The WordPress 2.3 interfaceI’m still working my way through a ton of small issues with my new site, but I’m really happy with what I’ve got so far, and where I am right now compared to where the site was a couple of weeks ago. At this point I’m done with the small fiddles and I’m actually creating content in WordPress quite happily!

It’s taken me the better part of a month to get to where I am right now. I’ve imported nearly eight years of content from two separate publishing tools, creating and modifying categories and content types over from the previous systems. I’m also in the process of importing nearly 600 comments from the past three years (via the old HeadsDown Chronicology powered blog).

Here’s the process I took moving from both Blogger and a home-spun CMS over to WordPress.

Step 1: Import from Blogger to WordPress

This step took care of all of my content from 2001 – 2004. It SHOULD have been pretty simple, but turned out to require an extra step. In a perfect world one just goes to Manage > Import and selects “Import from Blogger”, unfortunately there was a problem getting my server to authenticate with Blogger. There are ways around this, but I found an even quicker way.

I already had a wordpress.com account, so I did the importing into there, and then I exported FROM that WordPress install and imported the new WordPress file into my new WordPress install. I instantly had about 600 posts, but they were mostly formatted weirdly (due to the way that I originally posted to Blogger back in the pre-Web Standards day), so I’ve had to go through and clean them all up manually.

Step 2: Importing content from home brewed system to WordPress

Since 2004 I’ve been on the EasyUpdating content management system from HeadsDown, a home brewed CMS that was built by Ryan and I. It’s pretty slick as it puts all of the content into an Access database, and stamps out flat files to create the actual content. On the website users are accessing a file system. On the publishing point users input their content into the database. This kind of scalability worked wonders at TSN where we flattened 90% of the pages on the site to reduce database load. EasyUpdating is an awesome system, but now that we’ve got the bugs mostly out of it, we want to focus on retail users, not on bloggers for which there are a host of other tools better suited.

I took the access database from the old Chronicology and joined the headlines and categories tables, and exported the results as an XML file. Then I went through that XML file and reformatted it into RSS 2.0. From there it was a simple Import job to bring all of that content in to WordPress.

There’s no quick way to import comments from my home-spun comment system, so thus far I’ve been manually adding comments in as I get time.

Pictures are another one that is going to be mostly manual, and will involve me actually going through my content to decide which posts I even want to have pictures associated with. For the most part I’m okay with pictures being relegated to only new posts with a few cool archival exceptions.

Next time on “My adventures in WordPress”, my top 10 plugin list and later still my top 3 WordPress themes (as well as why I’m using the one I am, and what I plan on incorporating into my first theme).

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