Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Tuesday November 27 2012

As of late last night, and for I don’t know how much longer before that, this blog was out of action.  An error message involving database corruption greeted all those coming here.  The Guru was immediately emailed, and very quickly he had the problem licked.  Deepest thanks to him, and apologies if you tried to visit during the outage.  Thanks for trying again.

As it happens, I have in mind to relaunch this blog, in a matter of months rather than weeks, as a Wordpress blog rather than using what it uses now, which is Expression Engine.  The circumstance prompting this is that Samizdata, Real Soon Now, is getting a makeover, which will, I am told, involve Samizdata switching to using Wordpress.  This is very good news for Samizdata, and will surely unleash many improvements.

Now that Wordpress is clearly the market leader for blogging software, I thought I’d switch to Wordpress for here also.  That way, I will use only one software package, and hopefully I’ll be able to do a whole lot of things here that I can’t do now.

The only reason I picked Expression Engine in the first place is because, or such is my recollection, there was a plan for Samizdata to switch to Expression Engine.  That never happened, but meanwhile that was what I went with.  Very inconvenient.

Anyone who thinks Wordpress is a bad idea, please tell me why, now.

I think Wordpress is a good idea. There’s also a good case for having your site hosted on Wordpress.com, rather than a DIY installation. They will keep everything up to date and bug free. Restoring from backup in the event of catastrophe should be a mouse-click on a web page. You get various features such as site statistics for free that otherwise require work to set up.

About the only thing you might not like is that since Wordpress is very actively maintained (good) they have a tendency to revamp the interface once in a while. It’s never been anything too dramatic in the past, though, and I find the Wordpress interface very good. It saves drafts as you type, for one thing. Even on DIY installations upgrading to the latest version is usually a single mouse click. The alternative, not upgrading, causes worse problems, like security and spam problems.

Posted by Rob Fisher on 27 November 2012

Ok, forget what I said about Wordpress.com and backups. I just looked and I didn’t see anything offered more than a normal Wordpress installation, which is a click to download a backup file to your local computer. But anyway, Wordpress.com is at least worth investigating as an option.

Posted by Rob Fisher on 27 November 2012

Wordpress is an excellent idea; have been using it since 2008 and have no major issues with it so far.
They even have an option of archiving your old blog -although comments, sadly, will not be saved.

Posted by Tatyana on 28 November 2012

Tatyana

Thanks very much for that.  Especially about the comments.  If I can’t keep them, I should be very disappointed.  Often they are better than the original posting.

What I now incline towards is making make http://www.brianmicklethwait.com the front end of a new blog.  I would change the front end of this blog.  http://www.brianmickelthwait.com/index already gets you here, I think, so that might be the simple answer.  And from then on, http://www.brianmicklethwait.com will get you to the new place.  That way, everything in the old blog would remauin exactly as is, with all links to postings in it continuing to work.  And with a nice big final posting directing everyone to the new place.  A retreat in good order from Expression Engine, you might say.

So question: can Wordpress preserve the old comments, in a new archive, and in such a way that the old links to the postings still function smoothly?  I doubt this very much, and anyway, why bother.  Why not just leave everything as it is?  Where would be the downside of that?

These comments are already proving very helpful, and are a perfect example of why I am determined to preserve them.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2012

Also, much of my best writing is in your comments.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 29 November 2012

I have to amend what I said about archiving old blog @Wordpress.com with the following excerpt from their Import page:

“If you have posts or comments in another system, WordPress can import those into this site. To get started, choose a system to import from below:
Blogger Import posts, comments, and users from a Blogger blog.
Blogroll Import links in OPML format.
Categories and Tags Converter Convert existing categories to tags or tags to categories, selectively.
Israblog Import posts, comments, and attachments from an Israblog backup file
LiveJournal Import posts from LiveJournal using their API.
Movable Type and TypePad Import posts and comments from a Movable Type or TypePad blog
Posterous Import posts, comments, tags, and attachments from a Posterous.com blog.
Splinder Import posts, comments, and categories from a Splinder export file.
Tumblr Import posts from a Tumblr blog into your WordPress.com blog.
WordPress Import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from a WordPress export file.
Yahoo! 360 Import posts and comments from a Yahoo! 360 blog

Posted by Tatyana on 30 November 2012

Thanks again Tatyana.

The other issue is whether, after all this importation has gone on, the links from other places to old postings here would still function.  I very much want those to go on working.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 30 November 2012

Looking into my own archive (I separated the import into simple chronological categories by year) - they do go on working. See, for instance, year 2007.
The only ones that fail are to the photo storage site that since has collapsed along with all my photos trusted to its care.

Posted by Tatyana on 30 November 2012
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