"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Monday, 2 April 2012

Tips for (happily) backing up your i.ph blog

After talking with another i.ph blogger I tough it may be useful a short post on how I quickly backed up my i.pb blog posts. 

i.ph blog addresses

DotPH blogging platform is based on a proprietary platform called Calliope. Not a bad platform at all but a bit outdated today. Among many other problems Calliope doesn't provide it's users with any backup tool. During three years of blogging with i.ph platform I noticed that blog post can be accessed  from a dual address: one is the usual long permalink 
the other is based on the post number
http://musante.i.ph/blogs/musante/?p=119
My backup solution

 Once i received the news about i.ph closing its free blogging service I looked for a program able to sweep all my post addresses and automatically downloading at least the page HTML. I discovered I could use a very flexible Firefox plug-in: DownThemAll
DownThemAll is a  plug-ins that works as a download manager for Firefox, among the many features it also allow to start a batch download of numbered items. Just what I needed!
All I had to do has been open the DownTemAll manager window and start a new download process (the plus button). I then configured the download process as shown in the screen-shot (sorry I only have an Italian screen-shot).


the numbers between square brackets are the start and end number post you're going to download while the pattern on the bottom (*url*-*inum*.*ext*) tells DownTemAll hot to name the downloaded files (musante.i.ph-001.htm and so on).

Some final notes

DotPH support promised an easy way to backup our blog content, I'm sure they'll come out soon with such solution but, since restoring a blog is a long work, better to start early.
My method only saves the page HTML file not images or any thing you may have linked in it. this is fine if you have your images hosted on another server (like, for example, fickr). If you have your images hosted on i.ph you'll have to save them separately. 
The hard, and boring, part comes with restoring your backed up posts. I'm doing it manually but I have only 117 post to restore on my new blog. If you have more It might be worth looking for an automated way of doing it.

I hope this can be useful. If you have any question, or suggestion, feel free of course to comment here.