June 7, 2010

521 words 3 mins read

A possible migration to WordPress

Don’t get me wrong, Serendipity is a fine piece of software. It has served this blog and my needs well for the last 5 years. I’ve talked about it a number of times over those years. I’ve even migrated away and back to S9y. The problem is, it’s starting to feel a bit dated. I’ve noticed that over the last year or two, updates to S9y are getting more and more infrequent. I don’t believe that software needs to be constantly updated to be good, but this is the web and things change quickly. No updates = No news toys.

So I went searching for a replacement. So far I’m thinking WordPress is probably it. I’ve mucked about with WordPress briefly once before when helping Laura and the FanHistory Blog. Granted it was my only real experience with it, I discovered that I loathe (with a passion) the “White screen of death". Of course, a ton of people use WP, which includes (it seems) most of my savvy friends blogs (like Phoebe and Brion). Also I’ve found that WordPress (and it’s wide following) have made a TON of plugins and a TON of themes. Both of which appeal to me because I like to have the toys that I don’t have to program myself.

The current test environment on my Nexus One

The most important consideration in migrating to anything, is the ability to import S9y fully and completely. I found an S9y to WP import script which did a decent job. It wasn’t perfect, so I tinkered with a the code a bit and added some steps of my own and now it darn good. Most of the tinkering I did revolved around making the post ID’s line up from what they are now in S9y, that way I can do an easy redirect with mod_rewrite in Apache. Of course changing the post ID’s also requires changing where the comments point and the category mapping, but in the end that only took a few lines of SQL.

If you’re curious, you can actually check out the test site (Screen shot for posterity). I make no promises the test link will be properly working down the road. I’m nuking and re-loading the data repeatedly to get the import process as close to perfect as possible. Additionally, I installed the WPTouch plugin which provides a mobile site (something I’ve wanted for a LONG time). You can see the screen shot on left (or hit wp.snowulf.com in your mobile device). I’m really quite impressed because it provides a nice interface for easy to read blog entries and even includes comments. The good mobile interface is almost enough by itself to kick me into fully moving.

Before I do so, any comments from those who use WordPress? Yay or nay. I know there are security concerns (more popular the software, more abuse it gets ::cough::Windows::cough::). I guess I really don’t need much convincing to go forward with it (so I may well do so randomly this week). I’m just worried about the darkside. What evil lurks beneath the shiny web2.0ish exterior that is WordPress?