Moving to WordPress

For some time I’ve maintained a few difficult positions.  One was that “the cobblers children have no shoes” and my web site was rather web 1.0.  Another that my ‘blog’ of sorts was a LiveJournal account, where I was more and more posting technical articles that probably made my friends eyes glaze over.

So, having had in reserve since creating my Twitter account last year, I took the opportunity of web site reorganization to import LiveJournal filter out the technical posts.  Fearing a regular rabbit-hole if I tried to roll my own web system, I punted and took WordPress.  Pair Networks had a semi-supported version to save me an evening of fiddling with web configs.  I had hoped it was a bit more supported – I still have to keep an eye on it and click upgrade when a security update comes out.

At first I tried converting much of my old static site to wordpress pages.  However, it quickly became apparent that I was throwing out a lot of painstaking styling and crosslinking in the process.  After a few experiments, I determined that static pages could live quite peaceably in parallel with WordPress, which keeps a pretty disciplined wp-prefix on everything. I had to do a bit of file juggling to get Pair’s installation tool to cooperate (it wanted a clean directory) things seem to be working pretty smoothly now.

I discovered that the built-in editor is a rather dangerous toy.  If you have a syntax error when switching from HTML to visual, it will quite gleefully wipe out most of your post.  I’ve also observed some instances of auto-saving, which makes for a very dangerous combination.  Suffice it to say that I will be reminding myself not to do any significant editing online – thus far I’ve had the luxury of converting content that I could always re-copy from the original source.

Plugins so far

One attack on that may simply be using a different editor – I’m experimenting with Markdown Quicktags, which has buttons to go back and forth.  One of the more popular markdown plugins stores the post in markdown and converts it on display, which would leave me with a mixed database, not to mention look somewhat unsightly if the plugin was disabled.

With a mix of file and database, backup was a concern.  I’m currently using Automatic WordPress Backup.  I had to sign up for Amazon S3, but that means I don’t have to remember to download backup files or anything.

Broken Link Checker was a great helper with my large backlog of imported posts.  It provides a table with controls to edit or unlink rotten pointers.

For my ported site, I found Redirection, which also offers an interface for monitoring 404s and setting up redirects; however leaving the static files means less breakage than I planned on at first.

Eventually this will lead to redoing the pages for my martial arts school.  I’m trying out WP Slim Stats for tracking.  I looked briefly at Google Analytics, but they use tracking cookies and I didn’t want to get deflected into creating the required privacy policy.

The Pair-installed WordPress also came with WP Super Cache installed.

Posted Saturday, December 11th, 2010 under Site Update.


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