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Migrated from Community Server to DasBlog

Posted in Community Server | dasBlog | Sql and Xml at Saturday, October 17, 2009 8:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time

If you’re reading this then you’re on my new blog homepage at http://bryantlikes.com. I’ve wanted to move off of http://blogs.sqlxml.org for some time but every time I start to work on it I get overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. I would usually get stuck on (1) how to migrate all my content and (2) where to host it since there is a lot of content and most hosting providers give you very little SQL storage.

I looked at a lot of options and even setup Oxite on Azure by following this guide, but since I didn’t know what the monthly costs will be I decided not to take that route. Since I was recently awarded the MVP award I decided to look at some of the benefits and I found that Orcs Web offers a free hosting account to MVPs. I know Orcs has a great service so I was excited to give that a try, but I didn’t think their SQL storage would be enough for my blog. That is when I got the idea to give dasBlog a try. DasBlog stores all your data in xml files instead of using a SQL database. At first that sounds like a bad idea, but if it can support Hanselman’s blog, then surely my blog would have no problems at all. Plus it solves the SQL storage issue.

Now the harder question, how do you migrate all the content. At first I tried using the BlogML stuff to pull all my content out of Community Server, but I have a lot of content so I ended up getting lots of exceptions. I tried to hand code some solutions, but finally gave up. Then I got the idea to just take the simple route and write a custom program to read the data from my CS database and generate the XML files that dasBlog uses. So I used some Linq to SQL classes and wrote the XML using Linq to XML. It was fairly easy to do and it worked great.

The next step was to setup the redirects on the old site to point to the new site. I have all the articles redirecting and I think they all work (for the most part). I had to setup some custom redirects for some of the articles with non-standard characters in the titles, but other than that it was pretty easy. I also followed Scott’s post on canonicalize my URLs and using IIS7’s rewrite module. Orcs provides access to your IIS7’s manager remotely which works great.

I still need to migrate my articles, but I’ll get those done later today. Other than that it is a done deal. I’m very happy to be off the sqlxml.org domain which I still host at home and to be off of Community Server.

Lately, I wanted to thank Alexander Groß for the great theme which he created. I think this new blog is much easier to read and so far I’ve enjoyed the dasBlog software. I’ve even write a custom macro to put the RSS feeds on the category pages. I’m sure I’ll do some more customization down the road and post about as I go.

Hope you like the new blog!

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