Mihai Todor

Hi, dear guest,

Welcome to my humble (in a fancy way, of course) web site. My name is Robin and I am your host. Most likely, you are reading this because you’re either interested in migrating from Joomla! 1.5.X to WordPress 3.0.X or you just want to know more about such migration. Anyway, there are two versions of the story, so please select the one that best fits your needs:

1. Reader-friendly, detail-spiced, friendship-related version

In order for me to start talking about my friend Mihai Todor, I must say a few words about myself. So, I started using computers on June 1st, 1990, when my bigger brother Rolly took me to a newly started computer club. There I used a Romanian make Z80-based computer called HC90 (Home Computer, 1990 version, 64 KB RAM of which 8KB were used by video memory and another 16KB by the BASIC interpreter, no Operating System). My first computer game ever was Harrier Attack, with a plane sinking battleships on an endless ocean.

This new experience had an impact on me, as I was already playing with a colleague on the backs of our special first grader notebooks that fancied shapes of various sizes and colors, much like the controls of modern jet fighters.

I started using PCs back in 1992, when a friend of mine had access to his parents’ 206 (Intel 80286-based PC, 640 KB of RAM, MS-DOS 6.X, CGA display) where I first learned about the new stuff (Operating Systems, console). The first games I remember playing were LHX (3D-wannabe helicopter simulator – but not like modern 3D, LHX was merely lines and colors, no effects whatsoever) and Test Drive (although not Unlimited, a sort-of 3D driving simulator).

You see, I had some experience with PCs when, in the late 1990s, I met and befriended Mihai Todor, a computer-expert wannabe, currently the Programmer-In-Chief of my little website. It’s nice, in every possible way, to see the outcome of friendship and dedication grow so beautiful into what it is today: I guided his first steps towards IT and now he is a fully-fledged, results-oriented, highly-valuable IT specialist. So, enough about me and more about him.

We grew up in the same poor mining town high into the Carpathian Mountains, we attended the same school and high school, we had about the same specialty in high school (mathematics-physics), we even attended the same bar for the same beer, if you can imagine, we both enjoy rock music (in the mentioned bar), we both had about the same luck with women, and we both have the same profession: automation engineers of the same level (Master’s Degree), although on different Master’s Degree topics. Well, there is another difference here, to be as precise as an automation engineer should be: he likes programming, which is absolutely great. Now, while programming is not exactly my cup of tea – I enjoy controlling a process, not writing PHP / C# code – but Mihai likes it and he is really good at it.

2. Technical version

This is where the migration from Joomla 1.5.x to WordPress 3.X kicks in. Mihai already was the main contributor to my website, with close to 2000 comments and sources for about 200 articles, more or less, enjoying this website and gaining administrative privileges (moderator, at first) when we decided it’s time to move on from Joomla! (which I loved) to WordPress (which I enjoy, should you care to tell the difference).

This was in spring, 2010 and the reasons were mainly the severe lack of performance offered by Joomla!, literally killing my VPS (512MB of RAM, Intel Xeon 2.5 GHz), as well as the fact that Joomla! is not really SEO and user-friendly.

Obviously, work was keeping us away from this endeavor, but in December 2010 Mihai and I decided that it was the best time to perform the migration (and the entire winter holiday was dedicated to this migration – one of the most beautiful signs of friendship, ever), which consisted of the following steps.

  1. Export the Joomla! Database.
  2. Import it to a MySQL server.
  3. Process it with a PHP script.
  4. Publish the new website.
  5. Add plugins and whatnot to make WP work as required.

My friend Mihai wrote the script in a way that ensured maximum compatibility between Joomla! and WordPress. And the script, which he may or may not make publicly available (I will provide the infrastructure necessary if he wishes to do so – later, he will publish the details on this website, stay tuned), worked just fine. It managed to import more than 5000+ articles, convert the Section/Category structure of Joomla! into the Category-only structure of WordPress, while keeping the articles aligned, in place, so that we didn’t lose the URL structure.

You see, what Mihai did was not just the regular conversion, pretty much readily available everywhere, but a SEO-oriented “keep the kingdom intact” and “know-where-it-is” script.

After the script execution, and after everything was done, Mihai got me, got us:

  • All categories working correctly and all the articles belonging to the correct category;
  • 5000 articles with their URLs intact;
  • 2000, or so, images in about that many articles were converted from the special Highslide plugin syntax in Joomla, to WordPress Lightbox;
  • Thousands of modified paths to various files, especially images, in many of the articles;
  • Around 150 automated YouTube video insertions from the video code (v=XXXXXXXXXX) in the URL to fully-functional embed code;
  • 22,000 comments belonging to the correct articles in the correct categories, with the correct images, and all replies linked to the correct comments;
  • All in under one minute of script execution under a local WAMP instance on a single-core Intel Celeron processor at 1.8 GHz with 1 GB of DDR2 RAM (you see, the code was optimized and it consumed around 150MB of memory during execution).

Oh, but it was not just the script, it was also his know-how on WordPress that got us a really long way, what plugins we needed to install, what to write in .htaccess, how to set the “paranoia-is-good” permissions to files in SSH for a complex environment, how to work with the WordPress templates and use functions.php to add value to the template, including CSS, something I never really fully liked, although I do like HTML.

So, I am really, really thankful to my friend Mihai for helping me out with this tremendously large task, as migrating a large Joomla! blog to WordPress takes a lot of precision, knowledge and nerves.

Thank you Mihai!


2 Comentarii

  1. Mihai Todor 08 ianuarie 2011 la 00:46 - Raspunde

    Thank you for this nice presentation, Robin. Consider my work a reward for the time you spend writing good articles 🙂

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