So after eventually getting fed up with WordPress, especially after the WYSIWYG editor disappered in the 2.3.3 update, I finally decided to bite the bullet and migrate my blog over to Habari. Once I’d been through the process, I thought I’d write a short blog entry about the experience.
First, there was the matter of content. Though it wasn’t as easy or intuitive as it could have been to track down how to migrate content from WordPress, once I knew how, it was a snap. Simply go to Admin > Plugins, activate the WordPress Importer plugin (which comes bundled with the release), then go to Admin > Import and you’ll have a WordPress Database option. From that point, it’s just a matter of putting in the authentication credentials to point Habari at the WordPress database and it seamlessly imports all your data into the Habari database.
Next came making Habari support my existing URL scheme from WordPress. It turns out that Habari has a database table for rewrite rules, but currently no section of the admin area to manage it. Ergo, the only way to add to or change these is to do it manually. Luckily, there was a blog entry from Michael Harris that detailed all this and even provided the exact INSERT statement needed.
After that came my blog theme. If the Habari developers are ex-WordPress developers as I’ve heard, they must not have liked the WordPress API much, because the two sure are different. This made theme migration look cumbersome enough that I decided to simply retire my old blog theme in favor of a slightly tweaked version of one of the stock themes available for Habari, namely Whitespace.
Finally, there were plugins. I wanted to continue using Akismet to manage content spam, as that had tended to serve me well while I was using WordPress. Luckily, Chris Davis has created an Akismet plugin. I downloaded the archive into /user/plugins, decompressed it, and then had to dig around in the plugin’s PHP file and add in my WordPress API key and blog URL. It would be nice if this was updated to use the configuration API that Habari offers for plugins. I tried the Blogroll plugin and didn’t really care for its interface. In that particular area, I actually liked how WordPress did things.
I experienced two particularly strange things during the process of migrating my blog. One occurred when I tried to swap out directories to make the new Habari-based version of my blog live. When I did that, all plugins mysteriously deactivated. I had to go back into Admin > Plugins and reactive them individually. They all seemed to retain their settings, at least.
The other oddity happened after I activated the TinyMCE plugin so that I could use a browser-based WYSIWYG interface to edit content. The dashboard screen in the admin area (and only that screen, from what I can tell) started throwing an “exception without a stack frame” error. I’ve e-mailed the author on that one, so we’ll see what happens.
Overall, though, I’m very satisfied with Habari and look forward to using it to catch up on the backlog of post ideas I’ve managed to build up over the past few weeks.