I have been asked if its possible to upgrade from CE 188.8.131.52 to a later version of CE ideally 1.9
I know this is a big leap from a very old version, I reckon 7 years old,
do I have to do this in version steps?
What are the gotcha's
As far as I know its a fairly basic build, no exotic extras etc.
can anyone help?
Yes possible but take lots of effort as in previous 1.3 used EAV structure and now mostly convert to flat tables for performnace and introduce so many things so needs to make exitings tables compatible with latest version; once it managed then becomes easy for others things (extensions). Also it depends on extension which you've used into your version; those also need to upgrade as per latest source.
Hope it helps you
i guess some simple way is to export everything and then import into the new version.
From the magento docs - you would have to upgrade to 1.7 first, then 1.9.
CE 1.4 or earlier - Your current CE version > CE 1.7 > CE 184.108.40.206
You're going to have a lot of testing to do, especially if you use custom modules. Verify that there are updates to those modules that are compatible with newer Magento.
I updated to 1.9.2 when it came out a couple days ago, as far as I know there is still an issue with static blocks being cached that causes them to render randomly in place of each other. You'll need to make app/code/local copies of a few files and patch them in order to use the Block_Html cache if your current theme uses static blocks. I used this solution and it worked great.