I’ve finally done away with my ancient asp.net 2.0 thedatafarm.com that I hadn’t paid any attention to in many years and with it also moved my blog (an early version of graffitiCMS that was starting to act up).
Both are now set up as a WordPress app which was fun to configure with plugins and widgets and not too challenging since I have played with WordPress a bit on behalf of my mom.
So this will be easier for me to maintain and add in modern goodies like the social links.
I’m grateful to a number of people who’s resources helped or inspired me:
Picking a Blog Engine
Many folks on twitter recommended their favorite blog engine. I considered Orchard, the new Ghost blog and initially thought I did not want to use WordPress. My pal Daniel Marbach worked on me on twitter for a while, mystified why I was a brick wall about my anti-Wordpress stance. (He gets the last laugh!) Ghost is new. It will run on Windows Azure. But I was staying with orcsweb (via Cytanium) and that was not an option. Michele Bustamante is loving Ghost on her new site michelebusta.com. Sebastien Ros, from Microsoft, who works on Orchard, was very supportive, even offering to do the big 10 year, 4200 blog post conversion for me. In the end, Steve Smith said two words that swayed me back to WordPress: automatic updates. Yeah I love the ease of one button click wordpress and plugin updates.
Picking a Host
I’ve been very fortunate to have my site hosted by orcsweb.com for many years. While they are one of the highest-end hosts for ASP.net sites and pricey (but oh so worth it), they had offered me free hosting as a benefit of being an ASPInsider. Otherwise, it would have been overkill for my wee web site. But thanks to the gratis hosting, I get the benefits that orcsweb has to offer. Orcsweb has a spin-off company for people like me …don’t need the power (or expense) of the premier hosting, but still want the benefit of their experience, dependibility and great customer support: Cytanium.com. So they offered to host my site on Cytanium which also sports the Microsoft Web App Gallery for auto creating websites using frameworks like Orchard and WordPress. There are about 100 apps to choose from to install from the gallery. Setting up a new WordPress site was a snap.
Migrating 10 years worth of blogging
I have over 4000 blog posts and didn’t want to lose them. I found four resources that made this possible.
- Jef Kazimer‘s blog post on his Graffiti to WordPress migration was very helpful.
- Jon Sagara‘s Graffiti to BlogML tool. It’s just a small project that you can download and run in Visual Studio. I made one tweak to the code which was to handle some issues with the way it tried to emulate the blog URLs based on the titles. I had lots of quotations in those titles. In the end, I didn’t even need those URLs becasue I figured out how to get WordPress to format URLs just the same as they were formatted in the graffiti so my links should all (or mostly all) work. And I got the tool to create valid XML. I pointed the connection string to my sql server database and it processed all of the blog posts and comments in a matter of minutes!
- Once the posts are in BlogML format there is a WordPress plugin, BlogML Importer (which works fine with WordPress 3.8), that does the conversion.
- However it has a limit of 2MB file imports. Searching for a solution, I couldn’t believe that it was my own old Vermont pal, Dave Burke, who presented the solution Importing a Big Honkin’ BlogML.xml Into WordPress . I followed his instructions to a T and was able to pull in all of my posts and comments in 7 smaller files.
And some marketing
I left my blog in a /blog subfolder so that I can continue to have a main page on thedatafarm.com to let folks know that, as a consultant, I do like (and need) to work for a living. It is all just one big wordpress site. Well, really a small one. The other stuff, home page, etc , are just static pages.
I’m using a bunch of plugins. Since they are free, the least I can do is give them a nod: