5 tips on future proofing your Medium posts

So, you’ve decided you want to blog or write on Medium – where all the cool kids hang out. Great. Remember there are other similar platforms to write and blog and at some point Medium (like everything else on the Internet) might lose its appeal or even, god forbid, shutdown.Dont break da internetz

When that happens, what will happen to your posts? How can you and the rest of the internet reach it?

There were numerous occasions in the past (the most recent one was Posterous) where the platform simply died and all the links pointing to it and all of their SEO goodness went to shaite.

You can always run your own server, but not everyone has the time, power or know-how to do so.

Here are few tips to help you be forward compatible with most platforms in the future:

  1. Choose a platform that supports a custom domain. If you can’t blog under your own domain you will never truly own your content.
  2. Make sure to blog under your own domain (or subdomain such as blog.mycooldomain.com). If you don’t own a domain – get one. It’s very cheap as it costs anywhere between ~$3-$10/year depending on the type .com, .net, .co and domain registrar (I like namecheap.com). Medium added support for that on March 2015 so you have no excuse.
  3. Make sure you have some sort of backup for your posts. I usually like to write my posts without formatting on Google Docs or Simplenote so I get an immediate backup. Before publishing I copy the content to the publishing platform I use. Doing so will make sure that even if your platform goes down you can always restore your posts using your domain and back up of the posts. Another benefit is that you don’t need to rely on an export feature that your dying platform may or may not provide.If you are slightly more technically advanced I suggest writing the posts in Markdown. There are various tools to generate better looking HTML that you can later paste into your current cool blogging site.
  4. Make backups of attached/uploaded resources. If your posts contain images or other resources that you have uploaded to your chosen platform, make sure to have copies of these files so that you can always restore it with the post text in other platforms if needed.
  5. Save all of your posts’ URLs. Make a document or spreadsheet of all your posts’ URLs. For example, if a blog post URL is http://mycooldomain.com/2015/12/31/something-cool make sure to copy and save it. If your chosen blogging platform goes down you can always add a redirect rule from the old URL (as it appeared in the old platform) to how it will appear in the new one, thus not breaking da internetz!

These rule don’t apply just to Medium, they apply to most platforms such as WordPress (wordpress.com or self hosted one), any static site generator, Ghost, Svbtle, Squarespace, Weebly, etc.

In my opinion, the best choice nowadays for people who don’t want to mess around with server is to use a static site generator such as Jekyll. While it involves running a few commands in your shell (that black screen with running white text) you can easily build a site, generate it and host it on platforms such as Surge or Netlify.

WordPress Full Text Feed

I, as many other WordPress users, have encountered a problem with Full Text Feeds not actually showing on FireFox Live Bookmarks (the thingy that shows you the feed in a nice way) as full text, but are rather cut.

It seems this is not a problem at all. This is a feature in FireFox’s Live Bookmarks which simply shortens the text only on display. If you’ll look at the page source (View -> Page Source) you’ll the see the XML file of the feed and that the <description> tag contains the full text.

It seems IE7 doesn’t do that and shows whatever it is it needs to show.

Don’t be alarmed by this, your WordPress blog DOES show full text feeds.

If you really want to test this, go to a full blown RSS reader and put your feed’s URL and see that it does contain the full text.

MicroID Plugin for WordPress

MicroID as the web site says is:

MicroID is a lightweight identity layer for the web, invented by Jeremie Miller (creator of Jabber). MicroID enables anyone to claim verifiable ownership over content hosted anywhere on the web (social networking sites, discussion forums, blogs, etc.). MicroID is not an authentication or single-sign-on service, just a straightforward method for identifying content ownership that complements existing technologies such as OpenID and microformats. The technology is radically simple and enables developers to build new and unique meta services with minimal effort.

So after all of this technical mambo-jambo, what can MicroID do for you?

MicroID for you, minus techno mambo-jamo
MicroID enables you to claim content that you have produced. In most new web sites of the “current” age of the Internet YOU, the user, creates the content. Since we all have multiple identities and multiple user names in different web sites, would it be great to have one trusted and verifiable way of saying that this and that content from this and that site is really something we have created?

There are services such as claimID which provides you with a way of claiming what’s yours.

The perks
So, where does this plugin comes in?

  • If you have your own WordPress blog and you want to add MicroID to it without the hassle of editing PHP files and dealing with HTML – this plugin is for you.
  • If you like to switch your themes oh so often – this plugin is for you.
  • If you would like to claim your content and show everyone the stuff you really want to show them and be proud of creating – this plugin is for you.

So, how do I get it?
You can get the plugin and instructions on how to install it and configure it (which is dead simple) by clicking here!

If you have have comments, ideas, thoughts or anything else, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this post.

Migrating from Blogger Beta (or the new version of Blogger) to WordPress

When I started to think about migrating from Blogger to my own WordPress blog running on my own server I started to look at migration options.

