switching to a custom domain

So I went ahead and started switching my blog over to a custom domain last night. I can’t say that I’m 100% happy with how things are working, but I think I’m off to an OK start, and I’ll stick with this for awhile. Just to document a few things, for future reference, or for anyone else messing around with this, here are a few good links and notes:

First, here is a good post on how to move from FTP to a custom domain. I started off by reading this post and following some of his advice. (Right now, by the way, andrewhuey.org will still bring up the old blog. blog.andrewhuey.com will bring up the new blog. I’ll have to make some DNS changes at some point to get everything pointing to the new blog.)

I couldn’t quite figure out if I should switch to a new template, or try to stick with my old one. In the end, I decided to stick with the old template, but make some necessary changes to it.  I was using server-side includes in my old template.  I can’t use those anymore, as far as I can tell.  I’m not actually publishing .shtml files to the server anymore, so Apache can’t do the includes, and Google doesn’t seem to support anything similar within a Blogger template.  (I think they could easily create a command that you could use in your template to do this kind of thing, but I haven’t found any indication that there is one.)  When I think about it, though, the main reason I was using the SSIs was so that I wouldn’t have to republish my entire blog any time I made changes to certain aspects of my template.  By moving certain HTML out of the template into separate HTML files on the server, I would always be showing the current content on any page, regardless of whether or not it had been regenerated recently.  That’s no longer an issue, so now I can just pull that code back into the template, since the pages are (I guess) generated on the fly every time now.

I was using a PHP script to generate a tag cloud on my old blog.  This was actually looking at files in the labels/ folder, which won’t exist anymore, so I had to come up with a new way to do that.  If I switched to the new template style, I could just drop a tag cloud widget on the page, and be done with it.  Since I’m sticking with the old template style, I had to find another way.  This post shows a great way of generating a tag cloud using JavaScript and JSON.  It’s pretty cool.  I’m now using a modified version of that script.  I only changed a few things.  One minor thing is that I wanted a case-insensitive sort, so I added code I found here to do that.  And I changed the output from an unnumbered list to just a stream of text, separated by slashes, like my old tag cloud.

I think the whole thing looks pretty good at this point, though I’ve removed some stuff that I want to add back in at some point.

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