More on Linux, Ruby and Open Source Blog Software

I finally managed to import the articles from my old wordpress 1.5 to this Typo blog, but it was a pain in the ass. There are several ways how this is supposed to be done that come with Typo, but none of them worked for me. The "official" way is to use "vendor/plugins/typo_converter", but the WordPress converter works only for WordPress 2.5, so I did not even try it in my WP 1.5. I accept that, but when I would have upgraded to the current wordpress version, I would not have bothered to move to Typo any more.

But there are two other scripts in "db/converters" that looked quite usable for me, "feed.rb" and "rss.rb", that were supposed to extract content from a feed. Both did not work, and I was not able to make them work. "rss.rb" retrieved the feed but could not insert anything into the database, it threw a conversion exception. I was willing to track the problem down, but running the script with "ruby -v" quickly turned me away: Hundreds of lines of warnings, error messages and exceptions made it impossible to figure out what was really going wrong – and I assume that most of these error messages indicated just normal operation. This sucks and really turns me away from wanting to help or contribute here.

"feed.rb" did completely refuse to cooperate. It kept telling me I should install the "feedtools" gem, which already was installed. No amount of gem massaging could convince the script to run. I assume it is also some version problem, because feedtools (0.2.29) wants activesupport (2.1.1), but Typo insist to use rails 2.0.2 stuff only, and I could not find older feedtools. Although this is just a guess, it was definitely not a convincing user experience.

At this point I started again to look around for another blog software, but everything ruby-based I encountered was just not ready for real use or seemed already abandoned. I also looked at MovableType, which makes a quite solid impression, but after having spent already about two days on all this administration stuff, I would have liked to come to point of actually using the blog to publish something, but I did not want to leave my old content behind.

And then, this saved my day. A ruby script that uses XML-RPC to migrate between blogs. This is cool, not only because it works, but because it should work for any blog that uses the MovableType API, and WordPress is among them. No version hassle, no database dumps. There are however some drawbacks: You loose your comments, and you have to create you categories manually on the destination system, but the posting dates and the formats were quite intact. I will also have to migrate the images and files by hand, but this is probably the case with all other converters.

Another minor glitch I encountered was that not all posts did show up in Typo at first, so I tried again, only to discover after the second try that everything was there now twice. It turned out that the first try had already succeeded, but some posts just take longer to appear. I shall also note that unpublished drafts will also be transferred and appear as published articles, so take care!

For now I will continue to run my blog with Typo, although I am not convinced yet that this will turn out to be a good idea. Compared to WordPress, it has some rough edges, and the usabilty could be better. The use of AJAX does not guarantee a great user experience, but what I have seen so far is also not too bad, but has a lot of headroom for improvement.

I am not convinced yet, neither by Ruby nor by Typo, but potential for a great user experience is there. Installation, configuration and customizing is much easier than with WordPress, if there were not this version mess on all levels of the system and a better, more complete and up-to-date documentation.

 

 

 

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