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Movable Type User Manual: IMPORTING YOUR ENTRIES

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IMPORTING YOUR ENTRIES

Movable Type allows you to import your entries from other weblog content management systems. If you are importing from Greymatter, Movable Type also allows you to import all of the comments on your entries into your new blog. This can be useful when you wish to start using Movable Type but already have much of your content in another system. To do this, you will first need to export your data from the other system; you can do this using the other system's standard templating functionality. Simply use a template that will produce the desired formatting that Movable Type understands for importing new entries. Templates for exporting data from Blogger, Greymatter, and Newspro are provided below.

In addition to exporting your data from another weblog CMS, you can export your entries from Movable Type itself. This allows you to keep local backups of your weblog content for safekeeping, as well as to transfer data between blogs, by combining the export and import mechanisms. To export the entries from one of your blogs, login to Movable Type, then go to the Main Menu for the blog you wish to export. Then click Import & Export Entries, and follow the instructions under Export Entries.

NOTE: be careful when exporting data from Internet Explorer; all versions of Internet Explorer have a bug where data marked as plain text can be intrepreted as HTML. The symptom of this bug is that all of your exported data will run together onto one line. If this is the case, use Netscape when exporting data.

After your content has been exported from the other system, you must move your data files over to the system where Movable Type runs, so that Movable Type can find them. Then you can use the import mechanism to import those entries into Movable Type.

Exporting Blogger Entries

  1. Log into your Blogger account, then switch into template-editing mode.

  2. Make a copy of your current template; you will be replacing your Blogger template with the conversion template in Step 3, but you probably don't want to lose your original template.

  3. Replace your Blogger template with the following (note: you must remove the indentation from the following lines when pasting into your Blogger template):
    <Blogger>
    AUTHOR: <$BlogItemAuthor$>
    DATE: <$BlogItemDateTime$>
    -----
    BODY:
    <$BlogItemBody$>
    --------
    </Blogger>
    

  4. Enter the Settings area for this blog.

  5. Change your Blog Filename to a different filename; this will prevent you from overwriting your main index file.

  6. In Formatting, set your blog to display all of your posts on the main index page. There is no explicit setting for this; instead, you should change the number of days displayed on your front page (Show N days' posts on main page) higher than the number of days that you have been blogging.

  7. Set Date/Time Format to the format MM/DD/YYYY HH:MM:SS AM|PM. (Note: the format will not look like this in the menu; instead it will be the current time, formatted.)

  8. Set Convert Line Breaks to No.

  9. Set Archive Frequency to No Archive. This will prevent your archives from being overwritten with the new template.

  10. Switch back to the Posts screen, and Publish your blog. You will end up with a single file with all of your posts, formatted using the above template, at the location specified in your Settings. Download this file to your local hard drive.

    Now skip down to Importing Entries, below.

Exporting Greymatter Entries

These instructions describe the process of exporting all entries and comments from Greymatter into a format suitable for import into Movable Type.

NOTE: if you have already imported your Greymatter entries into Movable Type, and now wish to import only your comments, use the Exporting Greymatter Comments Only instructions, below.

  1. Log into your Greymatter account, then click Edit Templates; then click Edit Main Index-Related Templates.

  2. Make a copy of all current templates on this page; you will be replacing them with the conversion templates in Steps 3-6, but you probably don't want to lose your original templates.

  3. Replace your Main Index Template with the following:

    {{logbody}}

  4. Replace your Index Entry Template: Standard Entries template with the following (note: you must remove the indentation from the following lines when pasting into your Greymatter template):
    TITLE: {{entrysubject}}
    DATE: {{monthmonth}}/{{dayday}}/{{yearyear}} {{hour}}:{{minuteminute}}:00 {{ampm}}
    AUTHOR: {{author}}
    -----
    BODY:
    {{entrymainbody}}
    -----
    {{entrycomments}}
    --------
    

