Ipstenu.Org

What I Need From WordPress 3.0

Or: How I learned to Stop Worrying And Love Open Source

I actually deleted this entire post on Tuesday because I am an idiot and spent a lot of time recovering it, only to realize it needed to be totally re-done anyway. And in the end, they did what I needed!

WordPress 3.0 is the big merge with WPMU (WordPress Multi User) and regular old WordPress. What this means is that new blogs will have the chance, from day one, to make a blog with ‘sub blogs’. Kind of.

With a traditional WordPress install, you get one blog. Sure, you can customize it, but it remains one blog. WordPressMU takes that to the next level, with the idea that sometimes you want to give yourself, your spouse and your kids a blog, but not with multiple installs of WordPress. It’s actually a great idea, and I’m very happy that the codebases are being merged so you don’t have to feel like the proverbial red-headed stepchild when you need support.

But I have needs and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s worried that the merge won’t help me. See, I have a site with two blogs and, had I been thinking about it at the time, I would have started with MU. The problem was that it grew organically.

Blog #1 – The Main Blog

The main blog, as it were, is where I post news updates, discussion topics, etc. It’s the hub of the site, though not the ‘meat’. The wiki and gallery (both locked down to admin editors only) are the big parts of the site, containing 12+ years of documentation, data and images. Those aspects of the site I’m happy with as is. Oh, sure, MediaWiki is insane, and updating plugins is a crime (you have to go check manually, and by the way, not every plugin correctly lists it’s version), but it does it’s job and with over 700 pages, all cross-linked and organized, it’s something that’s just a little too big and hairy to consider moving to a WordPress run CMS. I firmly believe in using the right tool for the right job. MediaWiki is correct for an encyclopedia. Zenphoto’s right for a gallery. WordPress is right for a blog.

I did not get derailed. This is all part of the process of how I ended up with WordPress. When I started, I wanted a place where I could do the following:

  1. Post news
  2. Allow for discussion on said news

See? It’s really simple. I needed a blog! What I do with it is, most of the time, link back to the gallery (ZenPhotoPress! for easy integration) or wiki (just link like I’ve been doing to all these other sites – why reinvent the wheel?). Happy.

Then I thought ‘You know, a blog is great where I control the topics etc. But what if my visitors want to make their OWN topics?’ So I added a forum (back) on, using bbPress, because of it’s so-called easy integration with WordPress. I must admit, the integration was not easy, but once I got it working, it was simple. Currently they’re discussing making bbPress a WordPress plugin, which, seeing as a lot of the bbPress code is lifted from WordPress, I’m not opposed to. That will probably happen after WordPress makes 3.0, however.

Blog #2 – Video Blog

The short story is that I wanted to make a video site, and all the ones out there were so hard to theme, I thought ‘Damn it, people make Video Blogs all the ding dang time. Why not co-opt that?’ So I make a no-comment ‘blog’ for my videos. Done.

How I want my MU to Work

Here’s where I get hinky.

Blog #1 is the main blog. This will be the wp_1 blog site, where all new users are signed up. The users here will be ‘integrated’ with bbPress and 99.999% of them will be ‘subscribers’ who can only read and comment. The hardest part is that the user base must be ported over with their extant passwords, and bbPress integration must remain intact. Otherwise what’s the point? While WordPress has an export/import feature, I can’t use it becuase it will only bring over posts. Also, I’ve been storing my

Blog #2 remains read only, no one is a ‘user’ but me and my admin accounts, and no one can sign up for it. This one can be best done as an export/import.

The nice thing about WordPress is that they use subversion, and so do I. So my server has a nice spare folder where I have a wp 3.0 trunk build (trunk means it’s the latest and greatest version) which I update by running this command:

svn co http://core.svn.wordpress.org/trunk/ .

I run it once every few days, rough-test an import and an upgrade, and back out my changes. Over and over again. I’ll probably end up writing a how-to for myself in the end (and sharing here, of course!).

So at the end of this, where am I? A little worried. While I know I’m capable of sorting out the move from Regular WordPress to the MultiSite, I think that it’s important that WordPress build in a conversion tool. I’m not the only person who’s going to look at this and want a one-click solution to turn a WP one-blog-site into a multi-blog-site. I waffle back and forth about being nervous and confident about it. As of today, they claim it’s ‘easy’ to switch from solo to multi. There’s a Mormon joke in there somewhere.

From the last Developer Chat:

Ryan updated on the status of the merge which is now complete in its first form. The upgrade from single to multi works well switching back and forth is easily done by copying wp-config files. A large amount of the code cleanup is but there are still outstanding areas. It will be ready for people to start testing an early preview release in a week or two.

Now the only thing I have left to worry about is my custom locations for uploaded files! Instead of storing my uploads in the ‘normal’ place (~/blog/wp-content/uploads/YYYY/MM/DD/file.foo) I have them ‘offloaded’ to another server. Kind of. They’re on ~/content/blog and ~/content/video/wp-uploads (long story, I may re-do that later). But I can work around that I’m sure.