Almost WordPress to Drupal

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I became frustrated with WordPress about six months ago, while developing parts of Expecting Fan Web site. I cannot recall the problem, only that it annoyed me enough to spend two days learning about other Open Source content management systems.

I selected Drupal, for its brilliant design and extensive documentation. I was particularly intrigued by the Drupal Book module, described as “structured document publishing.”

I began recording progress on Twitter with Learning Drupal, March 21, 2009.

First Drupal Site

I followed advice on drupal.org, and it was easy to subclass Zen theme to design new site. It was also easy to create menus, blog, forum, as well as a book.

I also studied Pro Drupal Development to understand how it all worked.

Everything improved eight days later:

starting 16 part Drupal/Eclipse tutorial

Because tutorial introduced me to Eclipse PDT, a wonderful integrated development environment for PHP programming language.

Problem Installing Eclipse

After a few crashes, I got Eclipse to work, by installing latest version of Java runtime. I did not want to replace my current version, but it was simple to point Eclipse to new version, starting it:

eclipse -Declipse.vm=/opt/java6/jre1.6.0_13

Eclipse has never crashed with newer Java.

Problem Installing Drupal Test Site

Before adding content, I wanted to be sure that my test site would not appear on search engines. Unfortunately, I could not find “privacy” among the dozens of Drupal administrative settings, or in “Database Table Reference” of Pro Drupal Development.

NOTE: Follow instructions on Disable RSS Feed? before adding content to a Drupal test site.

After 16 Days of Drupal

On April 5, 2009, I Tweeted:

My first Drupal site is up: http://mitchelldmiller.com/web/
Unfortunately, my Tweet from the site did not work

I fixed the Tweet problem, by writing my own program to read and display my last Tweet, and added it to my Drupal and WordPress blogs.

My next Tweet was melancholy:

Trashed my Drupal database and test site is gone!

No, I have no idea what I did, but I knew I needed to learn more PHP. On April 10:

any suggestions for PHP book with function ref to replace php.net?

A response by @ucffool led me to PHP Reference by Mario Lurgi, which has been very helpful.

Nevertheless, I still liked Drupal, so I added “Convert blog to Drupal” to my lengthy “To Do” list.

Month of WordPress Updates

On July 13, I Tweeted:

only took 5 minutes to upgrade WordPress, but I am sick of it. Time to finish my Drupal book, and try something new

I have no idea how I did this, because it was never that fast again!

I recorded additional WordPress updates on July28, August 11, August 15.

I am delighted to report that since Tweeting:

@wordpress please consider validating future releases with Eclipse so they load without errors http://tr.im/uOC5

Future releases have loaded without errors!

Unfortunately, updates introduced very annoying problem! “Screen options” on Administrative pages, stopped working. Tried Linux versions of Firefox 2 and 3, Opera 9 and 10.

I wish WordPress would offer an option for a simpler Administrative theme, where all options are visible. Has anybody besides the developers, ever used the Drag & Drop feature?

Anyway, these experiences induced me to tackle blog conversion.

My Last 29 Hours of Drupal

Notes and comments from my experience converting Where Did My Brain Go? from WordPress to Drupal:

  1. optimized WordPress database with disable revisions plugin before export
  2. installed Drupal, and followed instructions on Disable RSS Feed?
  3. selected WP2Drupal module to convert database to Drupal
  4. edited WP2Drupal to: connect nodes with taxonomy terms fails due to lack of $node->vid
  5. WP2Drupal ignored WordPress slugs, and created links from titles — most links worked
  6. Needed to:
    • review 300 links to correct changes
    • Learn how to filter content types, to maintain current structure
  7. Tried Blueprint CSS Framework, used by Blueprint Drupal Module. Even includes validator! But was hesitant about having to learn Ruby Programming Language to understand how it worked. Finally came to senses after reading “Help me!” messages in Blueprint CSS : Google Groups. I would not benefit enough from replacing:
    • one stylesheet with complicated Ruby system
    • really wanted to use Drupal Book module, but did not want to expend many hours converting blog

How To Try WP2Drupal Now

I installed these Drupal modules before converting database:

Drupal Suggestions

I recommend Drupal to anyone who wants to start a new blog, knows PHP programming language, and is willing to read Pro Drupal Development to understand how Drupal works, and to learn how to write Drupal modules.

Drupal should assign volunteer to update WP2Drupal module so it creates uses existing links in WordPress slugs, instead of creating new ones from titles. Drupal should make it easy to convert WordPress blog to Drupal, if it wants to become more popular.

Comments

Jon

Very cool! Glad I found this post. I wanted to say hello and thanks for posting such good stuff. – Jon

Mitch

Thanks Jon, glad I was helpful.

DennisVega

Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so, Excellent post!

Tnelson

There is obviously a lot to know about this. There are some good points here.

Jenny McArthur

Fantastic site, I really like your writing style. I found your site while looking for another one on Bing. I don’t have time to read it all right now, but I have bookmarked it. Keep up the excellent work! I have been working with content management systems for 8 years now. There are so many great applications out there. Which CMS has been the most flexible for you? Please bookmark my site – http://www.CMSDesk.com.

Mitch

Jenny: IMO Pebble is easiest, Drupal is most flexible. Was intrigued by articles on your site about Joomla’s popularity. I tried Joomla for a few minutes — documentation was awful.