  5. Replace your Index Entry Template: Extended Entries template with the following (note: you must remove the indentation from the following lines when pasting into your Greymatter template):
    TITLE: {{entrysubject}}
    DATE: {{monthmonth}}/{{dayday}}/{{yearyear}} {{hour}}:{{minuteminute}}:00 {{ampm}}
    AUTHOR: {{author}}
    -----
    BODY:
    {{entrymainbody}}
    -----
    EXTENDED BODY:
    {{entrymorebody}}
    -----
    {{entrycomments}}
    --------
    

  6. Remove all text/HTML from your Date Grouping Template, Entry Separator Template, and Stay At Top Index Entry Template.

  7. Save (do NOT rebuild at this time).

    Return to the main templates menu, then click Karma & Comments-Related Templates.

  8. Copy your current Comment Appearance Template, as in Step 2.

  9. Change your Comment Appearance Template to the following (note: you must remove the indentation from the following lines when pasting into your Greymatter template):
    COMMENT:
    AUTHOR: {{commentauthor}}
    EMAIL: {{commentauthoremailabsolute}}
    URL: {{commentauthorhomepageabsolute}}
    DATE: {{monthmonth}}/{{dayday}}/{{yearyear}} {{hour}}:{{minuteminute}}:00 {{ampm}}
    {{commentbody}}
    -----
    

  10. Save (do NOT rebuild at this time).

    Return to the main templates menu, then click Miscellaneous Templates.

  11. Copy your current Paragraph Separator and Line Separator templates, as in Step 2.

  12. Change your Paragraph Separator template to two carriage returns, and do the same for your Line Separator template.

  13. Save (do NOT rebuild at this time).

    Return to the main menu, then click Configuration.

  14. Change Index filename, so as not to overwrite your existing blog.

  15. Change Days to keep on main index so that it is higher than the number of days that you have been blogging. This will have the effect of placing all of your entries on your main index.

  16. Save the configuration.

    Return to the main menu, then click Rebuild Files.

  17. In the Rebuild Files menu, you only want to rebuild your main index page, so click the Rebuild Main Index File button.

    After this is done, you will end up with a single file with all of your posts, formatted using the above templates, at the location specified in your configuration. Download this file to your local hard drive.

    Now skip down to Importing Entries, below.

Exporting Greymatter Comments Only

If you have already imported your Greymatter entries into Movable Type, and now wish to import just the comments from those entries, you can do this using the following steps. Note that these instructions will only work if:

  1. You have already imported all of your Greymatter entries into Movable Type.

  2. You have not changed the timestamps (Authored on dates) on those entries after importing them; Movable Type will use the entry timestamps to determine which comments match up with which entries. Thus, if you have changed the timestamp on an entry, Movable Type will not be able to match up any comments on that entry.

Here are the steps for exporting just your Greymatter comments:

  1. Log into your Greymatter account, then click Edit Templates; then click Edit Main Index-Related Templates.

  2. Make a copy of all current templates on this page; you will be replacing them with the conversion templates in Steps 3-6, but you probably don't want to lose your original templates.

  3. Replace your Main Index Template with the following:

    {{logbody}}

  4. Replace your Index Entry Template: Standard Entries template with the following (note: you must remove the indentation from the following lines when pasting into your Greymatter template):
    DATE: {{monthmonth}}/{{dayday}}/{{yearyear}} {{hour}}:{{minuteminute}}:00 {{ampm}}
    NO ENTRY: 1
    -----
    {{entrycomments}}
    --------
    

  5. Replace your Index Entry Template: Extended Entries template with the following (note: you must remove the indentation from the following lines when pasting into your Greymatter template):
    DATE: {{monthmonth}}/{{dayday}}/{{yearyear}} {{hour}}:{{minuteminute}}:00 {{ampm}}
    NO ENTRY: 1
    -----
    {{entrycomments}}
    --------
    

  6. Remove all text/HTML from your Date Grouping Template, Entry Separator Template, and Stay At Top Index Entry Template.

