Well, I have finally made it. After a great deal of hassle I have managed to move the 1831 posts from my previous blogging platform, Blogger, onto a new platform, Postach.io. The beauty of this arrangement is that each and every one of those previous weblog postings now sits in my Evernote account where they are fully indexed and searchable so that I can actually easily access and make use of all the information that I have collected over the years.
I do not know, nobody can know, whether this new platform will stand the test of time but I found the idea of having everything under the one roof very attractive and it is for that reason that I have expended the time and energy to get to this point, I hope it will prove to be a wise decision.
If nothing else this move does at least mean that all this material is now under my own control and if changes are made to the blogging platform or if one day it is no more then I still have all the information safe and sound and easily accessed. If need be any or all of my notes can be used elsewhere and I am no longer subject to future decisions that the folks at Google might make about their blogging platform.
It has been difficult and tedious to move all the material from one platform to another. However, now being able to easily embed video, slideshows, still photos, downloadable PDFs, sound files etc. etc. using Evernote and to publish this material simply by applying the tag “published" to the Evernote note will be a huge benefit and the work and frustration that has been involved will soon be forgotten.
In terms of the process I started with a Blogger weblog which I had to export as a single file and then import that into a temporary Wordpress blog. A Python script I got hold of would accept a Wordpress export file as an input. The script would not accept a Blogger export which was why this intermediate step was necessary. Having generated a Wordpress export file this was processed by the Python script and a number of .enex (Evernote Export) files were generated by the script. These files could then be imported into Evernote generating individual notes, each one representing an individual post on the previous weblog.
The story did not end there, many of my original posts had embedded images, videos etc. and all these had to be regenerated. This doesn’t sound too bad but I was dealing with over 1800 individual posts so it has been quite a task.
From there it has been a matter of checking things and tidying them up, this whole process has thrown up a number of deficiencies with the Postach.io service which I am hoping over time will be addressed. Bear in mind that I have no knowledge or skill in writing HTML and I cannot therefore make changes to a style sheet to change my Postach.io template without running the risk of wrecking it, there will be many many people in the same position. Here is a checklist of just a few of the issues that I hope will be resolved quickly, as these issues are remedied I will tick them off and this post will be updated, as if by magic :-)
- A serious problem I encountered was that the “force sync" button on the Postach.io website was resulting in ALL my weblog postings being deleted which was a disaster for me. I would urge great caution in using this button and I in fact am now terrified to go near it. I understand that this is going to be looked at.
- There are regular very significant delays in between publishing a note and it actually appearing on the weblog. Sometimes this can be many hours and this is the result of “queue problems" at the Postach.io server end of things. Sometimes the queue is “flushed" and posts then have to be re-edited and the sync process run again. This needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency.
- Currently it is not possible to search a Postach.io weblog. This is a huge deficiency as it is impossible for a weblog visitor to search for information. It used to be possible to add a Custom Google Search to the weblog but at the time of writing this is not possible, the facility to add a custom search is no longer available.
- Checklists generated in an Evernote note do not currently appear as such on the connected Postach.io weblog which would potentially be very useful, as things stand a checklist is simply converted to individual paragraphs.
- The available navigation is very basic and some sort of calendar or “blog archive" option is badly needed. As things stand, certainly on the template I am using, the only available navigation option is “older posts" or “newer posts" and with almost 2000 posts that is not adequate. My postings go back to at least 2008 and scrolling back page by page is just a non-starter.
- When posts are tagged selecting an item from the tag cloud does not bring up all the posts. If for example you have 25 posts tagged “Vacation" and you have the website set to display 10 posts per page when you select the tag “Vacation" ten posts will be listed. That sounds fine but the option to view the remaining unlisted 15 tagged posts is not available, there is no “previous posts" or “more posts" option. This makes tagging posts largely pointless because you can only pull up and display a limited number of them.
- There is an issue with deleting posts. Sometimes if you delete a post from your Evernote notebook with the intention of the corresponding post being deleted from your weblog what you expect to happen will not always happen. I have had a situation whereby a deleted note does NOT result in the posting being deleted which can be very annoying. Bear in mind if you post something, you *may* not be certain of being able to subsequently remove it! This has been identified as an issue according to the Postach.io weblog and apparently the problem has been fixed but I have experienced this problem since the apparent fix. One option might be the “force sync" button but beware, see (1) above.
- RSS feed issue. Clicking on the RSS feed button, at least on the template I am using, does not deliver a working RSS feed but simply opens the URL of the weblog itself. I believe from a little research that what is required is to add “/feed.xml" (minus the quotes) to the end of the link provided by the RSS button.
This system has great promise, which is why I have chosen to move over to it but as it stands I think it runs the risk of being looked at by people and it being rejected because of the fact that some basic tools are missing. ANY weblog must be capable of being searched and navigated easily “out of the box" without specialist knowledge of how to hack a page of HTML, that’s my view at any rate.