blogging Geekery

Blog and Re-education

So I still haven’t finalized the blog migration, though mostly you wouldn’t notice. Not just the little details to fix up, and things like the blogroll.

Going from Expression Engine to WordPress, as a full migration, was tough but not impossible. Mainly a brute force act of tedium. However, the permalink structure would be changed, so links to old posts, be they linked by other blogs or search engines, would be broken, unless they could be redirected.

Yada yada and so I decided to archive the old Expression Engine blog, quite easy to relocate and keep functional in a new folder. Again, though, that changes the links to posts. It just saves the import work. After all, how hard could it be to use .htaccess to tell Apache to issue a 301 redirect to the new structure, exactly the same as the old but for the insertion of /eeblog after and before /index.php/site and so forth?

Hard, apparently, and not something I found an exacting example of I could crib from, nor something anyone in my circle of contacts had expertise in enough for an assist. I needed to study intensively and become expert in the available commands and how to structure them, testing and redoing and testing and so forth as needed. I have kids.

I could see that a misplaced permalink would bring up a failure page generated by WordPress, which made me think perhaps that could be used, with PHP code, to parse the requested URL and redirect, or at least tell the person arriving there the correct destination.

While that still is the same I have kids problem, for some reason I seem to be able to focus with them swirling around me on that particular thing – coding or studying code – better than I can with writing or with something I find more obscure and esoteric.

Ultimately the whole thing has led me to start trying to learn PHP, beyond the slight poking at it I’d done in the past, or the passing familiarity I’d gained from its presence in blogging tools and presumably necessary similarities to other languages. This is the kind of thing I should have done years ago, of course, or at least a year ago. It’s a case of not doing the thing without a clear and prompt payoff because, hello, I would be needing to find work and make money.

In retrospect, even if the work I’d gotten weren’t programming PHP, the enthusiasm of trying to learn it would have helped. It’s in demand enough that it might not take that much for me to get work, given my background with VB and tech generally.

The challenge is to plug away hard enough to be meaningful, and get more than minutes a day at it. It’s so well documented that it’s as much a matter of saying “I want to do X” and looking up/puzzling out how than it is of reading and reading in theory what the language elements are. An overview is a good start. And based on my poll of the virtual room, among my main contacts, it’s not a skill others have. To my surprise, though I stepped back from that surprise a bit to remind myself that they’re naturally Microsoft-centric, where PHP is other.

We’ll see how that goes, and then perhaps other languages along similar lines. If I can beg, borrow and earn a bit of money to help keep us muddling along as I become more marketable – not that I shouldn’t be already, but it seems to be a focus/goal problem – then the “earn” part of that has a chance to become meaningful. If we can keep life and electicity as we know it intact.

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