Moving to Movable Type  JUN 02 2002

After 4+ years of carefully editing kottke.org by hand with a text editor and an FTP client, I've finally invested some time putting everything into a content management system. After mucking around for months trying to build my own system that did absolutely everything (God, what the hell was I thinking?), I chose to go with Movable Type, a donation-supported off-the-shelf microcontent management system (mCMS).

MT isn't the perfect solution, but it's surprisingly powerful and well-suited to the task (something I discovered once I started poking around the documentation and on the MT support forum). I've been using it in the background for a couple weeks, getting all my past entries into the system and the templating figured out, and I'm quite happy with it so far. It'll be interesting to see how the switch from hand editing to using a publish-via-the-Web tool will affect what I post, how often I update, and so on.

If you're a repeat visitor to kottke.org, there are a few changes due to the switch that I should mention (although the first one is the only important one for casual readers):

- Posts now appear in strict reverse chronological order. Previously, the newest day appeared at the top of the page, but the posts within each day read from oldest to newest down the page. Posts now read from newest to oldest down the page within each day. The newest post is always at the top of the page.

- Each individual post now has a permanent link associated with it (the gray-colored bracketed timestamp at the end of each entry). Previously, I only permalinked each day's collection of posts.

- Each individual post is archived on its own page in addition to a monthly archive. For example, this post is located on this page and on the archive page for June 2002.

- Because each post is now archived individually, all of the specific post URLs have changed. This was a hard thing to do because it basically breaks all the links to specific kottke.org posts on other sites...and I hate it when sites do that to me. Thanks to Apache's RedirectMatch directive, I'm automatically redirecting incoming requests for the old links to the new files as best as I can for now. In the future, I'm going implement a better solution using mod_rewrite.

- The archive page has moved to this URL.

- A category listing on the archive page coming soon.

- RSS feed coming soon. Maybe.

Other than all that, everything here looks and works the same as before.

Oh, one more thing. In order to import all my previous posts into MT, I had to write a script to parse through the HTML of my old monthly archives. Parsing through 1.2 Mb of hand-coded HTML is an inexact science at best. If you happen to take a spin around in the archives, let me know if anything seems amiss. Thanks!

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