A bit of WordPress

If you are reading this blog you are over on the Community Server side of the fence.  Don’t worry this blog isn’t going anywhere.. not soon anyway mainly because I’ve put way too many posts and way too many images up here.  But looking forward I know that long term wise for a site that is a volunteer based, no revenue stream, beholden on the kindness of Vlad from www.ownwebnow.com Community server wasn’t good for a community based site.  Several years ago the licensing changed, and the means of how Community Server/Telligent folks got their revenue (business, not from people not paying anything) made it clear that the community surrounding Community server was drying up.  Finding new themes was impossible.  Getting updates was expensive.  So I started looking around at other platforms.  Knowing that WordPress was the “community standard” of a ton of themes, plug ins, and features meant that it was hands down the one to go with.  However migrating to it was another problem all unto itself.


First I was trying to stay with the Windows/SQL stack rather than going down the Linux stack.  As Alun put it best, a Linux box in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing is not a secure system.  Conversely choosing Windows came with it’s own issues.  Because initially I wanted to stay with SQL server and not MYSQL, I found initially a solution.  But one that it soon became obvious wasn’t a solution but a security problem. 


Let me explain.  I found a site where WordPress on SQL server had been ported over.  Hooray thought I.  The SQL that I’m familar with.  Windows I know how to secure combined with WordPress.  One problem.  It became obvious that this project appears to be one that hasn’t been funded lately or at least not getting any more current love.  The current download from the site is a WordPress 2.9 version.  Not good from a security standpoint.  And based on the posts on this old thread, I didn’t see an update in the future.  The post may say “we plan on releasing the patch for WP 3.0 + PDO support officially here shortly (hopefully this week)” but this event never occurred.  Merely plopping version 3 over the top didn’t work as obviously WordPress is built for MySQL and not SQL so the DLLs need to be adjusted.  Not something that I can do, nor something that honestly I wanted to fund myself personally. 


Certainly I was debating hiring the firm that did the custom porting to convert WordPress 3.1 to work on SQL and asking them to release it to the public or something, but the redo of the release candidate of WordPress 3.1 and the continuing releases of security patches for WordPress 3.x series made me get realistic.  I’d be funding the porting of WordPress to SQL out of my pocket every time WordPress came out with an update.  Which could be quite often.


So …what to do?  Fortunately around that time the Webmatrix platform came out (and possibly could be a reason for the delay in the WordPress on SQL project.  http://www.microsoft.com/web/webmatrix/  Using this tool it was trivial to download WordPress, get the MySQL installed and set up another blog site.  To set up a multi user site was a matter of putting a line in the wp-config.php: define(‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true);
 as documented from here:   http://codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network  Once you put that in the wizard opens up to enter in how you are going to do a multi user site, and then gives you the web.config file you need for the site.


Now what about migrating the content?  This is where I should have never figured out how to add images to my blog and never have blogged so much.  Inside Community server we inserted the BlogML export tool. http://nayyeri.net/community-server-2007-blogml-converter The hardest part is once it’s installed is finding where in the blog it’s stuck it.  It’s in the configuration section.  Now you go there and export out the contents of the blog.


Now comes the fun part.  If you have spam comments, they will make this export barf.  If you’ve blogged a lot, it may be a large file.  You may need to edit the upload limits on the WordPress blog site AND.. (and here comes the painful part) may need to cut down your blog into pieces to get the blog content from Community Server over to WordPress.  Given also how Community server places the image files, it may end up that you get broken images. 


Now you go over to WordPress and there’s a BlogML import tool. 


Now you know why I’ve made the decision to run BOTH the community server side of the blogs (http://www.msmvps.com ) as well as the WordPress side (http://blogs.msmvps.com ) concurrently.  The web site is on a much beefier box and can handle it better than where it was.


Working with WordPress I’ve come to realize the issues with that platform as well as the challenges we ALL are going to be facing as we move to the cloud. 


Firstly data portability.  When you decide to move to a web based/cloud platform investigate the way in as well as the way out.  Data portability is a HUGE problem in our future as I see it.


Content of code.  While WordPress has vastly more plug ins and abilities, it also should give one pause that there’s a ton of web sites out there with possibly out of date software, out of date plug ins, and written by people that no one has vetted for secure software handling. 


Bottom line is moving from Community Server to WordPress doable?  Painful yes but doable.  Can you run a multi user WordPress site?  Yes.  There’s certainly features and plug ins that support this.  Does it mean that you’ll soon be seeing www.sbsdiva.com on a new community server site?  Probably not in the very near future and maybe not longer than that.  I blogged too much and stuck way too many images to make for a nice easy transition.  Bottom line I’m too legacy to move and will be sticking on the Community server side.


 

9 Thoughts on “A bit of WordPress

  1. “a Linux box in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing is not a secure system”

    A chem lab in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing is not a secure system

    A nuclear bomb in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing is not a secure system

    A bank in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing is not a secure system

    An oil tanker in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing is not a secure system

    A country in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing is not a secure system

    I think you get the idea.

  2. KomatoZo on February 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm said:

    >>I think you get the idea.
    I didn’t. What’s it? =)

  3. There are two blog sites, one running WordPress, the other running community server. http://www.sbsdiva.com is just a redirect to http://www.msmvps.com/blogs/bradley

  4. Dean on March 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm said:

    Uh, OK but why ?

    “Now you know why I’ve made the decision to run BOTH the community server side of the blogs (http://www.msmvps.com ) as well as the WordPress side (http://blogs.msmvps.com ) concurrently. The web site is on a much beefier box and can handle it better than where it was.”

    No, I don’t know why. I don’t do blogging or web sites so I’m not familiar with this stuff.

  5. admin on March 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm said:

    The data portability problem. Old urls that don’t redirect well.

    I hate broken web links and I don’t want to be the cause of them. So we’ll keep both sites running.

  6. Dean on March 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm said:

    But I still don’t get why the need for two sites in the first place and how they relate to each other.

  7. admin on March 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm said:

    I don’t see a long term future for Community Server. And sooner or later I need to make sure that there’s a platform to move to.

  8. SeanPT on March 11, 2011 at 10:05 am said:

    I use Dreamhost and their one click install of wordpress to host quite a few sites. I love not having to worry about the other stuff you talked about.

  9. EricE on March 13, 2011 at 9:39 am said:

    I can say that I opened a free account at squarespace.com and ended up keeping it. I really like the interface, and they have wordpress import as well as *export* to address your very valid point for having a data exit strategy from whatever platform you choose – be it internal or in the “cloud”…

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