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Blog migration

I replaced the News system with the blog extension of the TYPO3 GmbH.

The switch will offer me more freedom and comfort in the future. But it was also associated with some effort. In addition to the customization of many blog templates, the previous news records also had to be migrated.

Looking back

I launched this website in autumn 2015: a small private blog with own tutorials. The accompanying dokuwiki, a snippet database and personal reference (only available in german), already exists since 2013.

TYPO3 is not the first choice when starting a blog–the system has different strengths. However, this website was always meant to be my playground for technical innovations as well.

I had chosen the news extension as the technical core. It has many advantages:

  • list and detail views
  • categories and tags, including filter views
  • RSS feeds
  • versatile
  • proven and reliable over years

Every system has limitations

Over time, I noticed that my tutorials became more and more extensive. I was able to add code blocks with EXT:beautyofcode by including content elements in news records. But managing so much related content elements within the news record was not ideal. This is no criticism of news–the extension is simply not designed for this purpose.

Now and then, there were issues with localized FAL records, e.g. 'Related links'. Sometimes the entries in the second frontend language were missing–or they were duplicated. This is not a bug in the news system either, but an issue of the File Abstraction Layer.

When I wanted to add the speaking URL fragments in all tutorials, I took the step and changed the system.

Advantages of the blog extension

The blog extension uses TYPO3s core concepts and offers a similar functionality as EXT:news.

Blog articles are created as normal pages (with new doktype). Any content elements can then be used on these pages. During the migration of the data, I already noticed that this makes the maintenance of my tutorials much easier.

Another benefit: I can assign any backend layout to a blog post. This makes it easier for me to set up different page layouts, compared to a new template layout for News.

Setting up the blog

The goal was to get the same result in the frontend as with EXT:news. This meant adapting templates to match the existing <article> markup, but also configuring category list views and RSS feeds as before.

Besides, I have added some minor details, such as the date of the last update in tutorials.

Data migration

The contents of the tutorials were already largely stored in TYPO3 content elements, which in turn were relations of the news record.

I manually copied headlines, some metadata, and other text into the page properties and additional content elements.

With the current amount of content, this was still an acceptable way for me. I combined the migration process with the revision of some content and also added the human-readable URL fragments.

Outlook

It is scheduled to show the compatibility with TYPO3 versions in all tutorials. This allows you to see at first glance if the tutorial is still valid for your project. Other TYPO3 blogs, like usetypo3.com, have already set this up.

The design of my website will also get an upgrade. Since the visitors of this website only use the latest browsers, I can e.g. easily introduce a CSS grid layout. The readability of the tutorials remains the primary goal.

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