Moving from Joomla to WordPress with FG Joomla to WordPress

If you have talked to me in the past few months you know that I’m working on moving iTwixie from a Joomla environment to WordPress. Choirs of angels should chime in every time I utter that phrase.

The Method

Today was my first attempts testing the transition of any part of the database to WordPress. I have done a fair amount of Googling the subject and settled on FG Joomla to WordPress as my first attempt. This WordPress plugin reads your Joomla database and imports posts, categories, media and users.

How it Went

I started with the free version and then upgraded to the premium version to import the users. The premium version is more stable, way more stable as it executed the transfer faster, and I could tell it ran better than the free version. I am working via local host with XAMPP, so I was able to quickly create multiple instances of WordPress and run the plugin a few times.

Moving the articles to posts went smoothly however the plugin failed to move the media. There is probably an issue with how I have the Joomla site setup locally but when the images weren’t move all the tags in the posts had the src=”xx” removed. Which was kind of dumb because I could manually move the media folder and reassign the path in each post. So I’m still working on that. The plugin developer did respond to a few of my emails today so that is a good sign we can work this out.

Moving the users went smoothly as well except the plugin only moves username, name and email. We might need more database tables moved here in the end but I haven’t finished our testing. When I did import the users into our BuddyPress test site the users weren’t automatically setup as BP users. So that is something I’ll have to figure out as I move forward.

Thinking Back

This process took all day and mainly because it is my first and hopefully only time I will ever have to move a site from Joomla to WordPress. All in all this went as expected and I’m still have many loose ends to tie up with this database migration. I will say this though. When I added the 3,250 odd articles to the WordPress site on the server it took em like a champ and didn’t show any signs of slow or sluggish behavior.

Aside

On a personal note it is awesome to get my hands this dirty working with multiple databases and WordPress installs. I am so impressed with how robust these systems are and the fact that it’s relatively simple to do blows me away. I keep thinking why didn’t I get into this before. Well the answer is because I never had a reason to.

Using a local server like XAMPP or MAMP makes creating duplicate sites as easy as copying files into new folders. If you haven’t gotten into this get to it.

UPDATE

I couldn’t move the media folders because the plugin couldn’t write to the to “uploads” folder while it was inside Applications. Which is where XAMPP and its files are stored. So I had to edit the apache config file and change the XAMPP root directory and change user permissions. It is all explained not so clearly here.

Writing a Theme Named Duck

I want to write about all the projects I have in motion right now. Too many as usual. But when I go to write I either get distracted or don’t make time because I’ve actually working on stuff. I also realize right now I’m doing what no blogger should ever do, make excuses for not writing. Consider this paragraph a PSA.

Thanksgiving Project

Last week was Thanksgiving weekend and this year I traveled to Iowa. Which is about 13 hours travel time from Pittsburgh to my brothers house. Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about next steps for myself, mainly in the career department. As I spend more time with WordPress I want more and more to just be able to develop themes and plugins myself. Which requires a solid knowledge of PHP, CSS, and HTML.  So I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to take steps to become a super awesome WordPress developer. There is a high demand for the skills and guess what, I love WordPress.

First thing’s first. This year I have gotten familiar with CSS and can comfortably hack any theme while messing with the PHP and creating templates, but always on the shoulders of someone else’s work. Since I knew I had a long car ride (both ways) in front of me I decided it would be the perfect time to start building my own WordPress theme.

Rubber Ducky

I’m calling this theme Duck in honor of Photoshop’s rubber duck that is in every tutorial. If you have never cut this little guy out of the white background with the pen tool you haven’t lived.

This first theme is really me cutting my teeth on writing all the CSS and hopefully PHP for my files. In preparing for this mini project I’ve already learned a great deal about WP core and theme interactions. I’m using an old “build themes” for WP book from 2008 to get started. There are a lot of modern functions missing from this tutorial but it has been good because I can really focus on the basics of what I’m doing.

Here is where I ended after four hours of straight coding in the car yesterday. My four hour limit was imposed by the battery life of Mr MacBook Pro.

