I’m not satisfied with my theme and configuration yet, but the primary content of this blog is now in place. Here are some ‘tech specs,’ so to speak, about how I set things up.


My site is hosted on Dreamhost, and I used their one-click install of WordPress. I have no opinion on doing it this way versus a normal manual install, but it seems to have worked fine.

Imported content

This has been the most interesting and time consuming activity so far. One of the primary reasons I chose to use WordPress, as opposed Blogger, was because of the robust import capabilities. I had five years worth of posts on three different platforms to incorporate.

  • LiveJournal: I experimented with several methods and ended up using ljArchive, which was recommended to me by Paul and the built-in Livejournal->Wordpress importer. The pros are that you only have to import one file and it includes comments, and the only real con is that posts without titles are assigned a number.
  • Xanga: This one was easy: I just followed the steps provided by Reid, which required paying $4 to get a Xanga premium account and downloading the Xanga Archive Importer for WordPress.
  • Upsaid: In 2004 Upsaid discontinued free accounts, so I archived my blog by manually saving each post as an html file. Having learned with Xanga that it was possible to write a custom importer based on an HTML format (which is what Xanga archives are), I set out to make my own for Upsaid. Here are the basic steps I took:
    • Clean up the HTML files and combine into a single file: I started with 80 complete html files, and wrote a Python script to strip out unnecessary content (in this case, anything before and after ) and write all the outputs to a single file.
    • Write a PHP importer: I copied the Xanga importer file, xanga.php, and modified the function import_posts(). Mostly I just changed what regular expressions should be used to identify the post title, content, date, and comments, but I did have to update date-time logic considerably because the date and time were located separately on the page in non-standard formats.


I again turned to Paul for help on this one. I liked the clean minimalism of his blog and the tidy, collapsed archive format, so I copied the blog.txt theme and Collapsible Archive Widget. I’m still playing around with layout and widgets so the design will probably keep changing for a while.

Integration & compatibility

  • Authentication: I set up OpenID for commenting using the WP-Open plugin as more because it seemed like a cool, forward-thinking web thing to do than for any particular technical reason.
  • Search Engines: I use Google Webmaster Tools to track my site’s search-engine visibility and found a handy plugin which generates a Google-compliant XML Sitemap. It even allows you to add non-Wordpress pages to the sitemap and notifies major search engines when it has been updated.
  • Analytics: Another useful plugin I’m using is the Google Analyticator, which automatically embeds Google Analytics tracking code on all pages managed by WordPress without having to manually edit any template files.
  • RSS: I created a Feedburner feed for my blog and installed the FeedSmith plugin to automatically detect all ways to access my feed and redirect them through FeedBurner.

Comments 2

  1. Reid wrote:

    Your site looks great and I’m glad your imports went well! Impressive work with Upsaid!

    Look forward to following yet another co-worker blog :)

    Posted 29 Sep 2008 at 20:33
  2. Jason wrote:

    Hey, I should have put this comment here before, but it’s cool that you’re using OpenID. It’s not super common now, but it’s growing very quickly and saves people the need to create passwords on every site on the web.

    Posted 12 Oct 2008 at 23:07

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