Moving to WordPress

So, the publishing function I use in Blogger is going away. I could continue to use Blogger, I suppose, after the deadline of 1 May 2010, but I’m not happy with a blogging solution that doesn’t let me publish on my own server and have access to the file system. Call me a grognard but that’s what I want, even if I’m not as technical and can’t make use of all of the cool stuff that having this level of access entails.

I’ve been meaning to switch my blogging software to WordPress for a while now; it’s open source and therefore allows me all the more chances to fuck up my blog in ways many and varied. I could customize to my heart’s content, tweaking each little individual feature for hours and hours. Do I want to customize the URLs for my posts? Sure! Do I want to tweak the “theme” and layout? OK! Do I want to add features based on my tags (called “categories” in WordPress)? Fine! And plug-ins galore.

The Blogger deadline, therefore, became my impetus to finally start figuring out WordPress and how to get my blog moved over. Ideally, I’d be able to export all my old posts and comments, and import them into the WordPress software, then republish using WordPress, using my style sheets and layouts and whatnot. Of course, there’s a little bit more to it than that, and in the meantime I’ve had the idea to redesign my blog and make it more standards-compliant, and and and… Of course, what could be a simple task is turning into a giant project with lots of individual pieces, all of which need to be done by me and only me.

And I have a month to do it. Nice.

I barely have the energy to write posts on a regular basis and now I expect myself to step up to all this? Who do I think I am?

I’m an unpublished writer. I’m a happy guy, lately. I’m the guy who loves learning new stuff, that’s who. And I’m the chief content provider, technical support, editor, publisher, research staff, and marketer for this here blog.

Yesterday, I began the process by installing a test version of WordPress on my main machine, the New Sexy Thing that’s no longer new but still sexy (to me), my trusty MacBook Pro. Which entailed installing MySQL and mucking about on the command line, too. And then tried using the “Import” feature of WordPress to simply move my posts over. It seemed too easy to be true, and sure enough, it was. I was using an “old” version of Blogger, one that WordPress didn’t support. I had to export my posts and then import them into a “new” Blogger blog, then import them. Figuring that out took several hours and lots of Google searches and several tries where some, but not all, of the posts would import and then freeze up. Ugh.

Eventually I got all my posts into WordPress. But not the comments. I have no idea how to import only my comments. Even though the help files say that any duplicate posts and comments are ignored if you keep trying, that only seems true for posts, and not comments. I can get about 50 of my comments imported (there are ~1200 total over the 6 years I’ve been blogging), and each subsequent attempt just duplicates those 50. Argh.

It makes me sad to contemplate losing the comments. I still have time. If anyone can help with sorting out the comments from an XML file and figuring out a way to attach them to the correct posts in WordPress, I would be much obliged.

Next steps are to find a theme or customize a theme that looks like Lunar Obverse. That shouldn’t be too hard. Then go through and make sure all the links in the old posts work, add titles to the posts that have no titles, and finally move all this over to my actual, internet-facing web server. No problem, right?

I’d like to find a way to consolidate some of my various social media outlets into one page, like a stream that shows all my Tweets, Flickr pictures, blog posts, Tumblr posts, things like my Runnkeeper updates, etc. That’s down the road, though.

You, the reader, won’t see any changes while I muck around, and I’ll give you a warning before I make the move, but let’s set a soft deadline of 1 May 2010 for all this to happen, OK?

And maybe once the mental pressure to switch is off me, I’ll start blogging again more frequently.