Not much to look at but it was an accomplishment for me.

WordPress 3.5

One quick note. The release candidate is out for WordPress 3.5. There are a lot of backend upgrades especially to the image/media uploader and manager. There are some things that I thought were missing but I didn’t read all the dev notes and I wasn’t sure what polish hasn’t been added. Over all it looks like a great update and I’m looking forward to it in the coming months. Also I really like the new TwentyTwelve default theme. Great improvement over the current default. Check it out if you have a chance.

wp-admin White Screen of Death

Dealing with a wp-admin white screen of frustration. Anyone else deal with this before? So far I’ve done the following:

1. Deactivate all plugins
2. close php tags in functions.php of the active theme
3. add to wp-config WP-CASHE=False
4. Install the last four versions of wordpress

I don’t know how to change the theme if locked out of the admin area. but I suspect that is the culprit. I haven’t contacted the host yet, but the problem started when I updated wordpress. The front end is working just fine.

Any have any ideas?

UPDATE

The solution involved contacting the host. They did something to the php.ini file and it was fixed in two minutes. Super annoying that it was on their end, but good to know. Next time I will bug the host first.

Updated PhP My Admin in XAMPP

Getting my hands dirty locally.

If you have ever wanted to create a local blog on your computer (meaning not online) for testing or any other reason you need to check out XAMPP or one of the local host applications. I had wanted to do this for a long time but always thought it would be too complicated to setup. When I finally started poking around I basically had the whole thing setup because it is that simple.

Today I’ve been digging through some pretty complicated database connection errors and have been living in phpmyadmin all day. My need to look at some database tables individually called for uploading them to my localhost (or local server) to save time and energy. While comparing tables I noticed that I had an outdated version of phpmyadmin running on the local host. The official download of XAMPP was still running the old version and it wasn’t clear how to upgrade from the phpmyadmin home screen. So I just downloaded the new version and copied the files into the phpmyadmin folder in the applicaition. Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple.

When I refreshed phpmyadmin the login screen appears no problem. Except the default is configured to require a password. Which is in conflict with how XAMPP is setup locally. With no password. This is for ease of access in a development only environment not online. Anyway after messing around I realized two things. To get the update to work you need to rename the config.sample.inc.php file to config.inc.php. Then open that file up and change the allow no password rule to “true” instead of false. Ha that worked.

Two parts of this process that I still don’t get.

1. I made a backup of the old version of phpmyadmin and when I copied it back in. I got an error on loading that said the config.inc.php file was corrupt and couldn’t be opened. I have no idea why.

2. Where does XAMPP’s mysql store the database tables? I’m assuming it is within the application folders somewhere. Are they hidden folders?

Anyway I’m pumped because tinkering here isn’t my strong suit.

PodCamp Pittsburgh 7

PodCamp Pittsburgh is this weekend!

It feels awesome to type that sentence. An event I think about all year, spend months working with great people planning, and now experiencing the conference. This year’s focus on “Building Your Digital Toolbox” has pulled a great group of speakers that really covers all the bases.

If you want to hear me talk more about this year listen on Awesomecast or read on The Civic Commons Blog.

See you this weekend.

Speaking About PodCamp Pittsburgh 7

Friday I’ll be giving a short presentation about upcoming PodCamp Pittsburgh 7 at a Show-n-Tell event at Catapult.

This will be the fourth Show-n-Tell an event that showcases events an happenings around town. I’m excited to be part of the lineup. As an added bonus the event is hosted by Catapult a new shared work space that I’ve been meaning to checkout.

Unblurred is also that evening so swing by if you are planning to be in the neighborhood.

Shotgun with Woycheck

Last week I had the pleasure of riding shotgun with @woycheck while driving to somewhere Latrobe, PA. It’s always great to get alone with Mike because conversation is lively and we can talk about tech, blogging, and the past, present and future of social media. But if you know Mike you already knew that.

