0005 Yortera 08: Migration

First off, a happy belated Thilafa to everyone! Sadly, I didn’t get the cleaning I wanted to get done, but I’ve at least started the process. I need a proper broom, though, at least for display.

That covered, on to the meat of this. Some of you have noticed that I’m no longer posting natively to LJ these days. Others of you have noticed that a lot of people have said that they’d like to leave LiveJournal, and that many have headed to Dreamwidth. I understand the appeal of Dreamwidth being a good interim solution, but it’s really just going to fracture things further as some people move and some don’t, and people start losing track of each other because we all went to other places, and suddenly what used to be a community is a bunch of random people shouting into the void in each others’ vague directions.

Recognizing that, I may be adding to the chaos a bit, but it’s my hope that this will help in the long run. I present below the best guide I can at present to migrating off of LiveJournal and onto your own blogging platform, wherever you feel like putting it.

WordPress
For this, you’ll need to find a hosting provider, obviously. I’ll be migrating mine to Prismatic in the near-future, but you could theoretically run this anywhere you like. You’ve got a customizable interface, you can make it as pretty as you’d like, and you’re not tied to LiveJournal’s look and feel. Once you’ve found a hosting provider, you’ll need and likely want a few plugins to help set things up the way you had them before. There’s a little bit of backend hackery you ought to do to make this more secure by changing the name of the admin account from “admin” to something else, but that’s an advanced topic and one I’ll cover with/for folks who want to deal with it.
XRDS-Simple plugin for WordPress
You aren’t going to need this, specifically, but it provides necessary functionality for the next thing on the list, which you will want.
OpenID plugin for WordPress
Step one in really cutting links. OpenID is a one-piece login system for managing identity across multiple platforms. LiveJournal issues you one, if you’d like to use that one. Being the blogadmin of a WordPress install does, as well. With this, your users don’t have to create specific accounts on your blog to get access to things; they can just use their LiveJournal account (<username>.livejournal.com) to log into your site.
Role Scoper plugin for WordPress
This is the magic baby that gives you your “friends-locked” functionality. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best thing out there that I’ve found so far to do this, and it’s less-than-perfection is mostly because it’s a little like a chainsaw for your butter dish. However, it’s pretty easy to make this work:

  1. Install the plugin.
  2. Under “Restrictions -> Categories” on the admin column on the left, set everything to “Restricted by default”.
  3. Under “Roles” -> “Options”, make sure that User Roles is enabled, and that HTTP Authentication in Feeds is set to “Always”
  4. Under “Users” -> “Role Groups”, create a user group for each friends-group that you want.
  5. Under “Posts” -> “Categories”, create a category for each user group.
  6. Under “Roles” -> “Categories”, assign each user group to its associated category as “Post Reader” and yourself as “Category Manager” and “Post Editor”.

At this point, any post you make to a category will be locked to the users in the associated group. UPDATE: There’s a new dev-version that fixes a few of the minor problems; the dev version is the new link above.

Live+Press plugin for WordPress
This will make sure that every time you make a post in your new blag, it will crosspost to LJ. This one’s pretty straightforward to figure out.
Comment Notifier for WordPress
This will let you configure your blag to send email to people when other people reply to their comments, just like LJ.
NetVibes
This is a web-based RSS reader that accepts LJ digest (and, for that matter, WP digest) feeds. Subscribing to your friends’ LJ feeds is a bit time-consuming, but it means not having to log into two different sites to catch up on LJ and non-LJ posters.
Opera Mini 5 beta for Android
I’m including this one mostly for my own personal benefit and that of any other Android smartphoners out there. The NetVibes mobile site is too slow for the built-in browser, and the site detects the native Android browser as not supported, but Opera Mini 5 beta gets picked up as Opera, so just set it to Mobile Listing to get rid of the iframes and then browse your RSS feeds from your phone!

This is Version One of this post, and as I flesh it out further, I’ll be putting a permanent copy somewhere for people to read, but it really is this easy to get off of LJ without losing anything important.

