Zombie Work

Most of you know that I own and administer The Zombie Preparedness Initiative.   It’s a site full of amazing content, with hundreds of

Logo for The Zombie Preparedness Initiative

The Zombie Preparedness Initiative

articles about zombie preparedness, from guns and ammunition to ways to find and store water.  Everything you need to learn how to survive an apocalyptic scenario is there.

The problem is, the site is horrible.  In the words of the lovely Laura Bretz (My co-author on What Zombies Fear) “The site looks like a 15 year old made it in his parents basement.”  Go check it out.  She’s totally right.

Warning:  Geek Speak Coming up:  ZPI’s current site runs Drupal, which is a content management system.  It’s the software that stores and creates the pages you see when you visit the site.  Drupal is Ok, but the original creator of the site bastardized the code to make it behave the way he wanted, rather than adding modules.  The problem with that is, when you update the core software, all the code he changed is reverted back to normal.  So every time there is an update to drupal’s software, (which is weekly) I have to go in and fix all the things again.  If he’d created modules they wouldn’t be effected.

Ever since I took the site over, I’ve wanted to get rid of Drupal and move to a different, more stable, more customizable CMS.  This week I settled on WordPress (The software this blog uses).  I’ve created a test site, over at www.allmond.net/ZPI_Wordpress, feel free to go check it out.

The drawback to this is that if you’ve registered at the original ZPI site, you’ll have to re-register at the new wordpress powered ZPI site.  I’m going to lose my entire members database.  It’s a big loss, and it’s the reason I’ve held off for two years on doing this.  But I can’t move forward without moving backwards, and it’s time to bite the bullet, to update the site, bring it into the 21st century, and display the content in a fashion that makes sense and is useful for it’s visitors.

The benefits of the new site are many.  It’s much more community oriented.  It allows people to have in-depth profiles.  It has facebook like status updates, friends lists, and instant messaging.  It will have user image galleries, much more attractive content, and engage our users in a way that was never possible with Drupal.  It makes us a community.  And I’m really excited about that.

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2 thoughts on “Zombie Work

    • I looked into several of those, the problem is that my drupal installation is so heavily customized. Among other things, we’re running 8 different content types on the drupal site. I haven’t found (other than an expensive custom solution) a CMS transfer solution that can handle such a complex transition.

      There are a few other reasons to do it by hand, one of which is to take full advantage of the better SEO practices that wordpress offers, as well as re-laying out articles with wordpress’s superior layout tools and image uploader/editor.

      It’s not just about moving the content, that’s actually the least time intensive part of the process. As far as users, I’m not sure how CMS2CMS would move all the user accounts over, without being a custom solution. Our user tables are massive, bloated, and full of unused crap. It’s just not worth importing all the bad with the good.

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