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I’m Baaaaaaack!!!!!

By Brian | July 10, 2008 | Share on Facebook

So, how long does it take to move a blog from Google’s Blogger tool to WordPress?

Well, I don’t really know, but I’m here to tell you that it can take 38 days, if you’re crazy enough to do what I did.  See, Blogger’s FTP functionality suddenly stopped working for me in mid-June.  After weeks of frustration (and a total lack of support from Blogger, by the way), I finally made the mental leap that I was going to have to move my blog.  Based on what I’d read online, I decided to use the WordPress application, which is a free, open source system available at wordpress.org.  And that’s where the fun begins.

A pause before I go on:  for those who are not technical, suffice it to say that this was a long, arduous process (the things I do for you folks…), and I’m very, very glad to be back & blogging.  I strongly suggest you move on to the next post at this point.

For those to whom the term “geek” is a compliment, however, feel free to click through the break to read the gory details of how this all came to be…

Still here?  Excellent.  Just between us, those people who didn’t click through are wimps.  Don’t tell them I said so, but I’ve always liked you people better than them.  Ssshhh – our secret.  Anyway, on to the story:

First, there was the matter of setting up a mysql database to hold my blog’s data.  My site is hosted by Yahoo! GeoCities, which I’ve been very happy with over the years.  My first attempt to setup a database failed, however, because I used my Yahoo! username as my database admin id.  Yahoo’s software will let you do that, you see, but when you try to logon, you receive an error.  A call to their tech support revealed the problem, and they deleted the database for me on their side so I could try again.  The second attempt worked.

Next was the migration.  Blogger stores all of its content in HTML, not a database.  So, despite generous help from Ilya of Burlaki on the Thames, I was unable to do this with SQL.  Instead, I copied all of the Blogger HTML into Microsoft Excel, and then wrote a text-manipulation macro to format the data into WordPress’ SQL table format.  Pretty damn clever, if I may say so myself.

Alas, while that got the posts into the database, WordPress still wasn’t entirely happy.  The table that stores the posts works in conjunction with a table called “wp_postmeta,” which contains a seemingly random value called “metavalue” for each post.  Without that value, the post appears, but doesn’t show up in searches, archives, and several internal dashboard functions.  Since I couldn’t figure out (or Google) a way to simulate this value, I had to manually open and re-save each post.  That’s right – I manually edited 687 posts.  On the upside, I decided I might as well categorize them, so if you click over to the right, you can see all of my Technology posts or my ISBS Reviews or whatever.

When that ordeal was over, I moved on to the comments.  Here, the situation was even worse.  Not only are the Blogger comments not in the database, they’re also not in convenient archive files like the posts are.  So, the only way to get the comments out (and we’re talking about 989 of them!), was to manually open each post and then cut & paste the text of each comment into an Excel spreadsheet that matched the layout of WordPress’ comments table, and then upload the spreadsheet.  And if that’s not enough to give you carpal tunnel syndrome, I quickly realized that every time Jeff Porten quoted me over the years by italicizing my text, I had to manually go back and add the “<i>” tags in Excel, so they would show up that way in the comments going forward.  Ditto for every time someone put a hyperlink in their comments, etc., etc.

Once all the data was loaded, there was the little matter of the site layout.  I experimented first with a fluid width theme (which means the middle column of the site gets wider & narrower as you re-size your browser), but that didn’t play well on non-Internet Explorer browsers and, quite frankly, didn’t really look as good as it sounded.  After receiving feedback to that effect from Jeff, Ilya, Jason Bennion and Michael Weinmayr, I went shopping for a fixed width WordPress theme.  The one I settled on is called Ad Clerum, which means “To the clergy,” and is actually designed for churches and the like (you can see a sample of the original theme here).  I made quite a few edits, including some original photoshopped artwork to make the site my own.

On the whole, I think it came out pretty nice, but I’m certainly interested in whatever feedback any of you have.  Heck, it sure took me long enough to get here…

Topics: Blogging about Blogs, Tech Talk | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “I’m Baaaaaaack!!!!!”

  1. Online Reviews » Blog Archive » I’m Baaaaaaack!!!!! says at July 10th, 2008 at 5:04 am :
    [...] Original post by FamilyGreenberg.Com [...]

  2. Ilya says at July 10th, 2008 at 12:34 pm :
    Hooray hundred times over! And that’s an unbelievable dedication from you, Brian! If my migration did not work on the db-to-db level, I might have said “to hell with it” and just kept the old posts in their original place…

    By the way, “Ad clerum” was one of my finalists, but I have a bit of a problem with very small fonts. Looks pretty good, nonetheless!

  3. Brian says at July 10th, 2008 at 4:46 pm :
    Thanks, Ilya. To be honest, I liked your theme too, but didn’t want to choose it, lest we both have identical looking blogs…

    Now I need to work on driving traffic like you do – you seem to have quite a stable of frequent readers/commenters over there lately. What’s up with that?

  4. jason says at July 10th, 2008 at 5:21 pm :
    Hey, Brian, good to have you back on the air! I was going to reply to your email today with some feedback, but you beat me to the punch by going live. And anyhow, the short version of the feedback was just “looks good.”

    In the words of Edward James Olmos in Blade Runner, “you’ve done a man’s job, sir.” I.e., you’ve gone to a helluva lot of work and I’m impressed with your fortitude…

  5. Brian says at July 10th, 2008 at 7:36 pm :
    Thanks, Jason. If you’ve written the e-mail, feel free to send it anyway. As you can see, I don’t mind doing little tweaks over long periods of time… ;-)

  6. Ilya says at July 11th, 2008 at 8:13 am :
    Brian, if you go back to my post of about a month ago titled “How my corner of blogosphere…”, you will see that I unwittingly got co-opted into a group of virtual friends, each with their own blog. They, together with you and Jason, now constitute my regular audience…

  7. FamilyGreenberg.Com - Familygreenberg.com Health Check - July Edition says at August 11th, 2008 at 2:24 pm :
    [...] that I’ve lived through the dark times where my blog wasn’t functional at all, I’m happy to return to my regular [...]

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