Importing data into WordPress

This is the first in a series of articles on my migration to WordPress.

I have another diary (The FreeBSD Diary). I’ve been running it since 1998. More than once I’ve been asked why doesn’t it use some blogging package. Well, I didn’t know of anything back then, and cobbled together my own solution. The website is just static HTML, with some PHP functions to provide common headers, sidebars, footers, etc. There is also a database to provide the front page contents (What’s New?), an index (of everything), and a list by topic (categories). This structure has served swell for about 10-12 years (more or less).

I’ve been using WordPress for a number of years now, but only on this website and on FreshPorts News. I’ve been happy with it. So much so, most of my writings have been on that website, instead of on The FreeBSD Diary. I hope to change that by migrating that website to WordPress.

There are several importers from other blogging software into WordPress. I researched them for a while and eventually decided upon the RSS Importer provided as a plugin from WordPress. This tool allows you to place your website contents into a highly structured text file which is then imported into WordPress.

WordPress – the downside

There are a few downsides to moving to WordPress from my existing solution.

  1. Losing the repository – at present, all of the website is stored in a cvs repository. This maintains history and I can easily store an older revision if required. I also use cvsup to publish new content.
  2. Old URLs will no longer work – WordPress cannot use the old URLs. It has its own strategy for that. I will need to devise a solution so that old URLs still work. For example, will become
  3. dealing with spam – I get more spam on my WordPress sites than on my other sites. Fortunately, dealing with it is rather easy
  4. I have to use MySQL, instead of my database server of choice, PostgreSQL.

Of course, there are pluses to using WordPress.

  1. Publishing – I could schedule publishing of an article with my old system. I can still do that with WordPress.
  2. Easy of use. Any time I can get a web broswer, I can write. Previously, I was always doing this through an ssh session, using a character based editor (JOE, if you’re curious).
  3. Much better UI
  4. WordPress automatically does comments. My current solution uses a very outdated version of Phorum. I have not upgraded it because they no longer support PostgreSQL, my database of choice.

I have already started the migration process and all 644 (or so) articles have been posted to NOTE: This hostname will no longer work once the migration process has been completed.

Over the next few weeks, I will write about the migration process, the steps I went through, and the stumbling blocks I encountered. Not everything has been completed, but I think I’ve thought through most of the problems.

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