MT::Upgrade - MT class for managing system upgrades.


    MT::Upgrade->do_upgrade(Install => 1);


This module is responsible for handling the upgrade or installation of an MT database. The framework is flexible enough for third party plugins to use as well to manage their own schema (please refer to the documentation in MT::Plugin for more information on this).



The main worker method for this module is do_upgrade. It accepts a handful of arguments, which are:

  • Install

    Specify a value of '1' to assume a new installation along with an operation to install a blog and initial user.

  • App

    A package name or app object that can service the following methods:

    • progress($package, $message)

      Called during the upgrade operation to provide feedback with respect to the operations the upgrade process is running.

    • error($package, $message)

      Called during the upgrade operation to communicate an error that has occurred.

    • translate_escape

      Call this method to translate messages and phrases which are to appear on the progress screen. DO NOT use this method to messages and phrases which directly are stored in database. Use MT->translate for the purpose.

  • CLI

    Specified (set to '1') when invoked from a command line tool. This prevents encoding response messages in the configured PublishCharset for the installation.

  • SuperUser

    If upgrading from the command line, and running on a pre-MT 3.2 database, set this to an existing author ID that should be upgrade to system administrator status.

  • DryRun

    Specified (set to '1') to examine the database for installation/upgrade needs but not actually make any physical changes to the database. This will issue all the upgrade progress messages without doing the upgrade itself.


The upgrade module defines the following MT callbacks:

  • MT::Upgrade::SQL

    Called with each SQL statement that is executed against the database as part of the upgrade process. The parameters passed to this callback are:

        $callback, $upgrade_app, $sql_statement

    The first parameter is an MT::Callback object. $upgrade_app is a package name or MT::App object used to drive the upgrade process. $sql_statement is the actual SQL query that is about to be executed against the database.


The bulk of this module consists of Movable Type upgrade operations. These are declared as upgrade functions, and are registered in the package variabled '%functions'. (Note: the word 'function' here is not meant to describe a Perl subroutine.)

Some functions are invoked to manage the upgrade process from start to finish ('core_upgrade_begin' for instance, which merely displays a progress message to the calling application). The rest handle schema and data transformation from one version of the MT schema to another.

Schema translation itself is handled by Movable Type automatically. MT is able to check the physical schema represenation in the database and compare it with the schema as defined by the MT::Object-descended package. If a new property is added to the MT::Blog package, the upgrade process sees that has happened and can issue the actual 'alter table' SQL statement necessary to add it to the database. The 'core_fix_type' function is responsible for examining a particular table used by a class like MT::Blog and will append additional upgrade steps ('core_add_column', 'core_alter_column') that it finds necessary to the upgrade workflow.

Following the schema translation operations, the data transformation functions would be used to manipulate the data as necessary from an older schema to the current one. For instance, the 'core_create_placements' upgrade function was written to upgrade really old MT schemas from the pre-2.0 release to the current schema. The upgrade function is registered like this:

    $MT::Upgrade::functions{core_create_placements} = {
        version_limit => 2.0,
        code          => \&core_update_records,
        priority      => 9.1,
        updater       => {
            class     => 'MT::Entry',
            message   => 'Creating entry category placements...',
            condition => sub { $_[0]->category_id },
            code      => sub {
                require MT::Placement;
                my $entry = shift;
                my $existing = MT::Placement->load({ entry_id => $entry->id,
                    category_id => $entry->category_id });
                if (!$existing) {
                    my $place = MT::Placement->new;

With MT version 2.0, the MT::Placement class was introduced and immediately deprecated the use of MT::Entry->category as a result. To facilitate upgrading the existing MT::Entry objects this upgrade function is declared such that:

  • It is limited to only run for MT schemas older than version 2.0 (the version_limit element handles this).
  • It operates on MT::Entry objects (updater->class element declares that).
  • It tells the user what is happening (updater->message).
  • It excludes any MT::Entry objects that do not have a category_id element (updater->condition).
  • It checks for an existing MT::Placement relationship; if not present, it creates one (updater->code).
  • It empties out the category_id member of the MT::Entry object being upgrade to prevent it from being processed in the future (updater->code).

For plugins, upgrade functions are assignable in the plugin registration hash as documented in MT::Plugin. You may also return a hashref of upgrade functions from the plugin using the MT::Plugin::upgrade_functions subroutine.

Let's look at the anatomy of an upgrade function declaration:

  • version_limit (optional)

    The version_limit property allows you to declare that this upgrade operation is only applicable to MT schema versions below the version specified.

    To register an upgrade function that is only applied to releases prior to the current one, specify the current schema version as the version limit. This will allow the upgrade function to run for any prior releases but prevent it from running in subsequent releases.

    NOTE: If you are declaring a plugin upgrade function, this version limit is compared with your plugin's schema version, not the Movable Type schema version.

