Hicks

Textpattern migration

You made it! Were there any casualties? Is everyone else here?

To keep you on your toes, I’ve changed all my urls yet again. As hinted at in a previous entry, I’d decided to look into other CMS options that would give me better speed with no chugging (waiting for rebuilding). I tried out Pivot, Drupal, b2Evolution, Wordpress and Expression Engine, but in the end, Dean Allen won me over. Hicksdesign is now powered by Textpattern, instead of Movable Type.

I’m bound to get a lot questions as to why I didn’t decide on the trendy switchers choice – Wordpress. Its a fantastic CMS system, and it was a very close call, but it doesn’t lend itself to multiple sections like Textpattern. Sure, I can install WP several times (and installation is a quick process) but there are seven ‘blogs’ that make up this site, and thats seven to upgrade everytime there’s an update. Textpattern is naturally geared towards managing an entire site with one installation, and that really appealed to me. It lets me do everything very fast, and its admin interface is well designed and pleasing to use.

There was also a indescribable something about Textpattern. It just clicked with me and I enjoyed using it, even if I didn’t fully understand how to do what I wanted to do at first. Going back to Movable Type afterwards felt unfulfilling – so migration was going to happen. Textpattern is by no means as feature-packed as Wordpress, but the few minor features/abilities that I needed are either served by plug-ins or are coming in future versions. There are few niggles too, no system (other than maybe a home-made solution) is perfect, but these weren’t enough to me off.

The migration couldn’t have been done without the ever patient and helpful folks of the Textpattern forum, who put up with my endless poking and interrogation. Responses to my queries were either “find it here..” or “Textpattern doesn’t do that, I’ll write a plugin for it though…”. Like the elves and the shoemaker, I’d wake to find another plug-in had been made. Getting to grips with Textpattern’s tag system was made easy thanks to Kusors Tag Manual . This was another score against WP actually – it uses an XML style tag system which I found more intuitive.

Some notes about the migration:

  • The whole site is now powered by Textpattern. When I used MT, only certain sections were driven by the CMS, now its all of it. All apart from…
  • The playlist. Its lost its XML feed, and Instead of showing the last 6 albums purchased, it now displays the last 6 played, via the wonder of Michael Simmons’ excellent iTunesWatcher. I’d used version 1 previously, and it just gets better. A very special thankyou to Michael for creating the custom module for displaying the my last 6 covers.
  • The articles section is gone. These are now incorporated into the journal for simplicity.
  • You can now see what I’m eating, at any time of the day. You lucky people.
  • I was planning a redesign of the journal section to coincide with the new CMS, but this was too much in one go. More on that later…

So here we are. There are still a few loose ends to tie up, but everything is pretty much here, with a whopping great .htaccess file to help people find their way here. Please bear with me while I iron out the creases…