Importing from RSS in WordPress

Since I [[|moved]] to TxD, I’ve been [[|trying]] to import data from my previous blog over at resolute. And its been a pain in the ass.

I think its primarily because I’m lazy, because I //do// have access to the database in both the places. That said, I do think there are some non-trivial technical challenges:

* Over at my previous blog, I messed around with input plugins, text formatting plugins etc a lot. As a result, the posts in the database are all messed up — some are in HTML, others are in Textile, still others in dokuwiki, and some even in Markdown. So a straight forward copying over of the database would not have worked.
* On this blog, I have stuck to stable releases of WordPress, while the old blog was actually running 1.6-alpha. I’m not sure copying over tables directly wouldn’t have broken anything.
* I wasn’t using tags on my old blog. The categories were also not perfect. So I would have had to tag them all eventually manually anyways.

So I started importing the posts manually — the most irritating part was copying over the creation time of the post (I didn’t even bother about the creation time). After copying the date and content, I would manually tag each post. It was a slow process. My progress in the beginning was fast — I was targeting one month each day.

However, I soon ran out of patience and interest. Clearly there has to be a better way of doing this, right? I didn’t give much thought to the matter until last night, when I was talking with [[|Jaya]] about her options for importing her posts over to her [[|new home]].

One of the promising options that stood out was using the import from RSS feeds functionality in WordPress. This little known tool resides in ‘wp-admin/import-rss.php’ and works pretty well actually. Once you’ve set your feeds to contain full text and increased the number of posts in the feed to something large (say 50 or more) then you can quickly import pretty much all posts in your blog in no time.

There are some downsides, of course — it doesn’t import comments, you still have to manually tag/re-categorize them, the internal format of messages in your blog is now messed up (so now I have most posts in dokuwiki, and the imported ones in HTML) and so on. However, its still a big win for me, because atleast I didn’t have to manually copy over the contents, creation date and time. So for those of you struggling to get posts out of any random blog into your own wordpress blog, do check out this option.

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