Skip navigation

Tag Archives: site updates

jess.skyness.org

(I’d apologise for posting twice about this for anyone subscribed to the feed, but if you’re still subscribed to the feed, you can consider this a reminder to unsubscribe. All my posts are going there now!)

Advertisements

It’s been over six months since I moved this blog to WordPress.com. It feels like a short period of time, no doubt at least in part because I’ve been pretty bad at actually using my blog consistently in that time. Nonetheless, it’s been six and a half months.

WordPress.com is okay. After all, I’ve used it for all this time without complaining too much. But there were some annoyances. For instance, the fact that all the tag links go to a list of all posts on WP.com to use that tag. I mean, what’s with that? This is my blog; I don’t really want to encourage people to surf right through like this system encourages. They’re supposed to be interested in what I have to say, and stay. Okay, that’s a little selfish, but a more compelling reason is that a lot of my tags aren’t designed for any use other than on this blog. For instance, when I tag a post with “Tigger”, I’m talking about my cat. If someone else tags their post with “Tigger”, they are probably NOT talking about my cat. Consequently it makes no sense to show people every post on WP.com tagged “Tigger” — they’re different topics. People want to know about my cat!

WordPress.com is also very limited in what I can actually do with my blog’s design. If you pay you can edit the site’s CSS (not that I would pay for that), but nothing will let you alter how posts, pages, the navigation, the archives, etc. are arranged. On my old site’s front page, I had two different loops to show two different lists of entries: asides, and the titles and one-sentence summaries of my most recent posts. I liked it that way — I could differentiate between two different styles of post, and all was good. But I can’t do that here.

Over the school holidays one day I was really bored and decided to open my theme files and convert them into an HTML mock-up. So I could relive how the layout looked in some format other than a puny thumbnail, I guess. Then, unable to resist the temptation, I started making alterations and improvements. I thought about the categories I really wanted, how wide I really wanted the columns, and how I really wanted the front page designed (I decided the most recent entry should be more prominent than just a little link, because surely casual visitors would want to know at a glance whether the post has been updated since their last visit — without needing to look around).

In the end, I found myself really inspired to work on my website’s design. Only, tragically… I couldn’t. I could only work on this lame HTML demo’s mock-up. No one would ever see what my hard work and thoughtfulness had produced! What a depressing thought.

So I did what any reasonable person would do, and sought out some subdomain hosting. Before I’d even made up my mind to emigrate from WP.com, I’d heard some good things about Bubble.nu, so I checked that site out. After a few days thinking about it, I filled out an application, and within an hour I received an acceptance email.

All of this means: I have a new blog, available at jess.skyness.org.

Of course I also decided to attempt a switch to Chyrp to see if it’s better than WordPress. Honestly I haven’t made up my mind yet. One of the downsides of the switch is that the complex realities of porting a theme from one templating system to another means that 99% of my carefully-considered design changes did not actually happen. But on the bright side, at least I have the freedom to work on it now.

Also unfortunately, Chyrp’s templating system doesn’t seem to be well-documented. I mean, if you read the templating tags you can work out what every single one of them does; it’s easy to pick up that way. Unfortunately, that tells me nothing about the OTHER tags I can use. You know, like the ones that would let me have multiple loops on the front page. Or how to link to an RSS feed. Or how I can get an RSS feed of just one category. (Okay, I guess neither of the RSS feed things relate that much to template tags, but just continuing on the theme of hard-to-find documentation…)

Because the link somehow got lost in the middle of the entry, I’ll repeat myself: new blog: jess.skyness.org.

The fact that you’re seeing this post means that the transition has — I think — gone smoothly. I moved over all of my posts, and all of your comments. I corrected all the links I could find, re-uploaded all the images I had to, deleted all the useless posts (like the archives page), retracted some more posts (just self-pitying boring ones no one would want to read anyway), and did a lot of maintenance work like that. And now I’ve finished! Pretty much. There are a couple more things I could correct if I had the motivation, but right now, I don’t.

I also worked out how to implement a permanent redirect, so from now until the 20th, all links on the old site will automatically redirect to links here. After that, they’ll just be broken links.

The reason for the move is that my site has been hosted since 2005 by a generous friend of mine. However, she’s lost interest in web design (and moved her blog to wordpress.com ages ago), and is letting her domain and hosting expire. She let me know yesterday, so I did everything then before I found a way to procrastinate.

I miss the freedoms the old site allowed me — being able to alter themes and have plugins — but wordpress.com isn’t too bad. I do wish it had more variety in themes. Oh, and I also wish I could delete useless revisions! No, I do not need to preserve a copy of that version of the post where the image link was broken. Why do you think I do, WordPress?

Anyway. I’ll finish rambling here. The idea was just to let people know what was happening, which I think I’ve achieved. Now to eat!