As you can see, I’ve updated DesignatedNerd.com to a brand spankin’ new site – I’ve cleared out a lot of the crud and moved everything over to a WordPress backend so that I could more easily take advantage of the awesome templating system available with it.
In addition, I also updated EllenShapiro.com, my personal site. You’ll notice a lot that looks familiar there from here – both sites are using slightly tweaked versions of the same theme, since I decided to try and Unify My Personal Branding (aka, I am lazy and only really want to have deal with one theme).
As part of this transition, I’m going to start doing more technical blogging here at DesignatedNerd.com, touching on the various trials and tribulations of development I run into in my day-to-day work and in my 75,000 side projects.
To kick things off, I wanted to do a quick rundown of some of the tools that helped in this transition:
- MediaTemple web hosting – One click WordPress installs that update really easily for the win. And multiple domain hosting on the same account made it really easy to consolidate my sites to one host. I’ll give a special shout out to one of my former hosts: DreamHost made it dead easy to transfer my DNS away from them.
- The Montezuma WordPress Theme – You’re lookin’ at it. I’ve made a few minor CSS tweaks and obviously on this site I re-colored a bunch sprite sheets (more on that in a second), but this is a really solid, responsive theme.
- The Photoshop replace color tool. Holy crap, this made making a re-skinned version of the site so much easier. Seriously, even if you don’t have photoshop, find a friend who does or download the temporary demo. Took about five seconds per sprite sheet to swap out the colors.
- The GitHub Embed plugin brought some nice formatting and stats to my Open Source page.
In addition, a quick rundown of some lessons I learned:
- Don’t use RapidWeaver for web design unless you want to never not use RapidWeaver. It craps markup all over your content, which is a *huge* pain in the ass to remove and is pretty awful for separation of your content from the CSS used to style it, and makes harder to migrate to any new theme.
- Built-in links update when you move your WordPress address and Site address from a gridserver address at MediaTemple to your full, actual URL. Links you’ve put in any of your pages do not. That was a pain in the ass.
- If you ever have any kind of deadline for your DNS transfer, make sure you leave at least five business days before it to start it. I was floored when I found out the transfer could take that long.
- The WordPress Export tool allows you to export files of any size. The WordPress import tool allows you to only import files up to 2MB. I had about 8MB of content that I moved over on my personal site (My old blog is a great time capsule of First World Problems, c. the early 2000s), so I had to re-export it as several different files. [Update: My friend Neil mentioned that the 2mb limit is probably a limitation of either MediaTemple’s server of the script, and may be able to be adjusted. Too late for me, maybe useful for you.]
- CSS specificity is a real pain in the ass. Luckily, I had help from a co-worker who’s a Senior Front-End Dev to figure out why something I was trying wasn’t working, but it definitely reinforced that I’d made the right decision to go with the same theme for both sites so that once I figured out how to fix things in one place, I could just apply it to the other.
- I still have no idea how WordPress Child Themes work. It seems like a great concept: Leave the base theme untouched, and only update the child for the exact tweaks you need. I could never get the damn thing to work with loading everything properly. This will likely come back to bite me whenever the theme gets updated, but oh well.
- Don’t ever spend three days cleaning up content you wrote when you were 19 when you are more than a decade older. You will want to build a time machine to travel back in time to slap yourself upside the head. As the Old 97’s put it: Nineteen is not the age of reason.
Anyway – enjoy! Take the contact form for a spin and let me know if you find any broken links etc. I still have to figure out how to do some permanent redirects for the old RSS feeds, but otherwise, everything should be up and running.