WordPress’s import functionality is horrid

While I’m pretty sure that WordPress is a nifty place to start-off a blog, and considering all of our awful experiences with blogspirit certainly better than that, there is so much wrong with the way it imports content from existing blogs.  If the guys who make wordpress are as clever as they seem, it is unethical to release software with “features” that fail so often and so silently.  It would be better if the manual just said “Content can be imported directly into the database by advanced users using SQL,” rather than pretend there is a functioning point-and-click interface.  Current status:

  •  I wasted 6 hours today attempting to make the categories/tag thing work right. The transition is smoother for users who enter the blog (less supposedly valid URLs give  404s), but
  • I had to disable both the category list and tag cloud because they both generate links that 404.
  • Further, I discovered that many of the comments were imported correctly — to the wrong post!

At present, the transition to WordPress is exactly the nightmare I expected it to be.  I do not have time to waste babysitting PHP that, because it runs without generating errors, some halfwit associated with the WordPress project figures is error-free.

Now, the reason for my jump to WordPress remains; Blogspirit has been eating obviously valid comments for a year, and denying that fact.  WordPress is “free software,” so it’s reasonable to expect Microsoft-level lack-of-concern-for-users from them.  Additionally, because WordPress (unlike blogspirit) exposes its implmentation to administrators, I at least have a chance of figuring out what’s going on.  Blogspirit, meanwhile, charged for subpar service, denied problems existed, and prevented access to any method that would allow bloggers to fix those programs.

At least from the perspective of someone moving over to WordPress, it is not a good service.  WordPress has given me one of the worst user experiences imaginable.

Then again, so did blogspirit.

Making myself at home

Bobbyzero’s been a big help in this process, and I can’t thank him enough.

One of the differences in blogspirit and wordpress is how categories and tags are stored.  Blogspirit keeps categories and tags seperate, displaying categories as /category and tags as /tag/tag.  WordPress often confuses the two, and has problems if you try to display one at root.  So visitors who were trying to get to www.tdaxp.com/israel, which was a valid address on the blogspirit blog, were getting a 404 page.

Additionally, many categories and posts didn’t fully transfer.

Therefore, I’m back to programming, going through the old blog to manually add the categories, tags, and linking schemata to the database that tdaxp runs on.   I want the transition to be as seemless as possible.  I’ve learned my lesson about trusting wordpress’s import functionality (don’t).  Still, I think I can get rid of the errors that wordpress needless made soon, minimizing hassles for readers.