatening?), our webhost updated their hosting infrastructure to cPanel a little over a week ago:

Subject: David, your site migration was successful.

Date: 9/17/21, 6:05 AM

We moved your site.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve sent you a couple emails letting you know we’re migrating your hosting from our old Web Hosting Linux to our new Linux Hosting with cPanel.

Please do not reply to this email. Emails sent to this address will not be answered.

Broken Wiki image
One broken wiki

Some clarification is in order. “Over the past few weeks” means “since March 2020.” Successful migration apparently means “we’ve met our own criteria for success.” In a browser, on the other hand, WordPress stayed up, while the wiki links opened a blank page (WSOD).

I won’t say our service is any worse than others in this regard. In all fairness, MediaWiki–which is free software, after all, and so maintained largely by unpaid volunteers–breaks their own product every few releases. I could go on and on about the DevOps phenomenon and the evils of unnecessary feature development and almost weekly (or nightly!) releases, but for now I’ll follow GoDaddy’s example and just declare victory:

  • As MediaWiki “bureaucrat, administrator” for dekalbowiki, I’ve managed to defer 15 major version upgrades since 2014. Based on upgrade experiences past, that’s saved me three to four volunteer work weeks compared to MediaWiki’s guidance to upgrade at least every other release. The latest guidance on the site forces this issue, and may eventually be the death of these particular pages.
  • After a day’s effort, including an hour with Advanced Technical Support, I had the wiki functioning in butt-ugly mode. Over the past week, the host PHP version was updated twice; I upgraded the database, then upgraded to the latest “stable” MediaWiki release, then migrated/updated the database again; and I found a new “skin” template to replace the old custom theme which the upgrade had rendered useless. All installed extensions were upgraded or removed, and both audio and video players had to be replaced so files could play again. Last night, I finally fixed the old hover icons (I thought), then went back in to eliminate a flickering image issue this morning.

…and move on!

The prior post on this site was in February, 2017, though I’ve received a backlog of materials to post on others’ behalf some mythical rainy day. There’s been no word from anyone else recently. If there’s a point to the above, it explains why I’m not posting in a timely fashion.

It’s still perfectly fine to start adding any material you may have and want to put up. Uploaded files won’t go away, even if the wiki interface is retired, eventually. All existing logins should have survived this last upgrade–on both blog and wiki, and I’d recommend the blog approach because WordPress is much more well-behaved and hassle-free–and I can reset them for you if you need. Just email.

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