Null Pointer moves to its own home

I recently moved to my own domain and after migrating the blog to WordPress (read this post to know how I managed to do that) I simply dropped a note here at JRoller to let know my readers who still come here. For the email subscribers I simply changed the feed URL. Today it struck me that some of you also read me through newsreaders and you guys would probably never know unless I tell you through the feed about the migration, so this is the last post at JRoller.

Null Pointer now resides at http://nullpointer.debashish.com. Bloglines subscribers can click here to subscribe to the feed. For others, the blog has a RSS as well as an Atom Feed, please subscribe to the one you like. My hindi blog NuktaChini may be read here.

Thanks and see you at my new home.

Migrating a Roller blog to WordPress

Ok I admit that I never made a formal announcement about it, but this blog has now moved to its new home at http://nullpointer.debashish.com. If you are reading this, you are at the right URL.

This blog used to be happily hosted at the excellent free service provided by the JRoller people. Roller is one of the advanced blogwares around, written using Java and I enjoyed using it throughout. If I could afford Java hosting, I would have probably gone for JRoller again. However, with PHP there is hardly any competition for WordPress. So dear readers, here is Null Pointer on WordPress, running on the pretty Squible theme.

Now to the crux of this post. How did I manage migrating all the Posts and comments from JRoller to WordPress?

It was not simple really; because JRoller does not provide any mechanism to backup blog posts, leave alone the comments. Therefore, I asked the Roller people and Dave Johnson was kind enough to come to my rescue. He gave the plausible suggestion of creating a custom RSS Feed. The basic modus operandi is:

  • create a new template in your blog
  • within the template use the $pageModel object to fetch all entries of your blog
  • iterate through those entries to output your blog in RSS or Atom format
  • create your own name-spaced XML element to represent comments within each item
  • write a simple program that parses that and uses MetaWeblog API to post to your new blog

Now the last step is not that intricate because, guess what, WordPress 2.0 does provide the facility to import a blog from a RSS feed. Yet the ordeal would be far from over, because while WordPress can import posts from your feed it cannot import the post comments. Nothing against WordPress, the RSS 2.0 specification does allow a comments sub element but that can only be a link to the actual comments page. So basically we need to defy them all, add the comments inline in our custom RSS Feed and then modify the wordpress RSS Import Utility to decipher and import the comments as well.

When you are ready with your JRoller blog feed, just backup the existing RSS Importer file (wp-admin/import/rss.php) and place the modified importer PHP there. Rest is easy, only remember to break up your RSS file into smaller chunks if you have a really large blog, the importer has the tendency to timeout often.

WP RSS Importer

  • Click here to view the Roller template to create your custom RSS2.0 Feed that includes comments as well.
  • Click here to view the modified WordPress RSS Importer.

I hope this post helped you, do leave your comments here.

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