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Introducing the New Geek News Central!

Posted by geeknews at 12:51 AM on April 18, 2009

itunes150The switch from Movable Type to WordPress is now complete and what a journey it has been.  Yes I know let the rejoicing begin the last diehard MT user has left the building.  The move was needed but there were a number of significant challenges in moving from MT to WP that I will highlight below.

spaceblue1My hat is off to the team at SpaceBlue for the redesign and integration work. They went above and beyond the line of duty. I highly recommend them great design team. Although the logo redesign in concept was my idea and Brian improved upon it in a big way. Contest starting next week on Geek News Central on where I came up with the logo idea.

This is Geek News Central Version 3.0 aka this is the third skin and the first in which we are running on WordPres. I hope the look and feel is something we can stay with for a few years. Let me highlight the reasons for the switch from Movable Type to WordPress.  First and foremost I don’t think SixApart cares about their bloggers  anymore and in my opinion have been too slow to meet my new publishing needs.

Second their new media support was literally non-existent, and only a few small improvements have been made to taht part of the platform  since 2004. But I will be very honest, without my team working hard on the PowerPress Podcast Plugin making a clean and seamless transition from MT to WP would have been nearly impossible! Let me explain that more in a few paragraphs.

Some background Geek News Central while running on MT was in fact three separate blogs made to look like one the reasons why are to complex to get into. To make the move I had to combine content from all three blogs into a single wordpress install. Then we had to map links from the old blog to the new. With over 8000 articles this was no small challenge but 99.8% of all the old links were able to be re-mapped.

A condition of the move from MT to WP required that I have static RSS feeds. This site gets way to much traffic to depend on dynamic rss feeds.  Angelo from SpaceBlue had a “Static Feed” plugin that solved this issue. End result my podcast listeners and blog subscribers see no change the feed is the same url it was on MT.

powerpress1Why no other Podcast Plugin would do and how PowerPress saved the day.  PowerPress has the capability to setup multiple RSS feeds. Being I had a Blog, Audio, Video and Special Media RSS feed each with different content I needed a Podcast Plugin that could support that many feeds. Additonally this will allow me to start creating media for other devices like mobile phones that can be subscribed via new feeds. So we have huge growth opportunity now.

The biggest challenge was one that a lot of podcaster face if they are on Blogger or on other platforms like Movable Type in that. Movable Types 3rd Party Podcast plugin was simple in that you Hyper-linked a media file in your blog post and the enclosure was detected and written in the RSS feed.

WordPress natively supports that method minus iTunes support. So my guys at Blubrry updated our PowerPress Podcast Plugin so that I could import all of my past hyperlinked podcasts into the specific Powerpress feeds I had created. The import function in PowerPress probably saved me over 100 hours of cleanup work.

So here we are all setup on WordPress, and while there are some tweaks to be done, I am very much pleased with the end result. Comments will be able to left easier now, and I have the tools I need to move forward with Geek News Central in a way that I feel very good about.

We will see how nice Google is to us in the transition I am expecting big results based on what changes have been made and what we have planned for the future.

11 Comments

  1. From Joel Haasnoot at 2:54 am on April 18, 2009

    Looks good…. I appreciate less however the 51 new posts in the RSS feed now…

  2. From Eric at 5:31 am on April 18, 2009

    I am liking the new look a lot!! Nice, clean, and original design you guys came up with.

  3. From GeekListener at 6:48 am on April 18, 2009

    Wow Todd! All I can say is WOW; I really love the new design. I have been watching this site develop while in its beta form, and just seeing how it is now is tremendous. SpceBlue did an awesome job designing.

  4. From Gabrielle at 7:47 am on April 18, 2009

    I just stopped by to download Friday’s podcast and was treated to a very cool and slick looking new WP design! I love it! I was immediately able to easily find and navigate to the areas I usually hit. For me, there is a delay (5 or 6 seconds) to the white background showing up for the left column text and main content area. It’s a little annoying, but tolerable. Not sure if that can be fixed, but no big deal. Overall, I totally love the new look!

  5. From geeknews at 9:14 am on April 18, 2009

    Whenever you switch to a new platform the rss feeds have to be regenerated so luckily it is only a one time occurence with the RSS

  6. From mark at 6:04 pm on April 18, 2009

    I like the new look. Every revision gets a little less green. Quite a change from you original green-on-green-on-green look when you used to be linked on the front page of Dailyrotation.
    I’m sorry to see the continued decline of Movable Type. I believe competition, and marketplace diversity are good for everyone. However, I understand you need to get you content out with the best framework for you.
    Congratulations to all involved on what sounds like a lot of tedious coding.

  7. From mark at 6:06 pm on April 18, 2009

    ….and apparently I am no longer capable of typing an “R” at the end of the word “your.”

  8. From Sam Garcia at 6:33 pm on April 18, 2009

    Site looks good Todd! Keep the podcasts coming!

  9. From jppayne at 7:01 pm on April 18, 2009

    Nice Look! Please tell us (me) more about the multiple feed capability of PowerPress. I always create 2 versions of my podcasts, standard & enhanced. They are published as separate WP posts and show up in the same itunes feed, but I’d love to separate them into two feeds and two itunes selections. That way folks could subscribe to the standard or enhanced, their choice.
    Cheers
    Jon
    (Atlanta)

  10. From Derek K. Miller at 9:53 pm on April 18, 2009

    Nice job, guys. It’s been a long time since I’ve used Movable Type, but it’s a shame to see another high-profile blog move to another platform. That said, it couldn’t happen to a nicer platform than WordPress. Pleasant redesign too. I like the blippy green separator bar at the top too.

  11. From Joe at 6:56 am on April 20, 2009

    LOVE the new logo!!