Announcing the Great and Fantastical Exportificator!

For some time Them behind the scenes have been working on an all-new blogging system, powered by WordPress which as some of you know is one of the most popular blogging systems on the Interweb. It promises to sort out a lot of problems, although we can’t make any promises about solving world hunger, bringing about global peace or finding that glove you lost last Christmas.

As part of the move to this all-singing, all-dancing-in-an-evangelical-style, mostly-clapping Solution we need to export your blog entries and comments from this Wiblog system in a special format ready to import into the new system. Does that make sense? I hope so.

So to do that we’ve created a little tool, and we’d like you all to try it. The great thing about this tool is it provides you with a backup of your entire blog in case Untoward Things should happen. Which they haven’t, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

OK, to the Instructions:

1) Visit your blog, yes, yours. Take a look at the URL in the address bar of your browser, it will say something like “http://www.wibsite.com/wiblog/newsroom/”.

2) Remember (or copy) the name of your blog, in this example it is “newsroom”. Some of you may know what your blog name is already.

3) Visit this page: http://www.wibsite.com/wiblog/backup/?newsroom, replacing the “newsroom” bit at the end with the name of your blog. So Rhys’ Backburner blog would use: http://www.wibsite.com/wiblog/backup/?backburner

4) You’ll get, depending on your browser, either a load of gibberish or a big list of all your blog entries. If you get gibberish skip the next part.

5) If you see your blog entries, with their titles and text, then cast your eye down the list to check everything is there that should be. Yes, we realise that for those of you with very active fingers this could be a very long job, so to save you time you can just check the entry at the top of the page is your latest entry, and the one at the very bottom (scroll all the way down, ducky) is the very first entry you made. Hopefully all is well. If not, let us know in the comments here.

6) Now just save the entire page to somewhere on your computer (using a sensible name for the file like “wiblog-backup-17-11-2007” would be very clever). That’s a snapshot of your entire Wiblog, and is exactly what we’ll use to create your new spangly Wiblog when we’ve finished doing the jiggery-pokery.

7) There is no 7, as we haven’t done it yet.

8) Ditto for number 8.

OK, hopefully that will make sense. If not just say something in the comments here and we’ll do our best to help.

** Additional information for Technical Wizards and Geeks:
The format file we produce is a WXR, or a WordPress Extended RSS. That means it has all the normal stuff of RSS plus a load of WordPress-specific elements holding information about comments. This file can be imported into any reasonably modern WordPress installation to create an exact clone of your Wiblog (well, the entries and comments at least).

Changing your preferences

Hello wibloggers,

We’re aware that you may run across a problem right now if you need to change your wiblog preferences (for instance, turning autolinks on and off, changing your wiblog’s name, background, the way dates are shown, that sort of thing). We can fix these problems for you quite easily – just contact us if you get any strange error messages after making any changes.

Wibsite news

Hello.

This is the important news that Chris and I told the people who were at the Greenbelt Wibsite gathering. Apologies for not writing anything on the site until now – I have been busy being rubbish and suchlike.

In a nutshell:

There is to be a new Wibsite and a new Wiblogging system. This is because the old one is worn out through the pounding of many feet upon it. The Wiblog system that Chris built is now five years old – would you believe it. It has served us well, but the time for change has come.

The new Wiblogs will be powered by WordPress, which will mean more features and less chance of things going wrong. You will be able to do things like edit and delete old archives, manage links more easily, have more choice of Wiblog designs and all sorts of other things.

The new Wibsite will be focussed much more upon the Wiblogs than the other bits and bobs that make up the Wibsite. This is because the Wiblog community is now by far the most important bit, so the site needs to change to reflect this.

We plan to make the change to the new site and wiblogging system this autumn. We’re not sure exactly when yet.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask them here.

Security alert

There have been some security problems with the Wiblogs today, so if you notice any strange things happening please bear with us as we tweak this and fiddle with that. Some things may not work as they should for a little while, that’s to be expected.

Thanks for your patience.

An important announcement

As I’ve just said over on my blog, I will be starting a new job in a few weeks. Because of my lack of time I’ve had to make a really tough decision regarding the new Wiblog system, which as you know I’ve been working on for well over 18 months. They say it takes a real man to admit his failures, so I must be Rambo.

The fact is I still had quite a lot of work to to on the new system, and I just don’t have the time to put into it. I have a rapidly growing family, and a lot of other commitments, and what with the new job something had to give. That thing is the new Wiblog system: development has ceased and won’t be continued.

