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.

OpenID Delegate Plugin for WordPress

Continuing my WordPress plugin frenzy and after release the MicroID WordPress plugin, I’m releasing another plugin, this time for OpenID delegation.

The plugin is named “OpenID Delegate” and you can read all the details and download it from here.

Q: So what’s this OpenID I’ve been hearing about?
A: According to OpenID.net:

OpenID is an open, decentralized, free framework for user-centric digital identity.

OpenID starts with the concept that anyone can identify themselves on the Internet the same way websites do-with a URI (also called a URL or web address). Since URIs are at the very core of Web architecture, they provide a solid foundation for user-centric identity.

What does it mean? Well, basically it means that if you have an OpenID account on an OpenID server and you are accessing an OpenID supported site (see the list of them here) you can use a special URI that your OpenID provider provides you and the password you have chosen to sign-up (and afterwards sign-in) to these sites.
That’s right. You’ll use the same URI and password to sign-in and up for all OpenID supported sites. This is also referred to in the enterprise (and the rest of the world) as Single Sign On or SSO for short.

Q: “So, what’s your OpenID Delegate plugin got to do with it?”
A: It’s quite simple. Assuming you run your own WordPress blog, wouldn’t it be cool to use your blog’s URL and the password provided by your OpenID provider as your URI of choice for signing in and up to OpenID supported sites? Yes it will!

Q: “But you could have just modified your theme and added the necessary meta tags…”

A: Yeap, I know could, but it’s much easier having it as a plugin, allowing me to replace themes without remembering that I’ve added these values to the head tag.

Q: “Where do I get an OpenID account?”

A: Well… you have a couple of ways. First, you might already have an OpenID account if you have an account at either WikiTravel, LiveJournal, DeadJournal, Zooomr, Technorati, etc (see the rest of the list here. Not all of these sites are OpenID providers though).
If you don’t have an account you can open a free one at myOpenID – a free OpenID provider.

The 3rd option you’ve got is to run your own server (not for the faint hearted).

It’s time to own your identity, but if you can’t really own it (i.e. run your own server) at least delegate it and make others think you do!

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.