Migrating from Radio to Movable Type

I finally managed to move to MT from Radio. As much as I’ve enjoyed learning all the ins and outs of Radio, I’m just finding it too painful. Whilst the memory leak which slowly kills my computer (unless I restart Radio each time I want to do something and then shut it down again straightaway) is merely irritating, the fact that I can’t post when I’m not at my desktop machine is becoming a major problem.

In particular, I’m heading off to Boston for a week soon and I want to be able to post whilst I’m there. (Anyone who reads this who’s going to be in Boston in the next few weeks and would like to meet up, please drop me a line at tony@tmtm.com)

Actually setting up MT was trivial, but I’ve spent a few days trying to minimise the disruption to readers. I’ve set Apache up to redirect most requests to the relevant page on the new site, but I’ve almost certainly missed some.

There were all sorts of interesting issues with the migration:

1) Export / Import

I wrote a radio macro to export all my posts as XML, and a Perl script that then turned that file into MT’s input format. This was easier than trying to get Radio to export to that format, as I couldn’t find an easy way to output only the information I wanted on a Radio page. It also gave me the chance to make a few other changes in Perl, where I’m much more comfortable.

2) Post Titles

In Radio you can have untitled posts. MT gives those titles – some of which are very strange …

3) Title Links

In Radio I often used the ability to add a link to a post’s title. I couldn’t find a sensible way to import this into MT. I’ll gradually work my way through my historic posts to fix this.

4) Auto-formatting

Both Radio and MT attempt to auto-format your posts. But they do it in subtly different ways. I had to turn off ‘convert line breaks’ in the imported posts by performing an update on the database. This makes most posts look a little strange (mainly because they lose the paragraph breaks). Again, I’ll tidy those up over time.

5) Template and Stylesheets

I’d heavily customised my Radio templates and stylesheets. I had to do the same with MT. It took me a while to work out where some of the templates actually were with MT (particularly the seach template which by default applies across the entire MT installation, rather than per blog, and thus can’t be edited in the same way as all the others…), and then a lot longer to modify them all. Again, I’ve almost certainly missed some.

6) Blogroll / Linkback / Google-links

The blogroll and link-back were done via xbit-hack includes, and so could be brought in trivially. However, MT clobbers the file permissions every time it rebuilds the page, making the SSI no longer work. For now I have to remember to chmod it by hand. The google-links used to be created automatically as I wrote my posts and stored in the Radio object database. I still haven’t investigated how to replicate this in MT.

7) Posts on Home Page

With Radio I could say show the last 7 days of posts on the front page. In MT I can say the same. However, with Radio it shows the last 7 days on which there were posts, whether they were actually the last 7 days in real time. In MT it shows the last physical week. So I’ve had to tell it to show the last 10 posts instead.

8) Navigation

I set MT up to have daily archives, but still haven’t found any useful way to navigate around those beyond the back-a-day / forward-a-day links on each page. I quite liked the ‘Month of Posts at a Glance’ calendar that was on Dive Into Mark at some point, so I’ll probably try to find that and use it.

If there’s anything else strange about the new version, please let me know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *