Migration from Drupal to WordPress.com Complete

Well, I can proudly say that in less than 24 hours, and not without frustration and a few bouts of spilled beer, I managed to get Your Suspect 100% off of Drupal and off of Network Solutions, and onto the free WordPress.com system. I was shocked with out few resources there were available to me, so I had to get very creative. Here’s what I did:

  1. I had to hack the Drupal system.module file to allow for more than 30 items per feed. I upped it to 999.
  2. I ran a cron job just to be safe.
  3. Saved my sites RSS feed locally, and verified that all the content was there, sans comments.
  4. Created a hosted WordPress.org site with a third party company. I made sure that this hosting company allowed for a) monthly plans with no contract and b) a quick and easy way of getting a hosted WordPress site going.
  5. I used the native WordPress Import feature to import a RSS 2.0 feed. It made it in without any issues, again, no comments.
  6. Then, I used the native WordPress Export feature to export all this content as a WordPress file.
  7. Here, are WordPress.org, I imported that file.
  8. There are still some DNS issues and remnant Feedburner matters that I’m dealing with, but for all intents and purposes, I’m off Drupal, I’m off Network Solutions, and I’m on WordPress.com.
  9. I manually updated each blog entry’s category and tags. That sucked, but it was necessary and well worth the effort.

This is a step in the right direction for this blog, easier to manage, more integration with a much larger blogging community, and just a whole lot less frustration.

So for all your rocket scientists out there, that’s how ya do it! Unfortunately, yes, it didn’t include comments, but I can live with that, I didn’t have that many comments to begin with.

Help Me Migrate from Drupal

I’m entirely fed up with hosting my own blog. When I first started this blog I had a geek moment – I wanted to control every aspect of it and perhaps grow it into something beyond a blog. I chose Drupal, and have been hosting it on Network Solutions. Well, today, I don’t care and I’m fed up with Network Solutions, and I’m fed up with FTP, and with Drupal module installation. Since creating the CitySquares Blog I’ve realized how unnecessary all this really is. The CitySquares blog is hosted on WordPress.com, which I love. I don’t need much more than that. So now, I feel like I’m stuck on this solution I chose, and I feel like I can’t migrate off of it. I just want to move my content (blog entries) and comments off of Drupal and into WordPress.com. There are lots of tips on how to migrate from the Drupal platform to the WordPress platform, but that still requires hosting it. I don’t want to host it. So if anyone has any ideas, recommendations, etc, I’m all ears. I’d also consider paying someone to help me with this kind of migration. Any recommendations or ideas?

CitySquares: Looking for Partners!

There’s been so much excitement at CitySquares for the past few months, and the dust is finally starting to settle. Well, that’s true for me only. Now that Bob has chosen to go the Drupal route, and has hired our new engineer Justin Leider, we’re on our way towards building and launching the new and improved Citysquares.com, and the CitySquares Platform. We’re looking for an early autumn launch of the new Citysquares.com and perhaps a couple months later we’re looking at being able to start testing some CitySquares Platform opportunities. Let me break it down a little bit for ya though…

One of the biggest challenges of this hyperlocal thing is scaling it out. How do you do that? How do you bring a hyperlocal user experience to the public at large? How do you bring the benefits of a hyperlocal solution to small businesses in those communities? One could certainly envision going about it the way we are right now, with a direct model, which includes a local sales force, local marketing, local relationships, and the cash for all those things. I’ve always aid that Citysquares is about analog relationships and digital delivery. But as nice as that sounds, it might not be the most effective and efficient way to do it on a grand scale (e.g., NYC, Chicago, San Francisco). Today we’re working on getting that recipe right, here in Boston, before looking at additional markets.

Another concept is to find partners in those new markets. Let’s call them Community Partners. Some examples of Community Partners might be local municipalities (e.g., City of Springfield) or even local Chambers of Commerce (e.g., Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce), or even media partners like local newspapers or TV stations (e.g., WCVB, Springfield Gazette). There might even be local community organizations who have a specific and socially responsible message (e.g, Springfield Local Business Alliance). The CitySquares platform could be licensed by those partners and ultimately tailored to suit their needs. Perhaps one partner wants news content, or classifieds, but another doesn’t. Well, OK! Those are effectively going to be modules that can be applied to the platform. The core application is what we’re building right now.

So anyway, we’re looking for those kinds of partners. Are you one of those partners? Are you willing to pilot this in your community? If you are any of the following, and looking to bring your real-world community online, and looking to bring your online community to the people, please contact me (bsaren AT Citysquares.com).

  • Local government or municipality.
  • A local newspaper, radio or TV station.
  • Community organization; non profits? socially responsible?
  • A local community champion – are you that connector in your community?

We’d also love to hear from you if you are a potential…

  • Content partner
  • Media Partner
  • Sales partner

I’d be happy to tell you much more about our plans for Citysquares.com and for the (currently named) CitySquares Platform. There is some very cool stuff on the way – stuff you’ve never seen before. Please contact me for more info! (bsaren AT Citysquares.com)

Choosing Drupal

So today we hired our first full time engineer. (for those of you who expressed interest in the job, thank you!) And in doing so we came to a resolution about technology, and then some actually. We decided to choose Drupal as our platform of choice for the future Citysquares.com. After much deliberation, debating, discussing, and consulting with ourselves and with others, about going with an MVC framework (e.g., CakePHP, Symfony) vs. Drupal, we finally opted for Drupal. The primary reasons are as follows:

  • Body of work and knowledge. There’s a huge Drupal community, and it continues to grow and grow.
  • Modules, modules, modules. Holy crap there’s a lot of modules.
  • My blog is built on Drupal. Ok, that had nothing to do with our decision, but I’m just a big Drupal fan from experience.
  • Scalability. Time Warner’s media sites are all built on Drupal. Sony Music sites are all built on Drupal. US magazine’s site is built on Drupal. ‘Nuff said.

There are many technical reasons too, many many many. But I won’t get into that – that’s very boring and this blog isnt meant to be boring.

What’s interesting about our decision is that by choosing Drupal, and choosing to work with the Drupal community that unavoidably comes with it, we are, in essence, choosing community. We are allowing ourselves to tap into a community, while bringing communities online, and eventually enabling other communities to bring themselves online. Argh!

This is actually deep stuff, to me anyway. In a more idealogical sense, choosing to go with Drupal is an indication of who we are as people, and as a company, and not just an indication of technical choices and skill sets.

I’m really starting to get into this whole concept of open source in business practice, in management, and almost as a mantra.

I don’t know, it’s heavy stuff and I’m really wrestling with it right now. More to come on all this, as I sort it out better in my head.