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Site Evolution

This web site has gone through several metamorphoses. It began quite simply with just a static page but soon additional pages and content were added turning it into a web site rather than a web page. As the number of pages increased so did the time it took to maintain this site. When I first created this I intended it to be just an electronic business card providing information of how people could contact me. Now it was turning into more of a life history; that was something I had not expected nor planned. It became very clear that I needed to find an easier way to maintain this site if it were to survive. A few years passed and I happened to stumble across a content management system that touted its ease of use. I have been in the software business long enough to take these claims with a large grain of salt. Given the situation I found myself in I decided to take a chance and install this software.

img_5606My expectations were set relatively low when I started. I was looking for anything that could cut down my time in managing and maintaining this web site while at the same time providing me with enough flexibility that it could grow as my vision evolved of what I wanted the site to become. At the time the software was known as Mambo and the development community was involved in some sort of power struggle over the direction the application would take. I waded in with some degree of nervousness wondering if I was making the right decision of picking the OpenSource Matters side. It was difficult as I tried not only to learn this new piece of software but also to try to piece together a framework that would work in months and years to come.

When the first version of Joomla was released I eagerly downloaded the software and began developing my site. It was yet another learning curve but based on my previous experience it was not as difficult as I had anticipated. Before long I had the skeleton of a new site up and I slowly began migrating information from the static page site into this new dynamically driven web structure. In the early months of Joomla I was heavily involved in the community testing and coding extending the software to fit my needs. Things were looking very good and the time it was taking to maintain the site had been dramatically reduced. Just when I started to get comfortable and complacent something happened. The Joomla developers introduced version 1.5 which was substantially different than the previous software.

I felt as though I was starting all over. Many of the extensions and plug-ins I had been using were now broken and needed upgrading. Some others worked but in legacy mode which took a significant amount of server resources to maintain and serve. Rather than jumping in like I did during the Joomla 1.0x days I took a more cautious path and continued using 1.0x. As version 1.5x began to mature most of the mainstream extensions were rewritten for the newer framework. I still did not feel the need to migrate being perfectly happy where I was at.

Last year the inevitable occurred. The Joomla developers announced that version 1.0x would begin to be end-of-lifed at which point I would be forced to either abandon Joomla or upgrade. I chose the latter and began the plans for migrating my sites. You'll notice that I used the plural "sites". Joomla 1.0x had proven so useful that I had built several sites with this software and now they too would need to be migrated.

The migration could in no way be categorized as easy. It is not like upgrading from one version to the next in the Joomla 1.0x world. There you simply copied files replacing old with new and the software was "magically" upgraded. Going from Joomla 1.0x to Joomla 1.5x requires migration scripts, basically tearing the software out and replacing it with new and then importing old data all the while praying that everything would work.

With baseball season over I have spent the greater portion of the off-season working on Joomla trying to get things ready for migration. My personal web site is the first one to be migrated and what you see here is the end result. Overall it went smoother than I had originally anticipated. Much of that could be attributed to the fact that I followed the instructions to the letter and tested and retested the procedure locally before subjecting my live site to the changes. There are times that paranoia pays off.

So after several days of migrating and testing I am happy to report that everything seems to be working. I'm of course knocking on wood, crossing my fingers, and saying a prayer to the computer Gods hoping that I didn't just jinx it. Please look around and feel free to contact me if you find anything not working correctly. Now I have just a few more sites to migrate and time is running short as baseball season will soon be just around the corner.