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Monday, November 30, 2009

Archive Checklist

My previous post was so wordy that I thought I would republish the essence of my archiving process as a checklist. That way it will serve better as a guide when it comes to actually doing it.

  1. Create a new archive folder named after the previous year e.g. arch2009
  2. Move the old blog files into the the new folder.
  3. Copy the scripts, hitcounter, images, etc. into the new folder
  4. Change the blog settings to publish the old blog into the new folder
  5. Republish the entire blog.
  6. Create a new blog using the new year in the name
  7. Copy the template files into the new blog area
  8. Re-create the custom tags in the new blog
  9. Import scripts, images, etc. into the web folder for the new blog
  10. Edit the search file to include the new archive folder
  11. Publish the new blog at the top level.

That is a long list, but I should only have to do it once each year.

Posted by Brian S. Kimerer at 6:42 PM

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Annual Archive Process

One of the few problems with Thingamablog is that the uploads become longer and longer as the blog grows. If you modify any global resource, such as a template or style sheet, the entire blog, all of the html files, must be re-created and uploaded. This happens automatically at other milestones as well, usually when significant dates roll over. The length of the uploads will grow year after year because the blog is one monolithic thing.

This is not a bug, just a necessary action to keep all the blog pages up to date. This same thing happens when you have your blog on a database out at the server, but in that case it does not require a long upload because the html is created dynamically on the server when it is requested. You don't see the changes.

To avoid incurring very long uploads after years of use, I decided to come up with a way to archive my TAMB blogs on an annual basis. Thus, each year I will start over with the blog and keep my uploads limited to one year's worth of changes. Here is how I have decided to do it.

First thing, I renamed the current archive using the year in the name, for example, my blog, "Nothing Happens At Ten" became "Nothing Happens At Ten 2009". This allows me to distinguish the annual archives in the Thingamablog editor. Renaming the blog is a one time trick since after this I will start out each annual blog with the name that contains the year. The date will show up in the title of the blog, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The basic trick is to start a new blog each year, and archive the previous year in its own folder structure beneath the top level folder.

I will keep the current blog at the top level to keep the URL of the rss feed the same each year. If I move the current blog into its own folder, then the next year will require readers to change where they point their RSS feed to next year's new folder. That is not a good plan. So I leave the location of the current blog alone.

At end of year, I will create a year folder beneath the top level folder and move all of the blog into it. Using the folder named directly after the year, e.g. "2009" may confuse the system since that file will already exist to hold the TAMB archive files. Call it, say, "arch2009" or something. Then, I change the Path and URL of the blog in Thingamablog Weblog Settings Dialog to point into the new year folder. Once that is done, I republish the entire blog, which fixes all of the links in the files to point at the new location.

The reason for moving the blog files into the new folder before publishing (which overwrites many of the files anyway) is to make sure that any data files (such as comment files and counters) are available down at the new level. The script files and the hitcounter file should be copied into the new folder, but not moved. They are still required up at the highest level for use by the new blog.

Filezilla or your favorite ftp client can be used to move the files.

I will then make a new blog named after the new year and publish it at the top level. The blog entries will start at zero again, but they will exist in a different folder from the entries in the old year's blog so there should be no conflict.

One downside of this is that I need to re-create the changes made to templates and custom tags in the new blog. There appears to be no way to import them into a new blog from an old blog. Importing the changes in the templates is easy since I can just copy the template files from the old blog into the new one and it is done. Unfortunately, it is not so easy with the custom tags. I will have to re-create the custom tags in the new blog. Tedious, but necessary.

In the custom tag, <$FavoritesLinks$> I need to add a link into the archived blog so that it remains accessible from the latest.

I also need to import the code and images from the old blog into the web folder of the new blog if I want automatic updates to be done. Here are the required files for my NHAT blog:

  • nhat_search.php
  • simplehitcounter.php
  • copyinsert.txt
  • favicon.ic

It takes longer to describe the process than it does to do it. I will only have to do this once each year, and it should allow me to do quick uploads for the life of the blog.

Well, that is the plan anyway. Come back after the turn of the new year and see how well I have done.

Posted by Brian S. Kimerer at 9:27 AM

Saturday, November 28, 2009


It has been a while since I have posted to this blog. That is because I have been working out some issues with using TAMB, and it took longer than I thought it would. But now I think I have made some real progress. I have come up with solutions to two problems I wanted to solve.

  • How to archive a year's worth of blog entries to avoid ever longer uploads.
  • How to add my own version of comments to the blog.

I will write those up as I find time. Right now I am busy with other things.

Posted by Brian S. Kimerer at 4:36 PM

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