  • priority (optional)

    If your upgrade operation is dependent on another being done already, it is possible to order them using the priority value. A lower value means a higher priority.

  • condition (optional)

    This is a coderef parameter. If specified, it should return a true or false value that determines whether the upgrade step is actually to run or not.

    When called, it is given the parameters normally passed to an upgrade operation (see the 'code' parameter documentation).

  • on_field (optional)

    If specified, this upgrade function is triggered upon the creation of the field identified by this element. For instance,

        on_field => 'MT::Foo->bar'

    This would specify that the upgrade step is only to run when the 'bar' column is being added to the table that stores data for the MT::Foo package.

  • code

    This coderef parameter is the declared handler for the upgrade function. It is responsible for doing the upgrade task itself. For quick operations, it is fine to do all of your work within this subroutine. However, to faciliate large databases, it is important to do that work in manageable portions so it doesn't time-out by the web server or browser client.

    To facilitate an iterative process for your upgrade function, the upgrade routine itself can yield a return value to signal the upgrade process on how to proceed:

    • The upgrade function completed successfully.
    • undef

      upgrade routine failed with error. The error should be placed using the MT::Upgrade->error method.

    • > 0

      More work to do; the return value is the 'offset' parameter to pass on the next invocation of the upgrade function.

    Due to the complexity of handling this kind of staged operation, you will most likely want to use the prebuilt 'MT::Upgrade::core_update_records' routine to do most of your upgrade operations that handle some or all records of a given package.

    If using the 'core_update_records' routine, you should also specify an 'updater' parameter for your upgrade function.

  • updater

    This parameter is only used if you've specified the 'core_update_records' routine (from the MT::Upgrade package itself) for the 'code' element of your upgrade function.

        code => \&MT::Upgrade::core_update_records,
        updater => {
            class => 'MT::Foo',
            message => 'Updating Foo bars...',
            code => sub {
                my $foo = shift;
            condition => sub {
                my $foo = shift;
                !defined $foo->bar;
            sql => 'update mt_foo set foo_bar = 1 where foo_bar is null'

    This updater declaration is going to process all MT::Foo objects that are available, setting the 'bar' property to 1 if it hasn't been assigned a value already.

    Here's an overview of an 'updater' element:

    • class (required)

      The MT::Object-descendant class to be processed.

    • code (required)

      A coderef to execute for each record of the table. The parameter to this routine is the object being processed. Following the call to your subroutine, the object is saved for you, so you don't have to save the object yourself.

    • message (optional)

      The status message to display when running this upgrade operation.

    • condition (optional)

      A coderef to use to test whether the current object needs to be upgraded or not. This routine should return true if it is to be processed; false if not. It is given the object as a parameter.

    • sql (optional)

      If specified, and if MT is using a SQL-based database for storing data, this SQL statement is issued instead of doing the Perl-based row-by-row upgrade.

          sql => 'update mt_foo set foo_bar=1 where foo_bar is null'

      You may also specify multiple SQL statements using an array:

          sql => [
              'update mt_foo set foo_bar=1 where foo_bar is null',
              'update mt_foo set foo_baz=2 where foo_baz is null'

      WARNING: The 'sql' property is only meant to be used for cases where you can issue simple, cross-database SQL statements. It is not advised to use any vendor-specific SQL syntax. So, if you can't do that, don't specify the 'sql' element at all and instead use the 'code' element exclusively to do the upgrade operation.

The declarative style of upgrade functions make it possible for MT to fix itself, upgrading from any older schema version to the current one. Upgrade functions are selected through an introspection process, so any given upgrade operation may run a different selection of upgrade functions. As such, it is important that any upgrade functions be written with this in mind. Here are some general best practices to use when writing them:

  • Make them fast.

    Use the 'sql' element for a 'core_update_records' type upgrade function so that SQL-based databases can be upgraded in one pass.

  • Make them indepedent.

    Don't assume that any other upgrade operation will have run within the same application request. The upgrade process can run them in most any order and across multiple application requests. You do have a guarantee that a higher priority upgrade function will be run prior to a lower-priority upgrade function (ie, assigning a priority of 1 will ensure it will run before one with a priority of 2).

  • Limit them as much as possible.

    Specify a version_limit so it only runs for the proper schemas. Use the condition element to bypass objects or the upgrade step altogether when possible.

  • Repeating an upgrade function should be safe.

    This can be made possible through use of the 'condition' elements, bypassing objects that have already been processed (see how the 'core_create_placements' upgrade function declares conditions for an example).

  • Beware which translate method to call

    $self->translate_escape is for messages and phrases which appear on the progress screen (therefore they are sent in JSON). Use MT->translate to messages and phrases which directly stored in the database. Log messages and objects' attributes fall into this category.


Please see the MT manpage for author, copyright, and license information.