Category: <span>WordPress</span>

radioProductShotIt may take some time for the DNS change to propagate, and there are certainly going to be some broken incoming links, but I just finished the bulk of the work to port my Radio UserLand site here.

All of the posts from are in a new Jake’s Radio ‘Blog category, in addition to preserving their original categories (some of which overlap with ones that were already here).

That leaves just one site to port in before my entire blogging life will live here at

(Of course I have a bunch of other sites too, and I have yet to decide what to do with each of them.)


Ps. I fixed the problem I was having with redirecting old content into the new site. Turns out I wasn’t properly escaping backslash characters in the script that generated my .htaccess file, so mod_rewrite was looking for “d{4}”, meaning “dddd”—instead of “\d{4}”, meaning four digits in a row. So all of the incoming links via should now work—the ones I know about at least.

Blogging Jake's Radio 'Blog WordPress

Hi all—here’s an update following my previous post asking for some WordPress advice: I pulled the trigger, and now all of the content from is ported over to Amazingly it worked right the first time! When does that ever happen?

Most, if not all of the links into the old site now redirect to the right place here. For the moment they’re temporary redirects, but after a bit more testing I’ll make them permanent so they’ll get picked up by search engines and the like. And contrary to my initial fears, the problem with pages living at multiple URLs was able to be easily resolved by redirecting via mod_rewrite rules in my .htaccess file.

404: Just say no!

The content of that site spans the period from December 22, 1999 to March 11, 2003, and all of the posts from that site are in their own category to make them easy to find.

Next I’m going to write some code to export my Radio UserLand site to WXR (WordPress eXtended RSS) format, so I can merge that content in too. I know a lot more now than I did when I started this work with Manila, so it should be quite a bit easier. After that, a one-off exporter for my custom WebsiteFramework site, That one goes way back to 1997!

Blogging Jake's Brainpan WordPress

Alex King posted an interesting rebuttal of Santiago Valdarrama’s missive explaining why he’s building his own blog engine.

Taken together, these posts pretty much sum up the reasons why I went with self-hosted WordPress, rather than try to roll my own solution, or continue to lope along indefinitely with Manila.

A couple of Alex’s points in particular stuck out for me:

Santiago: There’s always a learning curve. Every platform is different, specially when you want to fine tune your layout and deviate from the provided templates.

Alex: This one strikes me as a bit silly. There is a learning curve when building your own system too – especially if you haven’t written your layout/templating system yet.


Santiago: You’ll never get to experience the satisfaction of engaging in a conversation about how you developed your own platform from scratch.

Alex: … if what you want is engagement then joining a bountiful and vibrant community of developers is a much bigger opportunity than the potential for a conversation with another NIH hacker.

Santiago finished his post with:

It takes a few evenings of work to get it done. It’s that simple.

Honestly I doubt it. Although I’m an experienced web developer, if I were to attempt to roll my own solution from scratch, it would be a huge undertaking, fraught with many potentially fatal problems:

  • First I’d have to choose a programming language and platform, with very little in the way of criteria with which to make the right decision—at least not without doing a lot of research first.
  • I’d need to decide what features I really need and what I could do without.
  • I’d have to write (and debug) the code—probably a lot of code.
  • If I wanted to be able to use a native app to post to my blog, I’d have to implement a well-known API, with a dialect that the app understands. (Mo code, mo problems.)
  • I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the vast universe of WordPress plugins: I wanted a feature a plugin implemented, I’d have to write it myself. (Mo code, mo problems)
  • And so on…

And after all that, I’d still have to find a way to export the content from my current site, and import it into the new one, which was something was going to have to do anyway. 🙁

Plus, as Alex hints at by pointing out the vibrancy of the WordPress community, I wouldn’t be able to leverage the experience to actually learn WordPress (and some PHP, and some optimization, and some Apache config, and…).

Update: Santiago has a follow-up post:

“I’d never ask someone to do this. Rolling your own engine means a lot of work, and unless you are really on the nerd side (like I am and Brent Simmons is), it will be a waste of your time.”

Update: More dialog on Twitter

Ps. In the end Brent decided to stick with the self-built engine he’s been using for years, and write an iOS app for himself to post to it remotely. Moral of this story: Stick with what you know?

Blogging WordPress