Moving from Pebble to WordPress

Ever since I started writing this blog, I wanted to use a software that was easy to use and allowed me to focus on the important stuff, namely writing the posts, but also putting code snippets, images, etc. For more than 5 years I kept using Pebble, which is a Java-based blog web app, and which for the most part worked ok. However, I always felt that it lacked all the bells and whistles from many other blog applications, and after much consideration (and some work) I decided to move to WordPress. The final nail in the coffin for Pebble happened last week, while I was at JavaOne (more on that to follow) and I decided to take only my iPad to the sessions. I tried several times to write a post between sessions using the tablet, but the bottom line is that Pebble is not ready for mobile devices. On the other hand, WordPress even has “An App For That“™

 Planning and Deployment

I didn’t do an extensive migration plan, but I did some research. I wanted to keep all my old posts, and hopefully have a way to redirect requests from the old system to the new one. I found this nifty groovy script that converts all the pebble XML files to the WordPress export format, including comments. I had to do some modifications to the script because the original one had category import disabled, and I had some nested categories in a particular format. I used a staging site for importing the content and checking the posts, and it only took a couple of tries.

Once everything was looking the way I liked, I copied the database and the WordPress files over to the main server. I had to change some configuration options since the main site uses apache’s worker module and the staging site uses prefork, which meant using FastCGI and PHP-CGI instead of mod_php. The end result is the same. After some changes to the apache configuration, the new site with WordPress is now running.

What’s Next

Pebble and WordPress don’t use the same permalink format, so I had to find a plugin that would fix this by redirecting requests. Fortunately I found one that does what I want, and it seems to be redirecting most of the main links (Posts, Categories, Tags). I still need to figure out what to do with the rest of the links.

I am still tinkering with the layout, plugins, etc, but I have now a much more usable site. Hopefully this will mean more posts in the future.

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