Observations

One item that is worth sharing was our conversation about listening to podcasts and reading blogs in your feed reader. Finding time to read and listen to shows has become a challenge since news is consumed in Twitter size chunks anymore. We both remarked that our Google Reader feeds have woefully become unattended as we turn to social media as our places to share and receive daily information. For Mike this is the chief reason he doesn’t currently maintain a blog. I couldn’t give up my website/blog as easily so I toil on.

Back 2 Work

As we talked about time management. Mike wanted to make sure I know about a workplace productivity show, Back 2 Work by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin. I’m always interested in workplace productivity ideas and theories and I wasn’t aware of this show. After checking out an episode I do like Back 2 Work’s approach and enjoy hearing their view points. I’m worried each episode is a bit long for me, but I’m willing to add it to my list of shows.

Getting back to work seems fitting on this day after Labor Day. One work focusing process I’ve started is contemplating the first hour of my day and using it to get focused. This usually involves planning what I want to carry out and setting realistic expectations for the day. I can easily let my day-to-day grind pull me in a lot of directions but focusing on one direction can really work wonders for my productivity.

Blogging

This is true for a lot of bloggers I know. They spend the first part of their day writing and getting their blog posts written. Usually earlier in the morning that when the world starts to impede on their attention. Mike and I talked about how getting into the habit of blogging is important but getting into the habit at the right time of day is also important to the success of a writer/blogger. Feel free to share your blogging habits in the comments.

Speaking of blogging there is a new(ish) blogging group for Pittsburghers on Facebook. It independent from Pittsburgh Bloggers, a PGH blog directory that has been around since before MySpace and Twitter. The Facebook groups is creating their own directory and sharing tips, news, and opportunities with each other.

So check out the Facebook group and Back 2 Work. Let me know what is working for you as you start your day and get focused.

 

PodCamp Pittsburgh 7

PCPGH7

PodCamp is back and we finally have our dates set for this year’s event. We are returning to Point Park University and are looking forward to our second year in their space. After a first time in a new location there are lots of thoughts about how we can do it better and Point Park was such a gracious host that we wanted to stay another year.

Annual Theme and New Vision

There a fundamental shift happening in PodCamps across the east coast. Where the “traditional” PodCamp is moving a way from the open-ended un-conferece and focusing itself to better serve the attendees. When I spoke with Whitney Hoffman, organizer of PodCamp East, earlier this year we both identified the need for our events to have a clear vision. In the early years of PodCamp the communities were just forming, new media was emerging, and web 2.0 was still maturing. Those of us on the edge have been living in this world for years, but we all know much of the world is behind the curve. PodCamp is the place to fill that gap for the uninitiated.

This year our theme is “Building Your Digital Toolbox.” The fruit of many discussions and brainstorming meeting with this years organizing committee. The average attendee at PodCamp used to be bloggers, podcasters and new media advocates. Over the past few years a shift has taken place. The average attendee is a small business owner, or an employee charged with managing their companies social media strategy, or a marketer looking to find inspiration in the latest SEO trend, or an old school podcamper looking to rub elbows. So PCPGH7 will cater to this more mature audience and aim at producing a higher quality event for everyone involved.

Building your digital toolbox will be the vision statement that drives us in achieving our goals. We would like for attendees to have a clear idea of what they will encounter in each session and what they can expect to walk away with. Finally we also would like to incorporate more interactive sessions. Where attendees can contribute to content being produced right in that session.

Remembering Our Roots

As much as I talk about focusing this year we can’t forget that PodCamp is a community event brought together by the need for people in the new media space to connect in real life. So if this will be your first PodCamp or your 7th, know that you are among good people and like-minded individuals.

OH and Fun. PodCamp is always about having fun and meeting new friends.

Looking Forward

Finally keep up-to-date with the new PodCamp Pittsburgh website. We have four pre-PodCamp evenings planned between now and October 27 so stay tuned for those announcements. Session submissions opens tomorrow and registration will open toward the end of August. I look forward to seeing old faces and meeting new ones this year!