main pages migrated

We’re making quick progress here, and all the main pages at djchuang.com have been migrated into WordPress. There are some unsightly formatting line breaks and broken secondary pages, which will get fixed on the next wave. With motivation being elusive most of the time, I’m surprisingly very motivated with this quick installation of WordPress and how easy it is to use. So I took advantage of a few hours of being free today and this brief burst of energy to plow through the copy & pasting.

What would have taken 4 to 6 weeks to migrate all this is looking like 4 to 6 days! If my vote can be a tie-breaker for you, switch to WordPress in about 5 minutes!

In this section, I’ll jot down some of the technical things that I did with my WordPress installation to customize it, to have it do some things I’d like for this particular website, and suggest some of the best WordPress plugins and tips. (I’ve put this on the next page so that search engines can find it, and so it doesn’t take up room on my home page.)

Great plugins:

Get Custom Field Values (by Scott Reilly at coffee2code.com) is how you can use the custom fields on posts and pages selectively. WP 1.5 by default only has the_meta() template tag, which displays all custom fields in a simple format. On the PostMeta function doc page, the developers wished that “independent developers will come up with many interesting uses for post meta-data in the form of plugins.” This is the one!

WP Plugin Manager makes it very easy for one-click installation of select plugins, and one-click remove.

NoFollow puts in the nofollow= descriptor with links made in comments to prevent search engine spamming and false page ranking.

Tips for customizing:

This website has both posts (the blog part) and pages (the content part, portions of which have been around since 1997, when the website first launched.) I use custom fields on my pages to get special placement of texts: one I call ‘block’, which puts an introductory section on the top of a page (e.g. faith page) and one I call ‘sidebar’ that places content into the right hand column (e.g. Keller, the verse at right on the faith page).

I used a separate .php template file, placed in my custom theme subdirectory, for each of these: header, footer, left navigation menu, syndication, disclaimer, righthand sidebar. And I use them selectively in my Main template and Page template. Of course, I have a custom theme for my website design. (For the artistes out there, you might notice the iconic header banner inspired by Andy Warhol.)

I added a remove_filter() command for wpautop on my Page Template, b/c my older pages were based in HTML code, and when I copy/pasted them into WordPress, the line breaks were undesired. So for my posts, the auto BRs are great; and now the pages can be happy too. Saved me hours of invisible line break hunting.

I’m also hoping to use a custom field to embed RSS feeds transparently – when I figure out how, and have time to install it, I’ll note it here.

Plus, I modified 2 files in the admin interface, so I can have more room for entering a post, and editing custom fields. I changed /wordpress/wp-admin/admin-functions.php for more rows to edit custom fields [in function list_meta()], and changed /wordpress/wp-admin/wp-admin.css for a smaller sans-serif font [for class textarea, input, select].

Error encountered and fixed:

If you get an error like:

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/mypath/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/get-custom.php:181) in /home/mypath/public_html/wordpress/wp-admin/admin.php on line 6

First place to check is the .php file and see if there are extra characters before the opening <? or after the closing ?>. PHP does not like any extra characters; they must be deleted. That’ll throw the unsightly error above. Thanks to Scott Reilly for the quick reply on this troubleshooting! And as an added bonus, I was able to fix the PHP code at another website, which was also throwing this elusive error.

Other plugins I hope to use soon:

Customizable Post Listings to display Recent Posts, Recently Commented Posts, Recently Modified Posts, Random Posts, etc.

moisie_config – templates: metatags lets you edit metatags in the of web pages, but I’m not sure how this differs from editing a theme template page. Caution on activating this plugin: by default, it writes certain keywords into the metatags. Lesson here might be: don’t activate a plugin until you know how it works first.

BackupRestore makes a backup of WordPress database.

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  1. rob says:

    I’m wanting to eventually get off blogger and go with WP. Just haven’t found the time…or the $$ to get hosting either.

  2. rudy says:

    truth in advertising – wordpress – who wooda thunkit?

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