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Hmmm…Did Your Blog Get a Hair Cut?

If you’re seeing this in a browser, it’s fairly obvious that things look a bit different (and will continue to, as I play around with different templates). If you’re seeing this in your aggregator, you’re probably just irked that my feed is showing as new (sorry). Either way, things have changed. The cause is, of course, my migration from Movable Type to WordPress which came off more or less seamlessly. Here are a couple of thoughts on the switch:

  • Credit (or, With Friends Like These):
    Because he’s not just the #1 ranked Technorati celebrity (as pictured), but a very good guy, Alex was kind enough to tell me that I could have pulled this migration off on my own. As far as the actual migration part goes, he’s right: migrating a blog to WordPress is really pretty straightforward, and I’d already done that on a local instance. But that’s only a portion of the challenge of migrating. The real difficulty come in what follows the migration: preserving your all important (especially for us) Google juice by repointing MT entries at their WordPress counterparts, knowing how to update WordPress w/ plugins to make it easy to work with, adapting to the new and fairly different WordPress templating system. While I might have figured out how to do some of this all by myself, it would have taken eons and I would not have bothered with half of it. Alex however was kind enough to lend his considerable talents to our cause, for which I can’t thank him enough. He, far more than me, is responsible for this migration. And that doesn’t even acknowledge his contributions to the WordPress community with the fixes and plugins he’s developed not just for me but any WordPress user, which are considerable. So let me publically thank Alex, and tell other WordPress users that if you’re looking for help with the platform, I highly suggest you give him a call and ask for his rates. He’s just that good.

  • The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same:
    Movable Type and WordPress are as similar as they are different, and you should see that. Those of you simply consuming the feed should see the one time update to my feed, and that’s about all that’ll change for you. Visitors to the website, either for browsing or commenting purposes, should notice a small army of changes: lots more dynamic functionality, even more niggling errors (the About page and Last.fm plugin are vexing me at the moment), and generally speaking a far more vibrant and evolving platform/site.

    Your observations about either bugs, or things you like or dislike, are as always very welcome.

  • Things To Know About Switching:
    It’s far, far easier than you think. For my migration, I’ve actually deployed WordPress in parallel to my existing MT directory with no real issues apart from some fighting over the homepage (both MT and WordPress publish were publishing index.php pages, so the fix was telling MT to cut that out). Because MT – to their credit – provides an easy Export function and WordPress easily copes with the import, the actual setup is a snap. If you’re concerned, as I was, with anyone who’s linked to your MT entries in the past, or your search ranking, don’t sweat it: Alex has you covered. And worst case scenario? You remove WordPress and republish your entries and you’ll be right back where you were.

    If it’s not quite a no pain migration, it’s very close to it.

  • Things That Are Easy to Forget:
    The devil in the migration, as with most things, is in the details. Thankfully, I had Alex there to remind me of everything I forgot. FeedBurner is a perfect example: once you’ve cut over, if you use FeedBurner you’ll need to tell it where to find your new feed (and thanks to Sam, mine is Atom 1.0). My del.icio.us daily blog posting is another; it was set up to publish my links to the MT blog on a daily basis, and I needed to have it point at WordPress instead (still not sure if I have this completely correct). You’ll also need to update your new templates with anything non-standard; advertising and so on.

  • Things That I Like So Far:
    I previously mentioned community as one of the differentiating features of WordPress, and so far I’m finding that true. There are literally hundreds of potential themes and plugins to pick from, and I appreciate that flexibility. Also, in the early going the combination of Akismet and Bad Behavior have kept my comment spam to a minimum; which is very rewarding considering the continual flood of spam we continue to get aimed at our MT instance.

  • Things That I Don’t Like So Far:
    The one feature I wish WordPress had that MT does is the notion of centralized blogs. I’d hoped that WordPress Multiuser (WPMU) would provide for the ability to easily adminster all of the instances blogs much as I can with WordPress, because technical interest in manipulating blogs varies from person to person, but even WPMU doesn’t seem to be designed with that in mind. It seems focused, rather, on making it easy for new users to create blogs, which doubtless is important for properties like wordpress.com but is not the use case we require.

  • What’s Next:
    Personally, I have to settle on a single template and update it with our Google and TLA ads (currently earning us three figures per month) as well as a few other goodies. On a RedMonk wide basis, I have to distill out the lessons learned from my migration, and determine a roadmap for the future migration of Cote and James’ properties – hopefully within a week or so. You should be hearing from them on the topic shortly, as I work with them to determine when they’ll be cutting over.

    Longer term, I’d like to place all of our installations under the control of a SCM system, probably Subversion although I’ll also consider DSCM’s like Bazaar, git, or Mercurial. That’s a problem for another day, however, as my primary concern at this time is the migration and streamlining our very primitive backup processes.

And that’s all for now, folks. More updates as events warrant.

Categories: RedMonk Miscellaneous.

  • rick gregory

    Congratulations on the move. Only two comment so far – 1) the full justification on the body copy makes it a bit hard to read. Left justify maybe? 2) When I click the Comments link the page just seems to refresh since the comment form is (for this entry) below the fold. It’s not obvious that the post now has a comment form at the bottom. It’s odd link behavior since it does not seem to take you anywhere when what the visitor wants is to see the comments for the post.

  • Danno

    HOLY SHINKES!

    Looking nice Sog!

    Your “Listening” plugin thing is broken though, gotta bunch of MySQL errors.

  • http://www.michaeldolan.com Mike Dolan

    Welcome to WordPress! Have you noticed any improvements in spam blocking yet?

  • http://meat.net/ dbt

    Spam Karma 2 is the place to be for spam blockin’. Looks nice in your new digs.

  • http://www.redmonk.com/jgovernor James Governor

    coolness. can you imagine a developer giving their time for free to Gartner?

    anyway to set this to remember deets, make it easier for people to comment.

    so its wasn’t too bad, eh?

  • http://hiddenchemistry.com Peter Parkes

    Your ‘things I like’ and ‘things I don’t like’ are spot on — I’m very much a WordPress user, and was recently impressed with MT’s ability to handle multiple blogs with ease.

    Still, the ability to tinker with PHP, and create cool features almost on-demand (and also partly the fact that I can’t write Perl) makes WP my platform of choice.

  • sogrady

    Rick: thx for the feedback. soon as i settle on the template i’ll see if i can fix those issues.

    Danno: yeah, no idea what the problem was, but i’ve taken the simpler route of just integrating the RSS feed from Last.fm instead. thx for the tip.

    Mike: yes, without a doubt. no spam as near as i can tell has made it through yet, and i’ve had only one false positive. i’ll have a better idea of how this functions over time, but for now it seems to be working very well.

    dbt: will have to give that a look, and appreciate the compliment (though you should really be thanking the theme designers ;)

    James: no idea on the form persistence: thought it handled that but will give it another look. but no, migration was really not too bad.

    Peter: yeah, the multi-user bit is clearly an advantage for MT, but i’m in agreement that it’s outweighed by everything else WP has going for it.

  • http://alexking.org Alex

    James wrote:

    coolness. can you imagine a developer giving their time for free to Gartner?

    True enough, but it’s all just coming back around. Can you imagine Gartner giving free market advice to an independent developer? :)

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