Monday, 4 April 2005

From Blogger to Wordpress

I stumbled upon Minima Plus, a Wordpress template by Theron Parlin that was, just like the template that I use on Delta Sierra Arts, a variant of Douglas Bowman's Minima template for Blogger. That was all the incentive I needed to try out Wordpress, since I knew I didn't have to painstakingly recreate my CSS stylesheets.

I wanted to port to Wordpress for three big reasons: categories, trackback, and future posting, none of which are implemented in Blogger. (There are hacks to put categories into Blogger, and I've received some advice on that front, but it's just so much uglier than a pure implementation.) Categories are really useful for people who wanted just to look at, say, only posts on film. And future posting lets me space out the timing of posts, since I tend to work in bursts.

So here's my experience: I must say Wordpress 1.5 was a quick, easy install. The whole thing took about 20 minutes, and that was including checking my e-mail and other stuff while the Blogger import was taking place. Sadly, I've lost all my old comments (well, not quite: the old Blogger version still resides here).

The harder part came later: I wanted to import my review blog into Wordpress, but I wanted to make it so that links to the old reviews (which exist on IMDB and Blogcritics) would still find their way to the new version. In the end, I realised that Wordpress uses almost all PHP files, not HTML. So what I did was make the Wordpress permalink format approximate the Blogger one as closely as possible (so that dsng.net/arts/2004/05/whatever/ in Wordpress would be the link to the same post content as dsng.net/arts/2004/05/whatever.html), then performed an Apache mod_rewrite to strip the trailing ".html" from any URI that referenced the 'arts' directory and replaced it with a "/". Quick and dirty, but I like it.

So, on to my quick first impressions of things that I like about using Wordpress instead of Blogger, besides the aforementioned Big 3:
  • All files reside on my server, unlike Blogger, where everything goes through blogger.com. Going through blogger.com sometimes makes things excruciatingly slow, and leads to the repeat-post problem: you click "publish" a few times because nothing seems to show up, and then 5 versions of the same thing appear. And hopefully the phenomenon of hitting "Publish Post" and then losing everything I've typed will disappear. This is really, really great.
  • Easier control over templates. Just editing them and testing how they look is so much faster, since there's no need to republish everything.
  • Built in blogroll function. Not necessary, since there's always Blogrolling, but its nice.
Things I still like about Blogger:
  • I prefer the WYSIWYG editor interface - simple things like hitting Ctrl-I to italicise. I suppose I'll get used to the Wordpress one.
  • Comment spam seems to be a problem with Wordpress blogs from what I gather, although there are plugins that work on that. Have turned on comment moderation just to be safe.
  • Blogger's tie-in with Google seems to create more hits, and I like hearing from random people who search for reviews of movies or music and stumble onto my site.
  • Less egoistically, the link with Google means Blogger has a really easy to use search function, especially since I use my blog as an outboard brain. From the Googlebar, all I have to do is type in what I was thinking of, and even without the site:dsng.net qualifier, Google usually returns what I want. So for dsng.net, which is my main repository of my random thoughts, I think I'm sticking to Blogger...
Any thoughts from people who've made the switch from Blogger to Wordpress, or vice versa?



Try Movable Type. Jim of cynics.info has lots of experience with this blog tool.


That part you wrote abt blogger's tie-in with Google works for me, for now. It's really the main reason why I've resisted Wordpress even though I've my own domain addresses - I figured it wasn't any good having all the fancy tricks afforded by WP if noone was going to see them anyway.


I have tried MT. Not as fond of it as its acolytes - I like it, but I like Wordpress better for the same functions.


Switch to WordPress. Right now, I use it on my site: http://r0x0rz.info. Yeh, I have gotten spam, but It gets blocked. Has good features, and over 200 templates and plugins.


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