Don’t Split Your Feed!

When I began my term as Hacker in Residence at Robertson Library at the University of Prince Edward Island in 2013, one of the first things I did was to set up a dedicated weblog to record my activities while wearing that hat.

Things started badly when I was forced, by university policy, to attached the blog to http://hacker.vre.upei.ca/, an address nobody could love (to this day I don’t know what a “VRE” really is, nor why it had to appear in my URL).

But I soldiered on, making 60 posts, on all manner of topics, between January 8, 2013 and July 17, 2015.

At that point the Hacker in Residence blog started to wither on the vine; it wasn’t that I wasn’t hacking-in-residence any longer, it’s just that, as I gradually fine-tuned the writing-and-rendering environment here on the mothership blog, writing over there felt like wearing slightly ill-fitting clothes. So I started to write here what I would have once written there.

This was the second time something like this happened: back in July of 2003 I started a separate Reinvented Labs blog to write about more technical topics. That too fell into disrepair, a year later in 2004, and I corrected the error of my ways by returning to a single stream of writing when I evolved what was once the “Reinvented.net” blog into the “ruk.ca” blog as you now know it.

What I should have learned from that exercise, and what I’ve finally realized definitively, is that I should never split my feed.

Which is to say: it’s difficult enough having one clean, well-lit place to write, let alone introducing the technical and spiritual complexities of creating separate neighbourhoods for separate types of writing. Drupal installations don’t get updated. Backups don’t get made. Attention doesn’t get paid. It looks like the interest stopped, when really it just flowed elsewhere.

So today I imported all 60 of the Hacker in Residence posts over here, and this week I’ll get a redirect put in place to 301 Redirect all http://hacker.vre.upei.ca/ URLs over to https://ruk.ca/ ones.

Please warn me if I set out to do this again.

From a technical perspective, I used the Views Data Export module on the Hacker in Residence Drupal to export the posts into a CSV file. On this end I used the Feeds module, supplemented by Feeds Tamper to massage the data a little, to import the posts into this Drupal. Where they will remain for all eternity.

Comments

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on April 11, 2017 - 16:09 Permalink

The redirect is now in place, so all of the hacker.vre.upei.ca will get redirected here.