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Today i had to Typo3

Lets start with a little disclaimer. Yes i am biased, i never really liked to work with Typo3, especially because it always feels like “why would they abstract this to a complete new scripting language?”. But every bashing comes to a point where you have to question if it probably got better or if it still sucks.

I accepted for myself that i am not one of those human who is able to understand typoscript. I mean there never has been a language before which i worked so much with without getting atleast a bit of understanding. Never. I’ve had better results with C#, Lolcode and other crazy languages out there, but really no result at all with Typoscript.

But well let it be, my co-workers accepted that as well and i never had to see it again. But today a different request came in. Updating Typo3. I mean really how hard can it be? I’ve updated 5 year old wordpress installation without bigger problems, probably need to replace one or two plugins. I mean Typo3 is around for so long, and so many people using it. There must be a very smart update mechanism to make sure users are able to have a current, therefore often more secure and stable, version running.

But no, they do not.

For those who wonder, it currently runs on 4.5 LTS and needs to get to 6.2 LTS. For those who don’t know it, this is just the next LTS version. Really nothing special at all. There is no version 5.anything, i am to afraid to ask why not.

Luckily my co-worker could provide me a 78 pages big PDF slideshow that shows me how to do that simple task.

It starts reasonable. First make a copy of your current installation and database in order to don’t break the running system. Good idea i soon learned to see. While this could be a easy task for a CMS they require you to do this manually, but well ok. Thats not that bad so far.

Now remove extensions you don’t use or want anymore. Again reasonable step. Then you need to manually clear some databases, not all, just some, not that they would mention that anywhere. I guess most people who work with typo3 know the database perfectly so no issue here.

Then it got interesting and kind of abstract. It tells me i should upgrade the plugins (first i needed to find out that you have to manually sync the extension list in a different screen) whether they work with the current installation or not. I did that, i installed Powermail 2.2, but what happened next was just a damn surprise.

It worked for a while and then redirected me to a site that listed each damn file in that plugin as “could not create!!!” (yes really 3 fucking exclamation marks, felt like a 13yo is shouting at me.). Now where everything is broken, obviously, i mean how could a enterprise software like this not break when installing a extension goes a bit wrong?, i could not open the extension module from Typo3 anymore in order to try installing it manually again after i changed the chmod.

Well i figured if i cant use the web interface to install plugins, i probably just can throw the new files into the old directory.

After googling for a while to realize that there extension format is nothing interchangeable with .zip or .tar like any reasonable person would have done but a little something that has command line specific tool from typo3 to extract. In PHP.

Sure, why not, i am installing PHP locally, extracting this plugin (what surprisingly worked without any problems) i placed the files on the plugin directory in the web server just to find out that this does not work ether.

Yes people, a currupt or unexpected extension file is able to make a whole typo3 installation completely unusable. I installed the extension from the Typo3 UI, in my opinion something like this is not supposed to happen.

It now links to files that don’t exist, i have no idea why. As far as i know for now this happened:

  • - I did everything like it is supposed to work and did work for others.
  • - Came to the point where i had to update the “Powermail” extension.
  • - Proceeded even thought the wizard told me it wont work with this Typo3 version, because apparently that is how it works.
  • - Everything is broken now.

Clearly this is fixable somehow, but the last 2 hours have been the my worst experience for 2015 yet.

Lets just hope this cant get worse, but we all know this was just the first of like 30 plugins, and if that is done the update is still not done. Wish me luck, i am going to dig deeper now, hopefully i will come back one day, without being to wounded. @Future employees, no i don’t want to get involved into your typo3 projects.

Lets just hope that neo thing they are creating is getting better…


Written: 06.01.2015
Keywords: cms, php, typo3, update


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About me

My name is Roman Pramberger, i am a 20something years old developer from Austria, spending my youth in Bern, Switzerland. I spend my days creating *things.

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