Migrating my blog – once again

For the third time, during my blog’s existence, I’ve chosen to migrate it. It’s been running as a static website for the past few years, utilizing Jekyll, hosted on GitHub.

My blog is now running on the latest version of WordPress, which is mostly out of convenience.

The rationality behind another switch

As my blog has come to a halt over the past few years, I’ve had to think about why that is. For the past few months, I’ve been meaning to pick up my writing again, coming up with a lot of ideas for topics. However, the “taking action” part has been lacking.

A good part of this has been that I tried to make a few changes to the layout of my theme in Jekyll, but no matter what I tried, it never seemed to propagate through. In addition, the thought of adding some features, I felt was lacking, seemed more work than I could be bothered to do. Hence my wish to move on to something else, which would make me motivated to take action on the ideas I’m having.

Why WordPress?

When I realized I wanted to change my blog platform, I started to think about my alternatives. Earlier, I’ve hosted the blog on WordPress, and for a period of time, Ghost. This time around, I was keen on using something with little maintenance.

When I ran Ghost, I hosted the blog myself through Microsoft Azure. At the time, Ghost was at version 0.8 or something, and there was no good options to upgrade it, with new release once they came. I tried once, but stuff failed. This time I looked at the hosted option. All in all, I believe it probably would have been the best option for my needs, as they have all features I’m looking for. However, it’s not free, and with a starting price of $29 a month, I couldn’t justify it to myself. I don’t have that many readers yet!

I also looked in to other platforms as well, but found no one that was tempting enought to try. Thus, I ended up going back to my old friend, WordPress. Before using Ghost, and Jekyll, I’d been using WordPress for many years, also using it for clients when I did freelance. So I know my way around, and could get fairly quickly up and running.

The technical stuff

Converting from WordPress to Ghost was fairly trivial. Going from Ghost to Jekyll was also pretty painless. Moving from Jekyll, back to WordPress, however, was a bit of a hassle. Hopefully it’ll be worth it in the end.

To start off, I had to setup up the WordPress site, find a theme, and all the plugins I required. Now I’m running the Nanospace theme, with the following plugins:

  • Advanced Custom Fields
  • Aksimet Anti-Spam
  • Buy Me A Coffee
  • GA Google Anatytics
  • Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
  • Jetpack
  • WP Subscribe
  • WPForms Lite

All in all a setup I’m happy with.

The next step was to get all my posts from the static site, to this site. There’s not a whole bunch of guides on how to do it, but I found a guide by David Lynch, which guided me in the right direction.

I had to create a CSV file containg all my posts, with content. To do this, I wrote a small dotnet core application, which converted all markdown files to a single CSV file (I will make the application available soon).

Next, I had to install a plugin to import CSV files as posts. I had some issues with duplicate titles, due to the Markdown conversion missing a few characters here and there. This was just a matter of manual editing the CSV file. Anyway, the plugin allowed me to specify what the title was, the content, post date, etc for a template, based on a simple drag-and-drop UI, and then using the template for all posts.

Once I had all my posts, I had to fix the images. As you can imagine, none of my images was in WordPress. Fortunately, that was just a matter of uploading the image folder from Jekyll, to the root of the WordPress installation. This made all the image links match up, and although they don’t show up in the media gallery, I’m not to concerned about that. For future posts, my images will be uploaded as usual.

Next was the comments. I’ve been using Disqus for years, and it has worked OK, even when switching blog platforms. Turns out that is not the case when moving back into WordPress. The plugin from Disqus is quite outdated, and other alternatives do not import comments. Following the guide from David Lynch gave me most of my comments back, but I wouldn’t want to go through that process with several hundred comments.

I decided to stop using Disqus, and just rely on the commenting system from WordPress. This is mostly due to the issues that has followed Disqus the later years. Unfortunately, some comments from my few latest posts seemed to have disappeared, but after some thought, I figured I can live with that.

Niching down

As I’ve moved into consultancy, for Novanet who is mostly a .NET company, I see that I can focus my blog on that as well. I do consider myself a full-stack developer, which will shine through from time to time, but my main focus on this blog going forwards will mostly be Dotnet core related stuff. I will probably also throw in the occasional post regarding agile practices, as that is close to my heart.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, I sure do hope to see you again! Feel free to leave a comment or question if you have any.

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