A few folks have emailed me or left comments on various posts on my blogs letting me know that WordPress now supports Vox blog imports directly. Seems the code wranglers over there were tired of waiting on my slack butt to get things ready and decided to go ahead and just do it on their own! And you should probably be glad they did, because my work schedule ended up being something I wouldn't wish on anyone, and left little-to-no free time for me to do anything, let alone work out the kinks in the alpha/beta versions of the tool I was working on. (Luckily that's pretty much past for now, so I'm returning to the keyboard and back to the blog starting with this post!)
So anyway, WordPress.com blogs can now import from a Vox blog. Once you have a blog set up over on WordPress.com, you can go under the "Import" tab of the Tools menu and choose to import from a Vox blog. You enter your blog hostname, your user ID and password, and they pull ALL of your posts and comments over into your WordPress blog. Private posts are kept private, but I believe everything else becomes public (so you'd want to go through and change privacy notifications if, for example, you have everything on your Vox blog set as neighborhood-only). The service will even email you when the import is complete, so you don't have to sit around and check the status of the import continuously. Once it's done, you can go in and configure the settings how you'd like, modify entries, delete comments, etc – everything you could do when the content was on Vox, but now over on WordPress.com.
The importer has some great benefits, such as:
- Imports posts AND comments. Comments are captured exactly as left on Vox, and the link to the commenter goes back to their Vox blog URL.
- Imports photos from Vox into WordPress. Yes, photos will be native to WordPress, so they won't just link back to a photo hosted by Vox.
- Imports tags from your blog. No option to turn this off, but all tags are carried over and used as tags on the WordPress blog.
- Imports ALL posts, not just those made "public". Adjust privacy settings before or after you import to account for the fact that WordPress doesn't have all the privacy modes that Vox does, but you get all your content carried over when you import!
- Maintains formatting from your Vox blog – bullets, numbering, centering, font colors, etc all carry over 1:1. This may cause some minor issues on your WordPress blog if the layout doesn't support (e.g. white font on a white background), but you can edit this after the fact to suit.
There ARE some caveats to their importer, though:
- Does not import media except for pictures (videos, audio, books, collections don't seem to carry over). You'll notice in the WordPress blog that these simply link back to your Vox blog where they are still hosted. If you want to do a true transfer over with any of these, you'll actually have to download all your files (or have saved the originals) and upload these into WordPress directly. It's very nice that the pictures carry over, but you may need to adjust some formatting on posts where pictures are involved to get them to wrap and/or fit in the borders of your layout since the entries will still have the Vox picture formatting.
- May screw up your formatting. I have heard from some others that it worked fine, but at least in my case the formatting on the WordPress blog made it so there was a carriage return at the end of every line so that instead of wrapping naturally, it cut off each line and added some strange line breaks in the middle of the posts – something that I didn't purposefully put in my Vox blog when typing up the entries. Not sure where this came from or whether it's a parsing issue, but means that I would have to manually hit up each entry in my history and correct to make it appear to be formatted correctly, which sort of defeats the point of an export. I've followed up with a guy from Automattic who was in touch with me about Vox exports last fall to see if there's anything he can do about this, and he's looking into it.
- Only works for WordPress.com blogs (for now). The latest revision of self-hosted WordPress.org blogs still appears to not have an option to import from Vox (if it ever will). This is probably not a deal-breaker though, as you can import into a temporary blog on WordPress.com, and then export from there to a WXR file and import into your personal WordPress installation. The biggest issue here is that most self-hosted installs only accept .xml files up to 2MB in size, and your export may be much bigger, in which case you'll have to manually split it up into smaller files that can fit the import process. Again, the guy from Automattic is looking to work this into self-hosted installs, but it may be later rather than sooner due to development cycles and trying to get stuff like this included in the base code.
Overall though, it looks like the folks over at WordPress/Automattic did a VERY nice job of creating a means for locked-in Vox users to export their blogs to another platform. From WordPress.com you can go to self-hosted WordPress blogs, Blogger, and any other blogging platform that can process the seemingly ubiquitous WordPress WXR export file. So whether you're looking to jump ship or just back up your blog somewhere a little more….reliable….I'd recommend you give this exporter a try.