My blog is powered by Roller, a java based blog platform, and it works reasonably well for me. However I want to move my blog to be hosted off my home connection, which rather means paying for hosting that can run a Java app, and if I wish to use to use multiple servers for redundancy, I will have to set up replication of the database somehow. These are complications I do not need, and add to the maintenance overhead of my blog somewhat. So what do I need?

I have said before I am too experienced in IT to work on a project without capturing the requirements first. So lets capture the requirements. Now currently my blog allows for comments, but the comments form is clunky, and no one ever does leave a comment, and frankly I'm not sure I care about comments anyway, also the comments form broke my attempt at responsive design.

When I set up my blog I did want to allow for comments, but there are enough other ways of contacting me, or offering feedback, that I don't much care, so a comments facility is a nice to have, but if the solution I pick doesn't allow them I'm not going to lose any sleep. So my next requirement would be something I can migrate all the content too, I don't wish to start from scratch for no good reason. My next requirement, and the one that is most important for me, I have to be able to keep the site up to date easily, but there has to be a minimum of management overhead for me. Ideally this means installing as few extra packages as possible on servers under my control, and also as little complex configuration as possible. I would also like to not have to change the URL of my blog, as this would mean any links, including those in my own blog posts, would stop working, unless I set up redirects, and that is extra configuration.

So what options do I have? And what problems do I have to overcome?

Well the options are almost too numerous to count, there are lots of platforms out there, so I shall have to keep looking at my options, and will give more detail in time.

My first issue, and one that is going to make this more of a project than a single blog post, is that Roller doesn't currently have an export facility to take the posts and put them in an easily digestable format to import into another blog platform. I have however found a handy guide to migrate to wordpress by using a custom rss feed, and on top of this my currently prefered platform to migrate too includes an RSS importer option. So I'm going to investigate that further. But I have access to the database, so I may also look at adding an importer for roller too if I decide to go down that route. The next problem is how do I assess the various options out there against the requirement to keep the URLs the same? I'm going to have to set up test sites and play with things, but doing so violates the requirement to keep things simple and easy to manage. Conflicting requiremnets are awesome. The hosted blog options my help as a number of them have free options, but these often do not allow you to use your own domain, or have ssl on your own domain, so they may work for a test site, but not for the final result. I have already said my currently prefered option is jekyll, and that should be easy to setup a test site. I'll think some more, and try a few things out.

posted at 9:04 pm on 3 Jun 2018 by Craig Stewart

Tags:not-a-designer breaking comment sysadmin 


If you'd like to remain with Java for blogging but are finding Roller's rather large size a concern, you might wish to evaluate my "TightBlog" fork of Roller: Note it is incompatible with Roller's database (is has just 12 database tables to Roller's 33), and for themes uses Thymeleaf instead of Velocity. So a manual migration of blog articles would still be needed. (Also, the functionality offered by TightBlog differs a fair amount from that offered by Roller, good to check the screenshots offered at the above link to make sure it has what you would need.)

Posted by Glen Mazza at 10:53 pm on 27 Jul 2018