It seems that since I already migrated to the new blogger system (which is out of beta now), the current import options from Blogger available in the latest WordPress installation (2.0.5 when I was installing it ;-) ) didn’t work anymore.
The default blogger import can fail in two points:

  1. It fails to authenticate using the new Blogger authentication – Google Accounts (like the authentication for Gmail, Google Reader, etc)
  2. If you upgraded to the new templating scheme, I think it would be hard to use the current blogger importer which tell you to use a specific template format that it will know how to read and import

I didn’t have problem #2 since I didn’t upgrade to the new templating scheme, but I couldn’t authenticate and that’s why it didn’t work.

I searched around and found this script to migrate from Blogger Beta (also good for the new blogger which is now not in beta) written by Ady Romantika.

It’s currently in version 0.3 and doesn’t require you to publish your blog into some FTP (or SFTP) site. Instead, you need to enable full feeds on your blog and comments and it will utilize that to get all the information. The only thing it will have a bit of problems with is with importing images. Luckily I didn’t have much, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

It also allows you to edit the Email and web site address of people who commented on your blog, making it a very clean and useful import that will give you all of your content as if you were always on blogger.

I’d like to thank Ady on a great script. I do hope it will be taken into the default WordPress installation help other Blogger users to migrate.

Eurekamp

I’m blogging directly from Eurekamp where I’ll start a presentation and discussion about Trust and Identity online. I’ll try to cover topics such as why do I need, how to do it (OpenID, OpenID, OpenID) how to claim what is content that was generated by me (MicroID, MicroID, MicroID).

I’ll post some of the slides here after we will finish.

The slides will be a bit not organized, mainly because they are markers to the point in the presentation/discussion and does not represent a standard presentation.

Out with the old (erans.blogspot.com) in with the new (eran.sandler.co.il)

I’ve roughly completed my transfer of “Another blog bites the dust” from Blogger to http://eran.sandler.co.il.

If you are subscribed to my feed burner feed it should redirect automagically. If you are not, it’s a good time to subscribe to it :-). Since this is my own WordPress blog there is now also a total comments feed located here.
Hopefully this new place will allow we to better experiment with stuff and essentially be the master of my own destiny/blog.

This also means that this the layout, design and plugins currently on this blog are far form complete, so you’ll see some changes in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Zoundry Blog Writer – a new version

Zoundry released a new version of their Blog Writer product. Some of the more prominent features added (which a lot of users including me asked for) are:

  • XHTML Editor – You can now see and edit the generated XHTML
  • Spell Checker – No more copying and pasting stuff to another spell checker :-)

Check out the full feature list and download.

I’ve been using Zoundry for the past 6 months as my primary posting tool for this blog as well as my Advanced .NET Debugging blog and it has been really helpful. With the new features now released it is now a kick ass blog writer.

The feed reader of my dreams

I’m what you may call a medium to heavy feed junkie. I read most of the information today using my favorite feed reader RSS Bandit.

While RSS Bandit is a great feed reader it does have its limitations. The biggest one being that its a client side application and it doesn’t sync to one of the server side readers.

I sometimes want to read my feeds at home, sometimes at work or sometimes when I don’t have a computer with me and I just want to login in some Internet cafe and be able to continue reading where I left off.

I don’t know if RSS Bandit does support such a feature, AFAIK it doesn’t. What it does support is the ability to save its feed list and state to some remote location and be able to upload it to some remote storage location (i.e. some accessible FTP site) and download it back again. I found some posts about people saying that they found some ways of doing that and keep the state of the read/unread items, which is a partial solution, but it’s not what I’m looking for. It doesn’t answer my need of being able to continue reading my favorite feeds even when I don’t have one of my machines near me.

So what do I really need?

I want a server-side service with a good API for:

  • Managing Feeds – Adding, removing, grouping them into groups
  • Managing the state of feed posts – Marking what I read as read and what I’ve marked an unread as unread
  • Syncing up – If I install a rich client on a new machine, it should sync up with the server with all of the feeds and its state.
  • Handling a LARGE amount of feeds – well, as I’ve said I’m a medium to heavy feed junkie :-)

Ever since I’ve read Niall Kennedy’s post about the Google Reader API I’ve been meaning to try and cook something up, even though it doesn’t really answer all of my needs (at least as far as the API functions Niall talked about). I wonder if that will piss them off too much :-)

There are a few web application based feed readers, but then I’ll always need access to my home machine (or office machine) which I usually have, but I don’t really want to rely on it. I prefer using one of the big guys’ feed service.

Oh well, time to start getting dirty (unless someone already did that, if so, drop me a comment!)

My first post using a Blog Editor

I’ve decided I wanted to find a reasonable blog editor to post from instead of using the web interface of Blogger (which is nice, but not THAT nice)

After long searches and going through a lot of blog editors (some even cost money) I’ve found this one which is called Zoundry which is even written in Python.

It has some neat features in it like:

  • Tags support – including support for Technorati, Del.icio.us, Flicker, 43 things and more.
  • Preview with your OWN template. It even downloaded my template and enabled me to view this post as it would appear in the blog.Anyhow, this is my first post out of it to test it out and see how it is and if its worth using it all the time.