September 1, 2014
I’ve spent the last few days moving the backend of my website from the custom system it previously ran on to WordPress, a popular open-source content management system (CMS). The new, WordPress powered version of the site officially launched last night, bringing with it a couple of notable changes. Here’s the overview:
- The design of the site will remain pretty much the same (at least for now). I have developed a custom WordPress theme that very closely mimics the existing design of the site. A few small details may be different, but the overall design hasn’t changed much. However, as I become more familiar with WordPress, I may make some design changes that take advantage of features my custom backend didn’t have. For example, I may start tagging my blogposts and add a panel on the main page listing all the tags.
- Loading times might be slightly longer. My old custom backend didn’t do a whole lot, making it very lightweight. There wasn’t a lot of server side processing to be done, allowing pages to load faster. Because WordPress is significantly more flexible and feature rich, it takes up more system resources, slowing down load speed. I don’t expect the difference to be crippling, but it will be noticeable.
- The URL structure is different. The custom backend relied on a file called “display.php” to fetch the page content and display it. The display.php file was told what page to fetch through a URL variable called “page”. Because of this, URLs tended to look quite messy. For example, the URL for the about page was “http://spencergreen.net/display.php?page=about”. I could’ve masked these ugly URLs using the mod_rewrite module, but it was never worth the effort to me. WordPress does this automatically, so now the about page is located at the much better looking URL “http://spencergreen.net/about”. I’ve set up HTTP 301 redirects for all the old URLs, so links to them should still work.
- All pre-2014 blogposts are gone. When I first launched this website back in April, I opted to migrate over all the posts from my old blog. That blog had not been updated in over a year at the time, and contained quite bit of outdated information (for example, I was still calling myself “RandomAnimations27”) as well as many broken links. I ended up regretting my decision to puts those posts on my current site, and so have opted not to migrate them to the new WordPress installation. They will remain on my old blog where they belong.
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