July 19, 2008

From Blogger to Wordpress

I've decided to move my blog from my Blogger cdleary.blogger.com account to a Wordpress install on my personal blog.cdleary.com domain. Once I took a gander at all the new features and capabilities of Wordpress, the choice wasn't very difficult.

Issues with Blogger

Posting mixed text and code over the course of my blogging history presented interesting problems. From what I could tell, each blog on Blogger seems to have a global "interpret newline as <br />" setting, which prevented me from switching styles (to use <br /> explicitly) without editing all of my previous posts. When you mix this with the fact I was using Vim's "generate highlighted syntax as HTML" feature in lieu of searching for a proper way to post source code in Blogger (which I found far too late in the game :), the GeSHi Syntax Highlighter plugin for Wordpress was looking mighty fine. I haven't pinpointed any exact reasons, but the line breaks and HTML equivalents feel a lot more natural in Wordpress than they did in Blogger.

The blogger backlinks ("Links to this post") capability wasn't cutting it for me. Due to either to the infrequency of my posting, the irrelevance of my posts, or my (heretofore) unwillingness to advertise my blog, I couldn't find backlinks via the Blogger service that I knew to exist. The ping system that Wordpress employs seems a lot more enabling for a low-profile blogger like myself. It's possible that my previous blog never received a ping and that Blogger actually has this feature as well; however, I knew of a few other blogs that linked to my Blogger blog that didn't show up (comments were disabled — maybe that was a problem?).

Easy Feed Migration, Evil URI Migration

Thanks to FeedBurner decoupling my feed URI from my blog URI, the feed migration process was easy as pie. It makes me think that everybody should use FeedBurner, if only for an extra level of indirection between the blog hosting and the RSS pollers.

I was evil, however, and totally dropped my old URIs. My Blogger blog wasn't very highly read or recognized, so I figured rather than go through some painful URI redirection process via <meta> tag manipulation in the blogger template, I'd just delete my old blog. Slightly evil, but significantly productive. I'll just cross my fingers and hope that the people who cared were subscribed to my RSS feed as well. :/

Trying out Comments

I did not enable comments on my Blogger account. I theoretically don't like blog comments — they provide inadequate space for a conversation and proper synthesis of ideas surrounding a conversation. I'm fairly convinced that commenting systems are flawed in low-traffic blogs like my own, and that blog-entry-to-blog-entry responses are much more maintainable, scalable, and helpful for bloggers without thousands of readers; however, I'm willing to give comments another short test period before turning them off.

Categories and Tags?

One of the most foreign things in the Wordpress installation is the category-tag-duality. It seems that these two things are distinct, as explained in the Wordpress Glossary:

Think of it like a Category, but smaller in scope. A post may have several tags, many of which relate to it only peripherally.

For the time being, I've only promoted a few of the most-used labels from tags to categories, which I figure I'll continue to do once the tags cross some arbitrary threshold of posts. It sounds kind of neat to have two tiers of categorization — you can go a little wild in the lower tier while keeping the upper tier simple and clean.