18 thoughts on “0005 Yortera 08: Migration

  1. This is stuff that I definitely need, both as a future LJ expat and as a WordPress-site-runner. Thanks, buni!

    1. As a note, the boilerplate email might want a little changing, since I’ve been getting a bunch of emails that characterize everyone commenting after me as “replying” to me.

  2. I’ll be so blunt as to be rude, I don’t mean it to be, but I’m simply telling the truth.

    Unless it gets cross posted to LJ, I ain’t reading it.

    That’s a fact. I have too much on my plate to do, besides starting to sort through dozens of individual blogs.

    1. In my experience, the RSS feeds these things provide contain the whole post rather than some choppy little summary, so using LJ’s RSS feed creation feature should work just fine.

      I haven’t actually tried it myself, though, mostly because I’m very new to this RSS thing – I only started using it at all because I was having trouble keeping up with haqi news otherwise. :)

      1. Yes, but that’s up to you guys. I have no intention of doing any of that. I’m not reading unless it’s pushed to LJ.

        I have a client, I type in it, I hit ‘send’. It’s simple, fast, it goes to 500+ people instantly, even from my phone. Exactly why should I do a s-ton of work, for something else?

        1. Okay, I’m confused. There’s nothing saying that you *have* to leave LJ for any of this to work. The guide presented above is more for folks who want to leave LJ without leaving behind friends there.

          If you’re objecting to swapping out “add LJ friend to LJ friends page” with “add RSS feed to LJ friends page” (given that they’re almost identical, and get near-identical results), then… um, I don’t get it.

          1. I’ve been pressured, scolded, berated and patronized repeatedly for not jumping ship.

            As for RSS, too much setup for me to care, everything breaks repeatedly, especially considering I cycle my passwords every 30days ever since I had identity theft.

    2. So do I, which is why I moved LJ out in favor of NetVibes. I can subscribe to my friends-list LJ RSS feeds, Buzz, Twitter, Dreamwidth, and my other RSS feeds in a single site.

  3. Is there a particular reason why you’re suggesting NetVibes as opposed to, say, Google Reader, or some other online RSS reader? (The vast majority of Clan VC has declared allegiance to the search empire, and so I’m kind of dragged in that way – on the other hand, they’re also obsessed with Facebook and I’ve so far managed to avoid that. Barely.)

    1. NetVibes is the only reader which I’ve seen which has all of the following features:
      1) Accepts auth=digest RSS feeds, vital for parsing private LJ entries, which Google Reader doesn’t do.
      2) Is entirely web-based, ensuring session-preservation between my home and work machines, which Thunderbird doesn’t do.
      3) Has a mobile site which is in some way mobile-friendly, which is important for reading from my phone. This one is In Progress, but it’s clearly worked before and the availability of the first two in the same site well-override the one niggling detail of “doesn’t work well from the Android native browser.”

      1. These are all priorities of mine as well, although I had yet to try anything relating to #1. I may have to take a closer look, then.

      2. Just gave it a quick try and OPML-import, and Oh Dear Holy G-d This Is Insane. The desktop version is fine (although it seems to break on one feed I have that has some issues with timestamps, which Google Reader does OK with), but the mobile sites Don’t Work. When I tried selecting a tab with the iPhone site, it took four minutes. No, really. When I tried that same tab with the normal mobile site, it took five minutes… and then came back with a 504 error.

        Either I’m just plain unlucky, or you’re several orders of magnitude more tolerant than I am of this stuff. ;)

        1. I’ll fully accept that their mobile site is… not working as intended. However, their main site works fine with Opera Mini. Be happy; it’s the one and only time you’ll ever hear me endorse an Opera product. =n.n=

  4. Today, I discovered freemyfeed.com.

    I wonder if folks consider this to be a worthwhile solution to the LiveJournal problem.

    1. It’s a possible solution, certainly. I considered it myself. My big reason for not doing it that way is that I couldn’t get any third-party information about their reliability. Netvibes, on the other paw, has five or so years of reputation behind them.

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