Welcome to the new and improved Nelz.net!
I started this blog way back in the beginning of 2007. At the time, I wanted more than just a blog host, I wanted a host where I could deploy other Java webapps if I felt the need. (For other side projects, y’know.) Following the lead of Matt Raible, I chose KGBInternet to host a Roller (which wasn’t then, but is now an Apache project) blog instance. Keith, the proprietor of KGBInternet, is incredibly responsive and I’d have to say that his service was a great $20/month host where you get full command-line access and control over your JVM/Tomcat instances.
A couple of months ago, I decided to critically look how I use my different online providers.
I had been maintaining a cheap, $5/month GeekISP account for personal data SVN hosting/backup. Since most of my projects are Open Source (and usually hosted on Google Code), I realized I wasn’t really using my account, so I dropped it.
And when I critically looked at my usage of KGBInternet, I realized that I was only using it for maintaining my blog. That’s $240 (Candian) bucks per year for blog hosting, which could be done for much less by another provider. So, I decided to drop that account.
Getting Data Out Of Roller
The biggest problem I had was trying to get my blog content out of Roller. There is no “Export” functionality, which frustrated me to no end. I found a posts with a tutorial on how to export directly from the database, but that wouldn’t work from me because 1) I didn’t want to go through a PHP export process, and 2) my db entries are all in JSPWiki markup (via the Roller JSPWiki plugin). I found another post showing how to get my data out using Roller templates, but that wasn’t going to specifically work for me, since I wasn’t going to be hosting my own Wordpress install. However, the concept of using the built-in Roller template capabilities had a bunch of potential.
At this point, I wasn’t yet sure if I was going to end up using Wordpress.com or Blogger. My investigations proved that Blogger only likes to import/export in their own format, for which I could find no documentation. Wordpress however has several import capabilities, so I figured I’d target Wordpress, and maybe use some of the community Wordpress –> Blogger converters if I needed to move my stuff over to there.
Wordpress has its own WordPress eXtended RSS (WXR) syntax, but it’s not easy to get a definitive format information. Wordpress will import from a MoveableType export file, which is actually very well-documented. This is what basically decided me on moving to Wordpress, at least for the time being…
By referring to both the MoveableType documentation and the Roller templating guide, I was able to create the following template:
1 #set($pager = $model.getWeblogEntriesPager()) 2 #set($map = $pager.getEntries()) 3 #foreach( $day in $map.keySet()) 4 #set($entries = $map.get($day)) 5 #foreach( $entry in $entries ) 6 TITLE: $entry.title 7 AUTHOR: nelz9999 8 DATE: $utils.formatDate($entry.pubTime, "MM/dd/yyyy HH:mm:ss") 9 CATEGORY: $entry.category.name 10 ----- 11 BODY: 12 $entry.transformedText 13 #foreach( $comment in $entry.comments ) 14 ----- 15 COMMENT: 16 #if ("$comment.name" != "") 17 AUTHOR: $comment.name 18 #end 19 DATE: $utils.formatDate($comment.postTime, "MM/dd/yyyy HH:mm:ss") 20 #if ("$comment.email" != "") 21 EMAIL: $comment.email 22 #end 23 #if ("$comment.url" != "") 24 URL: $comment.url 25 #end 26 $comment.content 27 ----- 28 #end 29 -------- 30 #end 31 #end
One of the keys in the above template is Line #12. Instead of using “$entry.text”, I use “$entry.transformedText”, which applies all the JSPWiki formatting. (And, if you’re copy/pasting this template, be sure to update the “AUTHOR:” tag on Line #7 to something appropriate for you…) Keep in mind that this gets you one page of (published, not draft) content at a time, as defined by the “Number of entries to display on weblog” parameter in the Preferences –> Settings tab. You get to later pages of data by appending “?page=X” (0 being the default) to the URL: “http://nelz.net/roller/nelz/page/moveabletype.tmpl?page=1”.
It is then a simple matter of doing a “wget” for each page: “wget http://nelz.net/roller/nelz/page/moveabletype.tmpl?page=1 -O page1.txt”. If you have lots of posts, I’d recommend upping your entries/page setting, so you have less individual files to manage, but also beware of your file sizes getting too big… I left my entries/page setting at 10, and I ended up managing 14 files. Had I set it to 50 entries/page, it would have been only 3 files.
But, now you’ve got most of your content (not images and stuff tho) in a portable format!
Getting Data Into Wordpress
After creating my Wordpress.com account, it was pretty simple to get the data in, via the Tools –> Import menu. Now, I had 138 posts in Draft status. I tried using the bulk edit –> publish tool, but for some reason that wasn’t working for me. I published a couple by hand, but then I remembered back to something Neil Ford said at a conference I attended: “our computers get together and laugh at us at night because we keep doing their (repetitive task) jobs for them…” Well, I’ll be damned if I let my computer laugh at me!!
So, I popped open SeleniumIDE, and created a quick little automation to approve all the drafts in my queue, a single iteration of which looks like this:
<tr> <td>open</td> <td>/wp-admin/edit.php?post_status=draft</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>click</td> <td>link=Quick Edit</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>select</td> <td>_status</td> <td>label=Published</td> </tr> <tr> <td>click</td> <td>link=Update Post</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>waitForText</td> <td>//img[@alt='More stats']</td> <td></td> </tr>
This worked swimmingly, and in 30 minutes or so, I published nearly 140 posts “by hand”. :-D
Getting to know Wordrpress
Things that I like about Wordpress:
- It is a much better interface than Roller
- “Pages”. I also use my blog as a place to keep an online version of my resume, and Pages allow me to exactly do that without having to use a ‘regular’ blog post that I update over time.
- Wordpress automagically figures out how to map the old Roller URLs to the new ones. I was getting quite a few links to some of my recent posts, and I really happy that the links floating around the web-o-sphere will still work. (E.g. ”http://nelz.net/roller/nelz/entry/velocity_conference_recap” ends up on the page ”http://nelz.net/2009/06/25/velocity-conference-recap/”.)
- Setting up my own domain was absolutely painless.
Things that I haven’t yet decided on:
- You can’t use Google Analytics on a Wordpress.com blog, but they do provide some of their own stats (and there are several other options as well). I haven’t yet decided if it’s better to have the stats easily available in my blog admin, or if I’d have preferred to keep all my analytics stuff together in Google.
- I haven’t yet purchase the $30/yr no ads upgrade. I haven’t seen any ads on my site as it is, so I’m not sure if I will actually need it?
- No specific control over robots.txt. Whereas I want 99% of my blog public, I want to prohibit Google from picking up my resume, ‘cuz I kinda hate cold-calls from recruiters (but maybe I’m just being silly).
- Some of the formatting (especially on the preformatted code sections) got lost in the migration… I’ll try to go back to the most used ones to reformat.
- I gotta update that resume of mine.
- Once I’ve been up on Wordpress for a week or two, I’ll actually cancel my account with KGBInternet.