Belly 2.0: The Re-hatching
No re-hatching is complete without eggs. Here, a cuddly, baby Cthulhu bursts forth from his shell and plots world destruction. He’s young, though. Perhaps we can avert disaster with some motherly love and a perky little chant or two. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!
Not that changing over to a new blogging engine bears any resemblance to a horror movie, mind you. Nope, not at all.
It was all going swimmingly, honest. Last Tuesday, I hatched this grand plan to upload and install WordPress (and transfer over all our archive posts) during the Day Without Food Blogs. I’d created a bare-bones page in honor of Net Neutrality, and set up a redirect so that I could, (meanwhile and quite nefariously) work behind the scenes and ready Belly 2.0 for a grand unveiling.
And then the WordPress import engine stripped all of the CSS out of every single last archive post and my two hours of work turned into, well, many more. Many, many more. Because you know, once you’re forced to futz with one thing, you end up futzing with another, and then another, and then the futzing just explodes into a giant, week-long futz-o-rama.
Here, we have an egg discovered on board the French frigate Amitié during the Napoleonic Wars. Little did anyone suspect at the time, but this egg contained not just any dragon, but a most impressive Chinese dragon (with a most charming personality, to boot). To read about the dragon’s adventures during the Age of Sail, you simply must check out Naomi Novik’s Temeraire trilogy, new from Del Rey.
“It’s crunchy and delicious, just like cow!” — Dragon Dish Daily
(At which point Chopper says “enough with the futzing already. Get the damn site back up!”)
So, here we are. (And, yes, I still have more futzing to do.)
And now, a few truly boring technical notes:
1. Why the change over? Don’t get me wrong, I’m awfully fond of Movable Type and it’s served me well since the day we started this puppy, but when MT introduced version 3 and started charging for it, I said no thanks, I’ll stick with free because free and my budget get along better. All fine and good until MT Blacklist fell by the wayside. Within days, we were inundated with comment spam and my only recourse was to ether screen all comments or shut down almost all of our old comment threads. When I found myself spending more time closing threads and deleting spam than futzing (creatively) with the blog, I knew it was time for a change.
2. And since, as I mentioned, we like free, I dove into the groovy, open-source world of WordPress. Oooh, the plug-ins! So many toys; so little time. I’m still learning, still making big, stupid mistakes, but I think now, finally, we’re ready to go live with my futzing and see how it all plays out. And hey, if I do say so myself, I think the new site looks pretty darned good for the work of an old fart (in internet years only, dammit!) whose most recent computer grade was a D in Pascal. I kid you not.
3. Whither permalinks? And since I’m not that bright in the areas of advanced coding, I’ve yet to figure out how to make all my MT permalinks magically redirect to the newer, spiffier WordPress permalinks en masse. No worries, though. I have my own method of making them redirect (the old fashioned way, one damn link at a time…), and in the meantime, the MT links will stay active for folks who’ve made use of them in their own blog posts.
4. Now, most of my future futzing will be with the sidebars, because you can never have too many cool things to add to your sidebars. (Actually, you can, and that’s the problem. Where to put it all? What to keep? What to ditch? How do I want to do my blogroll anyway, especially when I’ve got far too many links?) So, to alert our readers to the more interesting futzes on the sidebars, or to alert them to interesting things in general, I’ve set up a snackbar. See? It’s up there on the left, just below the Rabelais quote. Click on the comment number and it’ll open up, just like a regular post. How cool is that?
5. My second main area of futzing will be with the archives. I’ve already overhauled our categories, and our next project (yes, I’m making Chopper help me with this one), will be a Recipe Archive. Stay tuned.
6. RSS feeds. Oh hell. They’re probably completely pooched right now. I’ll be working on that as well.
7. Goodies, more goodies, and surprises. In short, there’s more. I’m not telling.