There are a ton of stories out on the web that talk about WordPress but some of the most interesting stories consists of large websites that contain thousands of articles that describe their process from switching from their previous content management system to WordPress. The Fairfield Mirror previously used a system called College Publisher. After spending a few weeks with it, Joseph Cefoli decided that it wouldn’t be the best tool for the job. After spending time checking out all of the different alternatives, the decision to use WordPress was made.
The site uses a revamped version of the Gazette Edition theme developed by WooThemes. The switch included over 7,000+ articles which were manually sorted through to ensure a smooth transition.
We received the database around June, and CoPress helped us convert its structure to something compatible with WordPress. All 7,000+ articles were unsorted and many authors’ information was redundant. I spent many hours merging user accounts, removing dead images, cleaning up dead links and adding some basic functionality. This is where all the technical stuff goes (the PHP, the SQL and the CSS) but I’d put you to sleep if I went on, so I’ll skip further detail here.
I invite you to read their story of how they made the switch considering it was not an easy process and contained many hours of manual labor. There wasn’t a script that did everything for them although I’m sure that would have been nice to have. Reading stories like this reminds me of how important it is for the various open source projects including WordPress to not only provide an easy way into the system with your data, but an equally easy way out. My hope is that some day, there is some sort of protocol adopted by the majority of publishing systems that makes switching between them as easy as 1,2,3.