Tag: voxport

So Much for VoxPort – WordPress.Com Imports Vox Blogs Directly!


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. 

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A Call for Alpha Testers for My Vox Export Tool

EDIT:  Thanks for all the volunteers – I think I'm set on the alpha testing crew (who I will be contacting as soon as I can get the front-end tied to the back-end and make sure it's not going to break when you type in your vox address).  If you missed your chance to volunteer for testing – don't fret; I don't think the testing process will take all that long and I'll be opening it up for general consumption just as soon as I possibly can.

Okay, I'm not actually quite ready for alpha testers just yet, but soon I will be initializing the alpha version of the Vox export tool to those willing to help me test it out prior to making a formal release to the masses.  I wanted to get names of people interested in helping now, so that as soon as I'm ready I can contact you individually and get you started on the testing process.  Please read below and if you are interested in alpha testing the tool, please email me at VoxPorter@gmail.com .  I NEED A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS from each alpha tester so I can be in communication about updates, bug fixes, and requests for more information if I'm trying to figure out what went wrong in your setup.  I will NOT be communicating this through Vox comments or PMs, so if you're not willing to email me, please don't volunteer.

Testers should:

  • Be willing to try out the tool (possibly multiple times if bugfixes are required)
  • Be able/willing to import the resulting file into a WordPress blog (instructions may be provided if you don't know how) (free WordPress blogs can be created at WordPress.com, or you can set one up on your own server if you know how)
  • Be able/willing to review the resulting blog for problems/errors in the import process (i.e. checking to make sure content imported properly, blog post titles, dates, and tags appear correct, etc)

and most importantly:

  • Be able/willing to inform me of any problems you experience or notice, as well as provide comments/questions about using the export tool, the process as a whole, and any specific areas you think need improvement.  You won't need to be available to run the tool the same day I send you notification, but please only volunteer if you think you can support the testing in a timely manner (i.e. within about a week of getting a notification for testing).

Again, if you are interested in alpha testing the tool, please email me at VoxPorter@gmail.com . I'll select testers based on my current needs and the number who volunteer.

Oh, and FYI, the current planned Alpha version of the VoxPorter (name still in flux) tool includes the following:

  • Export all publicly viewable blog posts from a user's blog to a WXR .xml file (WordPress import file)
  • Importing this file into a WordPress blog will import blog titles, posting dates/times, content, and tags from posts to the new blog (note: links and media [pictures, music, videos] will still link to their current Vox enclosures for now)
  • Select whether trackback pings and comments will be globally enabled or disabled on all imported posts

Future improvements planned once this version is tested and available in a steady-state form:

  • Option to also export post comments (would show up under each blog post, just like they do on Vox)
  • Automatic splitting of WXR file on the fly into 2 MB sections for blogs with massive archives
  • Secondary tool to allow you to quickly and easily download your entire uploaded photos library for use on your new blog
  • Secondary tool to allow you to quickly and easily see what other social media services your Vox neighbors use (along with links to their individual accounts) so even if you decide not to stick with Vox, you can still stay in contact with your 'hood through other apps or sites

Other improvements possible but less likely (given the time I have to work on this):

  • Converting Vox links to your blog posts on the fly so they link to other posts in your new blog
  • Converting to other blog formats besides WordPress (Blogger, MovableType, etc)
  • Automatic widget/banner creation that you can post on your Vox blog to point people to your new blog location

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