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Migrating From Drupal 5 to Octopress

I’ve been running this blog (or some version of it) for almost 10 years now.

I write to help clarify my own thoughts, or to note down technical details of a task that I have struggled to figure out. I often found myself coming back and have saved many hours of trying to figure out the same thing again a year or more later.

For a long time this site was running Drupal 5, I set it up at a time when I was getting to know Drupal, starting out as an independant, and had plenty of time to spend on it. At the time this was a very useful excercise, installing lots of modules, and writing some code was good experience. But when Drupal 6 came out and I was busy it wasnt worth upgrading, then when drupal 7 was released and Drupal 5 no longer supported, upgrading was even more difficult as I would have had to upgrade in two steps. Besides Drupal didn’t seem like such a good fit for my blog any more.

I don’t want to have to apply security updates on a site I’m not getting paid for: so a static html site is a great fit for me.

I lose integrated comments, but spam had already killed those for me - I’ll try disqus and see how that goes (the need to enable comments in the yaml for each post threw me at first).

Search was useful - but I can grep the source files myself.

I had all sorts of Drupal plugins before - but really I don’t think they were very important.

Jekyll seems great, especially because with github’s patronage it seems unlikely to become unsupported; and at the end of the day it is just a bunch of simple files so importing to another system should be easy.

Exporting from Drupal 5 needed a small patch on the importer without this the categories were seen as some kind of binary object in yaml. The import reads direct from the database, so doesn’t run all Drupal’s filters and I suspect a drupal export module from drupal would do a much better job. I still need to pull over some old comments and formatting could do with a tidy up, but I need to move to a system that gets me writing new content, and not worry too much about the old.

Jekyll itself didn’t use tags in the way I wanted - I find the ability to cross link from one post to similar ones very useful so I am using Octopress which seem to do what I want out of the box.

To get the content in Octopress I just did

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cp jekyll/mysite/_posts/* octopress/source/_posts

I have switched from pygments highlighter to linguist (this seems to be what github use and supports code highlighting well)

I added a twitter aside for which I just copy pasted the twitter widget into source/_includes/asides/twitter.html and enabled this in _config.yml

I’m not a ruby coder, so instaling all the required ruby gems and figuring out how to run a modified version of the jekyll importer took a little while, in the end I think it was just a case of getting all the gems installed that I needed. I didn’t blog soon enough!

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