Fight Aging! Migrated to WordPress, Tire-Kicking is Almost Complete

The big move of platform finally happened for Fight Aging! this past weekend. I've been putting this off for quite the while, five years at least. For the past twelve years, Fight Aging! ran on the Movable Type blog platform, and now it is on WordPress. While I have no regrets regarding missing out on the early and chaotic years of WordPress, picking Movable Type was certainly one of the more personally consequential wrong choices on technology I've made over the years. Sadly, it is never easy to pick the platform that will turn out to succeed, or at least the one that won't collapse into unsupported irrelevance all too rapidly, as was the case for Movable Type. Hence, a decade down the line, I had to run a large migration of years of encrusted features and additions, approaching a rewrite in places, fleeing a platform that has so fallen out of favor that even the migration tools have vanished or no longer work. There is probably a metaphor for aging and the human condition as it stands today buried in there somewhere.

The purpose of my sharing this is primarily to note that a lot of work has been done under the hood in order to, ideally, keep everything much the same at the surface. Near everything has changed. The tires have been kicked, and numerous last-minute problems identified and fixed, but ideally you should see few differences. I've rearranged some of the site sections and most of the URL paths have changed, yes, but all of the old URLs should automatically redirect to the new locations. This should also be true for those of you using the content feeds in various ways. They should all continue to just work, though you might consider updating the URLs at some point. If anyone finds broken links, broken pages, or other things that are not as they should be, please do let me know. This is a site of, at this point, more than 12,000 posts, so it is hard to check them comprehensively, even with automation. Beyond the posts, the site is something of an iceberg; the pages you see are generated and served by about a tenth of the code that is actually important and in use under the waterline.

It has to be said that security is an increasingly important concern on any modern platform. Being on Movable Type was very constraining from the point of view of adding features, true, but it at least provided the benefit of being a small target, the recipient of little in the way of automated attacks and spam. WordPress, in comparison, is arguably one of the biggest targets online today thanks to its popularity as a platform. Glancing at the metrics, the defenses put in place have blocked something like 3,000 drive-by spam submissions in the past day or two, and the intrusion logs are just as voluminous. One of the time-consuming parts of this migration was the need to lock things down to a much greater extent than was the case in the past. WordPress is a palace of a thousand doors, half of which are hidden away, all of which need their locks and guards, and few of which are either locked or guarded when set up out of the box. While that does to a certain extent mean that you only have to run a bit faster than the other guy to stay ahead of of the proverbial bear, it is still necessary to do it right and plug all of the holes.

As a final note, the real benefit of this migration is that I'm now in a far better position to tinker and change and update Fight Aging! in ways both small and large. If you have ideas or features you'd like to see, this would be the time to mention them. I make no promises that any particular change will definitely happen, or that it will happen rapidly, but much more is now possible than was the case last week.

Comments

I thought that I noticed little things like the new picture of a timeclock with DNA. It is more classy than the garish, neon-colored one used previously. Good luck with the new format.

Posted by: Morpheus at April 4th, 2016 6:55 PM

It seems very nice. But, you should have used a responsive theme.

Posted by: Bob McBob at April 4th, 2016 7:48 PM

Could you perhaps add the Buddypress plugin so that we can have user activity streams? By this I mean being able to click on a commentor's name and see all their past comments (posts).

Posted by: Jim at April 5th, 2016 3:25 AM

If you have ideas or features you'd like to see, this would be the time to mention them.

I wish you would use Disqus for comments... Since you asked. ;)

Posted by: tokarev at April 5th, 2016 4:54 AM

Congratulations for finishing the move! The site looks almost like the old site and everything works ok.

Posted by: Antonio at April 5th, 2016 6:15 AM

I view this site 90% of the time on my iphone. There used to be a brower that would reformat the page so I could read it without having to scroll left right every line but that no longer exists as far as I can locate. Hopefully the new system will allow you to format the pages so they are readable on mobile devices without a good deal of zooming and scrolling

Posted by: JohnD at April 5th, 2016 10:59 AM

I would look into the Wordfence plugin for security (and caching).

And I'll second the suggestion that you use Disqus for comments and a responsive theme.

Posted by: Christopher Carr at April 5th, 2016 12:46 PM

I would like to register my opinion that the comment section is just fine as is. I hate Disqus and would be greatly discouraged from commenting if it were employed.

Posted by: José at April 6th, 2016 2:53 AM

But I should add that the move was very well executed. I've seen much larger (even commercial) sites do much, much, worse. You, however, seem to have preserved all the functionality and made the site more responsive than ever so congratulations are in order!

Posted by: José at April 6th, 2016 2:57 AM

Is there any way to get a grey rather than white background on this website? I tried a few browser plugins such as deluminate, but they were mostly rubbish. Maybe a button at the top saying "switch background to grey".

Posted by: Jim at April 9th, 2016 1:06 PM

Thanks for all your hard work!

Posted by: Rick Smith at April 18th, 2016 9:10 AM

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