But that doesn’t mean that the Wiblogs wll stay as they are, we have loads of ideas of ways to make it better and want to continue to develop the site – and especially the Wibsite community – through an improved Wiblog system. So because of that we’re looking into some options of other software we could use to provide all the features you ever dreamed of (blogging by email, easy adding of images to your posts, categories, many more templates and lots more) on Wiblog.com. For the geeky amongst you, yes, we’re looking very seriously at WordPress.

So, I have to apologise to you all for taking so long to produce nothing. While a lot of the code in the Wiblog system (well over 4000 lines, I got bored counting) will be used in other systems – bulletin board software, project management software, even the Wibsite itself – the actual Wiblog system in the future won’t be written entirely by me. The Era of Chris is over :0)

While it’s a hard decision to make, after all I’ve been deeply involved in the Wiblog.com site from a technical perspective since the very beginning, it’s the right thing for the future of the community. I’ll still be involved, and to be honest I can’t wait to get hold of some of the geekier aspects of the new system :0), and I’ll still maintain both my blog and this very Newsroom.

Finally I’d like to extend my very greatest thanks to Dave and the other WibLords who have allowed me such a huge amount of rope with which to tie myelf in nerdy knots. Long may the Wiblogs reign!

More on keeping those rogue commenters at bay

Further to my comment about the new system for protecting your blogs from comment spam (that was in September! It’s now nearly November! Where’s the time gone!?) I’ve had to implement a system on the current blogs as we were getting overwhelmed with spam. I’m sure you’ve noticed it, despite the valiant efforts of our Spam-busters.

So you’ll see something new on the comments pages from now on. When you add a comment there’s a new piece of text that says:

To protect ourselves against the rogues and villians that peddle their spamulatory wares around the internet we would be very grateful if you would type the answer to the simple question you see below into the wee little box. No typy, no commenty. Also, no links are allowed in your comment. If you try to put a link in, your comment will not be made.

It does just what it says on the tin. You’re asked a simple question, given some prompts as to what the answer might be, and you just have to type the right one into the box. If you get the answer wrong, your comment isn’t saved.

It’s just like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire but without the money. Or Chris Tarrant.

I expect there will be problems for some people, but it unfortunately is a necessary step to ensure that we keep as spam-free as possible. If you have any difficulties, or you want to make suggestions, please add them here in the comments*.

* Yes, I see the irony.

Keeping the rogue commenters at bay

I’ve added the functionality to make comments on new Wiblog system. It might not sound very much, but I’ve worked hard to make sure only valid comments are saved. And I do it like this (here’s one I prepared earlier):

1) Check the commenter has entered a name, email address and comment. If not, tell them!
2) Check the commenter has specified they are human. If not, tell them!
3) Check if the commenters email address or IP address are in the banned list. If so, silently send them back to the page for that entry.
4) Check if the commenter has entered an email address which is registered to one of the Wiblog bloggers – that means you lot! If so ask them to confirm they are who they say they are by entering the password.
5) Finally, save the comment.

I have a couple more things I want to do with this, but I’m happy with it so far.

One thing to note – any comments you mae on the new Wiblog system will NOT be saved. The system is there for testing and demonstration only, so when we switch to it all your test comments will be lost.

Another bit of news

OK, it’s not much, but I’ve done another update of the entries and comments in the new Wiblog system. You’ll have to add your username to the end of that link to see anything sensible.

I wouldn’t normally announce something like this, but this time it’s slightly different. Because, for the first time, your blogs now include all your really old (pre-2003) entries. There they are, in all their glory. It might seem like a very small thing, but those of you with any data migration experience will know how good it feels to see a database behaving itself :0)

For the very old among you…

Those Wibloggers who have been with us since the Dawn of Wibtime (i.e. pre 2003) will know that there have been lots of major updates to the system since then. Some of the more technically-aware of you may know that the pre-2003 entries were stored using a much more primitive method than the newer entries, and that it was a pain to mess about with them. Well, I’ve sorted it.

So don’t worry about losing your jottings from the very beginnings of your Wiblogs, as I’ve just completed a method to import all the pre-2003 entries into the new system. In fact I’ve just done it, and very tasty they look.

So, I can now tell you that (according to my statistics at least) since Wiblog.com was launched we’ve contributed a massive 19,826 entries between us. And there have been over 45,000 comments!

Well done everyone! Big numbers like this always look impressive!

Stop press: Wiblog newsroom now open for business

Hallo everyone. Welcome to the new Wiblog newsroom where the latest news, gossip and tasty nodules of information about the Wiblog community will be placed for your delictation and delight.

You may notice that there are already a load of entries already in this newroom blog; don’t worry about that, I found them lying around my blog and though they would look tidier here.

So, there you have it. Comments are on, our intrepid reporters are raring to go, and we have news to gather!