Well, after two weeks of development, I’ve finally flicked the switch (or so to speak) on my all-new website.

For the un-nerds among you, it’s better because it now works properly on all computers (including the Mac Safari browser) and also has a nice, pretty new look. It also has some fancy features like lots of categories.

For the slight-nerds among you, it’s better because it now has RSS feeds, allows comments and pings, and will appear really well on your handheld devices.

For the nerds and uber-nerds among you, it’s better for many reasons. Firstly, it uses a CSS style sheet, which allows for much better layout across platforms (no more tables for layout like my old website.) Secondly, I’m using the free WordPress engine, which uses an MySQL database, and has a really simple back-end with hundreds of plugins and thousands of layouts to choose from. Thirdly, WordPress includes great features like native support for RSS feeds (my podcast is coming soon!) Fourthly, each post now has a permalink, so I don’t have one really long page of all my posts (like my old site.) Fifthly, FrontPage never touched my new website, and I’ve stripped out all of that nasty excess code, so pages should load a lot faster.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. For a full list of WordPress features visit http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Features. Thanks also to Josh Street http://josh.st/ for introducing me to WordPress in the first place!

Apart from spending time learning the new program, it took me quite a while to import my old Coranto database into WordPress. There is no doubt that Coranto served me very well for the past three years, but the feature list and the widespread adoption of WordPress made the move necessary. There are very few posts about how to make the move. There is a post on the WordPress forums that discusses one way of doing this, using RSS feeds. However, for me this didn’t work properly, as it stripped most of my HTML.

So, I invented my own way to do it. If you are migrating from Coranto to WordPress and you want to export your posts, then you might find the following information helpful. If that’s not you, then skip over this bit.

How I did it was I firstly created a News Style which I called ‘wordpressexport’. In this, I used the following code (click to download): News Style Template

For AUTHOR I put ‘admin’ but it didn’t matter, because the WordPress importer still asked me what user I wanted.

For DATE I made it that all the posts started at 1PM, but you could also have used some coding to put the date and time if you needed it.

For CATEGORY I put ‘General’ which was the default category in my WordPress. If you have multiple WordPress categories, then you will need to do this procedure for each category, and each time put the name of the category in this field.

For STATUS I put ‘publish’ so that I didn’t have to go through all the posts individually and then publish them.

For ALLOW COMMENTS and ALLOW PINGS I put ‘1’ so that it would allow them. You could put ‘0’ if you didn’t want comments or pings.

Now, for the bit that comes after BODY: I suggest you put the text of your normal News Style. Then import only a few posts (using profiles–see below) and see how it looks in WordPress. You can see that I orginally made two custom fields called CustomField_MainPhoto and CustomField_MainPhotoCaption. If you’ve only got text and no images, then your BODY would just say

OK. If you’ve followed this so far, then well done. That’s the first step.

Now you need to make a Profile. I called mine wordpressexportprofile. Here are the settings I used:

File Name: wordpressexportprofile.txt

Filter By Number: [I started with ‘5’ so that I could just import 5 at a time to see how the process worked. When I was happy with the final process, I made this field blank so that it would import all posts.

News Style: wordpressexport [this is the one we just made]

Categories: [this requires the ‘category’ addon. If you want all posts exported from all categories into the one new category, choose ‘all categories’. However, if you want to import into your various categories, then set the ‘CATEGORY’ in News Style to (e.g.) ‘news’ and then run the profile with only ‘news’ selected.

OK. Now build the news and open up the document www.example.com/cor_news/wordpressexportprofile.txt (or whatever the path to your new directory. It should look like this:

TITLE: Happy New Year and Happy New Website
AUTHOR: admin
DATE: 01/01/2007 01:00:00 PM
STATUS: publish
With the coming of the new year comes a new website. Check out new.jodiemcneill.com to see how my test and transitional site is going. I hope to have the new WordPress-based site live by the end of this week.
TITLE: Back from holidays
AUTHOR: admin
DATE: 07/14/2006 01:00:00 PM
STATUS: publish
I just returned from over two weeks away on holidays in Canberra and at Callala Beach (Jervis Bay). It was a very relaxing time away with the family doing very, very little (a stark contrast to normal life!)

We spent the first four days at Canberra, doing every tourist ‘thing’ we could fit in to our schedule: Parliament House, Questacon, National Museum, Telstra Tower, Australian Institute of Sport, Cockington Gardens, Planetarium, and more! It was great to get ‘distracted’ by the destination!

The remaining ten days were spent at Callala Beach, on Jervis Bay, near Nowra. Lots of time doing very little. In fact, the most ‘productive’ activity was sorting 5,000 digital photos on my hard disk, and culling it down to 2,000. From that, we selected 300 which we then printed on paper. Quite an effort–especially considering I tweaked all the photos in Photoshop first (levels, dodge and burn, and even some desaturations into B&W).

I returned to face 400 emails, but got them down to 100 quickly. Spent a day answering them, and now I’m back on track, but feeling a bit exhausted. Maybe it’s time for another holiday…!

Now, if you’ve got a file like this, then well done. You’re almost there.

Save the text of that page (I did ‘File Save’ in Explorer) and put it somewhere (e.g. c:\wordpressexportprofile.txt)

Now, log into WordPress and select the ‘Import’ tab. Click ‘MovableType and TypePad’ and follow the prompts. Your file name is the one you just saved (e.g. c:\wordpressexportprofile.txt)

If your first test run worked OK, then go back into Profiles, and delete the number for Filter By Number and do the lot. If you have multiple categories, then repeat this process, each time changing the word next to CATEGORY in the News Style and then change the Profile so that it selects only that Category. Then Build News again.

If you need to tweak the News Style, then use the format in this document http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/docs/mtimport which gives you an insight into the whole idea.

Phew! Hope you find that helpful, if it’s what you’re looking for. I couldn’t find this solution anywhere on the www, so hopefully it’s helpful for you.

Let me know how you go…

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