An Emergency Move from Moveable Type to WordPress

On Thursday Movable Type finally decided to corrupt its database every time we uploaded new content.  We changed the database from SQLite to MySQL and back again, upgraded and downgraded Movable Type, and did a whole host of things to try and diagnose the problem, only to see the same internal server error when new content was added.  “Arghhh!” was repeated many times, and words much, much worse.

When we made the decision to use Movable Type back in early 2007, it was great then, written in Perl, supported a whole range of publishing options,  it allowed us to create a slick custom experience, and even our hoster supported the software.  Since then Six Apart, the company that created Movable Type, has been bought and sold a couple of times, the development community has walked away from the platform, our hoster backed away from supporting the software, so we knew the day was coming when we needed to make the move to WordPress, this summer was the plan.  Our situation reminded me of many of the BOSS (Business and Operational Support System) projects I get involved with where you think, “Should have moved sooner, and why did you let them own your data.”  The learning for me is from the outset have a plan in place on how you retain control over all your data and as importantly its integrity so should the need to quickly migrate arise, you’re ready, which we are now.

The stories on the web about the challenges in migrating the data from Movable Type to WordPress were concerning, there are a lot of Movable Type Haters out there.  And it’s not only the data migration but all the URL redirection, .htaccess mod rewrites, re-entering tags which inevitably get lost in the migration, directly modifying the WordPress mySQL database, editing the weblogs of all the weird line breaks that get inserted for no apparent reason, the list goes on and on.  But here we are, the weblog is up, the theme we’re using is WordPress Twenty Twelve, which is a responsive HTML5 based theme, so you will experience better readability on your tablet, phablet and smartphones (also known as handheld computers).

Please let me if you find any 404 or Not Found error messages.  The website is a work in progress over the next month, the focus has been the weblog migration (arghhh!) as most of the traffic goes there and we’re about half way through (before mid 2010 some of the weblogs may look a bit rough), the rest of the site will be updated soon.  Thanks for your understanding, a BIG thanks to all the team in making this emergency move (yes, special dinners are being planned), and remember to keep control over all your data and its integrity!

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