If you were among those who upgraded from Google Calendar Events 2.4 to Simple Calendar 3.0 and you experienced a painful and time-consuming transition, this post is intended for you.
Truly we offer our deepest apologies.
Frankly, we didn’t go about this the right way, and we realize we caused downtime, restoring of backups, confused site visitors, you name it.
We learned a big lesson here.
What we did to prepare and why it didn’t work
We honestly thought we had prepared for the 2.4 to 3.0 transition well. Over a month before the Simple Cal 3.0 release we had:
- Emailed our announcement list about what we were planning regularly.
- Opened up beta testing to everyone to our announcement list and posted a sticky not in the support forum.
- Released several betas and made improvements based on feedback.
- Spent (what we thought was) significant development time and testing on the 2.4 to 3.0 upgrade process.
- Posted a plugin upgrade notice in 2.4 at the top of every page in your site’s dashboard until you dismissed it.
We thought this was sufficient and we received generally positive feedback from beta testers. But obviously we were wrong.
Why such a big change?
Believe it or not we are big believers in backwards compatibility, just like WordPress is with it’s core product as well as the rest of the community.
However, the GCal Events plugin codebase was becoming quite old and very hard to maintain. And there were so many enhancements and features we wanted to add that were nearly impossible with the previous codebase. Our grand visions of what Simple Calendar just outgrew it.
We also wanted to simplify rather than continually add new settings, so we stripped out what we thought wasn’t necessary and attempted to provide simpler alternatives along with revamped settings and configuration screens.
And remember this has been a free plugin (and continues to be free). We made the decision to create an add-on business model, meaning you could purchase premium add-ons such as Google Calendar Pro to both obtain additional functionality and support our business financially. If we didn’t start pushing the business forward, then we would’ve had to halt progress on the plugin.
Finally, there is no straightforward way to split and upgrade a plugin hosted on WordPress.org without creating an entirely new plugin. However, in hindsight we should’ve explored ways to split or other creative options before rolling out 3.0. But we can’t go back on that now.
Reverting to GCal Events 2.4
So what now?
You can go back to version 2.4 if you’d like to. And some of you have. WordPress.org makes getting past versions of any plugin pretty simple if you head to the Developer tab.
If you restored a site backup or experienced the unwanted update on a staging site, you’re probably already set back to how things were.
If you already upgraded to 3.0, the calendar feeds were converted to the new format, so you may need to recreate your feeds after rolling back to 2.40.
If you still need to revert back, we recommend installing the recently added “Legacy” version of 2.4 (read below).
The new GCal Events 2.4 (Legacy) fork
If you want to keep running GCal Events 2.4 for now, the above method will work, but there’s a couple issues we want to fix in it going forward.
One problem is you’ll continue to get nagged to update to the latest version of Simple Calendar 3.0. WordPress has made plugin updates all too easy we admit, so the risk of an inadvertent update still exists. And we want to prevent that.
Soon we will be rolling out a “fork” of GCE 2.4 that will serve this purpose.
It’ll be based of GCE 2.4, but be hosted as a separate plugin and independent of our updates to Simple Calendar 3.0 and beyond.
Also, at times there are major security issues to patch, or a new version of WordPress that breaks compatibility. We’ll make sure and update GCE 2.4 Legacy when they arise for the foreseeable future.
Eventually, something major may change that is out of our hands. Back in November 2014 Google deprecated the old version of their API and broke backwards compatibility themselves. If this sort of thing happens we’ll be forced to focus solely on updating the Simple Calendar 3.0 line.
The GCE 2.4 Legacy “fork” is not quite ready, but we’re working on updating it and on distribution logistics now. We’ll post back here and notify our mailing list as soon as we have more information.
Update: The “Legacy” (forked) version of Google Calendar Events 2.4 has been approved for distribution on wordpress.org.
If you’d like to use it, you can search for the plugin “Google Calendar” and install Legacy Google Calendar Events, or simply download Legacy Google Calendar Events here.
Again, we apologize for the headaches we have caused, and appreciate you working with us to make the best of this going forward.
-The Simple Calendar Team