It was a little more than five years ago that I embarked on the endeavor to move the Feeders Feed from various hosted products to a single unified website. At the time the best idea was to use a robust “Content Management System” (commonly referred to as a CMS) that could provide an easier method of hosting compared to the patchwork of free components that didn’t work well together prior to that.
The CMS of choice was a free product that had widespread adoption, called Joomla! At the time Joomla! had a long resume of sites using it, and they still do to this day. The problem was as the product matured, developers of add-ons for it wanted to start charging for extending it beyond the basic functionality.
Meanwhile, ongoing issues involving logins, a vendor that sold us a product and ultimately disappeared, and other issues made the product a support nightmare. In early 2016, I began an endeavor to move from a patchwork of custom built websites (and some new ones in early stages of development) to a single CMS capable of handling all of them with a single management back end. The product I chose, WordPress, started life as a blogging software, but has since matured into a full-featured CMS platform of its own.
I was already using WordPress prior to this decision, so migrating my single website using it and expanding the setup to support others was an easy task. Early in that effort, I knew that the Feeders Feed would have to make that transition.
Before you lies what is the result of six months of planning, many nights of execution, and a system that should prove to be more reliable than our previous site. As is obvious, it is a whole new look. A majority of the work was migrating the content between the systems, performed literally by cutting and pasting from one system to the other.
A new forums program was added, and it made relatively quick work of importing the messages from the old site. Unlike the old forums (which it took extra components just to make the single login page work, and those components were no longer being updated, leaving our current install full of security holes) and a less than seamless appearance, the new forums is designed around and directly integrates with WordPress, so it truly is seamless.
Likewise, as you may have noticed when I first announced this project being in the works back in July, that “always open” Lounge had been retired. The developer of the software behind the scenes disappeared without a trace, leaving us with no support and no upgrade. There were many reported security vulnerabilities, and the decision to protect the overall site by removing it entirely was the only option. I continue to look for potential replacements, but one has not yet been discovered. If there is interest in one, I will renew my effort to find a suitable replacement.