Monday, 30 July 2012

New blog! (Well, new home anyway)

I first set up a blog on Blogger in 2009 but as a Joomla! developer, I felt I really should run my own blog in Joomla!. So in 2010 I moved the whole site to a self-hosted J!1.5x site. Problem was, J!1.5x didn't really work nicely as a blog, so after a while I installed K2 to handle the blog side of things, and it ticked along for the next year or so.

What I started to find a problem was, Joomla!/K2 didn't really let me post quickly and easily from my Android smartphone. And I had to maintain the site myself, which got a bit tedious. So I set about researching options. Looked at Wordpress but by then I was pretty much over hosting my own blog, and I didn't like the free ones they manage for you. And to be honest, I've never really taken to Wordpress as a platform anyway. I know there are millions of people who disagree but... not what I wanted. Then I did a subject at OUA on blogging and we had to set up our own blog (which I set up for my business) so I went back to my trusty Google account and created it in Blogger because I was already familiar with the platform. And actually I thought it was pretty good, as well as being really easy to post to from my phone.

Just to make sure, I had a look at Tumblr and Posterous as part of my research. Both good but not really what I was after either. Fussy fussy :-)

So Blogger it was. I found a site with some nice free templates and set it up. THEN the headaches began. HOW to export all my existing posts from not just Joomla!, but K2, to Blogger? You'd think it would be easy but it's not. In fact, it's practically impossible. There are literally NO apps anywhere that I could find that would do this effectively. So after hours of research and testing and nothing working, I ended up with a 90% solution and then manually did the rest. Here's how:

  1. Abandoned the concept of exporting anything from K2 entirely. I did find a K2 exporter on the Joomla! Extensions Directory but the file it produced wouldn't import anywhere else. Luckily I'd done all but 20 posts as normal Joomla Articles prior to the conversion to K2, and I hadn't deleted them, so I could use those instead.
  2. Installed Export To WordPress: Joomla Plugin on my Joomla! site, and ran it to produce an XML dump of my posts in Wordpress format.
  3. Luckily I still had a test Wordpress.com site set up that was empty, so I logged into that and imported the XML file in.
  4. THEN I used the instructions on this site to do a Wordpress to Blogger conversion. By this stage I wasn't holding out any great hopes but amazingly, it worked.
  5. Went back and manually copy/pasted the remaining 20 posts from K2 directly into Blogger.
Then I did the domain name redirection and some further tweaking to get it to where it is today.

What I've learnt. Joomla! is fantastic for many things - I've developed over 40 Joomla! websites in the last 6 years and I love using it. But if it's a simple blog you're after, there's really no need to self-host it. And stay away from K2*. :-P

* Yes, I know that millions of people love it. I'm just not one of them. :-)

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