  7. Save (do NOT rebuild at this time).

    Return to the main templates menu, then click Karma & Comments-Related Templates.

  8. Copy your current Comment Appearance Template, as in Step 2.

  9. Change your Comment Appearance Template to the following (note: you must remove the indentation from the following lines when pasting into your Greymatter template):
    COMMENT:
    AUTHOR: {{commentauthor}}
    EMAIL: {{commentauthoremailabsolute}}
    URL: {{commentauthorhomepageabsolute}}
    DATE: {{monthmonth}}/{{dayday}}/{{yearyear}} {{hour}}:{{minuteminute}}:00 {{ampm}}
    {{commentbody}}
    -----
    

  10. Save (do NOT rebuild at this time).

    Return to the main templates menu, then click Miscellaneous Templates.

  11. Copy your current Paragraph Separator and Line Separator templates, as in Step 2.

  12. Change your Paragraph Separator template to two carriage returns, and do the same for your Line Separator template.

  13. Save (do NOT rebuild at this time).

    Return to the main menu, then click Configuration.

  14. Change Index filename, so as not to overwrite your existing blog.

  15. Change Days to keep on main index so that it is higher than the number of days that you have been blogging. This will have the effect of placing all of your entries on your main index.

  16. Save the configuration.

    Return to the main menu, then click Rebuild Files.

  17. In the Rebuild Files menu, you only want to rebuild your main index page, so click the Rebuild Main Index File button.

    After this is done, you will end up with a single file with all of your posts, formatted using the above templates, at the location specified in your configuration. Download this file to your local hard drive.

    Now skip down to Importing Entries, below.

Exporting NewsPro Entries

  1. Enter the NewsPro admin interface, and click on Change Settings.

  2. Change the News Files Path to point to a different directory, so as not to overwrite your public files; you may need to create a new directory for this.

  3. Change your Archive Files Path to point to the same directory as used in Step 2.

  4. Change your Archive/Hide News setting to Archive.

  5. Change the News Age to a number greater than the number of days you've been blogging with NewsPro.

  6. Change Archive Type to One Archive.

  7. Change the Monthly Archive Links Page to point to a new, unique file, so as not to overwrite your public links page.

  8. Change the 12/24 Hour Clock to the 12 hour system.

  9. Change the Date Format to the following:
    <Field: Month_Number>/<Field: Day>/<Field: Year> <Field: Hour>:<Field:Minute>:00 <Field:AMPM>
    

  10. Change the News Display to the following (note: you must remove the indentation from the following lines when pasting into your NewsPro template):
    TITLE: <InsertSubject>
    DATE: <InsertDate>
    AUTHOR: <InsertName>
    -----
    BODY:
    <InsertNews>
    --------
    

  11. Save your settings with the Submit Settings button. Do not rebuild yet.

  12. Click on the Advanced Settings link.

  13. Under Advanced Settings scroll down to about the middle of the page and find the NumberLimit setting; make sure that it is set to zero (0).

  14. Find the CreateAnchors setting (around the middle of the page), and set it to No (Off).

  15. Save settings.

  16. Rebuild your files. Your exported entries will be compiled into a new file which you can then download. Verify your exported data. There will probably be a single line at the top of the file with a NewsPro tag or marker--remove this line. Ensure that the date format is MM/DD/YYYY (2-digit month/2-digit day/4-digit year).

    Now skip down to Importing Entries, below.

Importing Entries

Now that you have exported all of your entries from your other content management system, you are ready to import the entries into Movable Type.

  1. Connect to your FTP server; then open the directory where you installed Movable Type.

  2. Create a new directory called import, then open that directory.

  3. Upload the file containing all of your entries into the import directory.

  4. Log into Movable Type, then select the blog into which you wish to import the entries from the Your existing blogs list.

  5. Click Import Entries.

  6. You have the option of either importing the entries as yourself--the author that you are currently logged in as--or creating new authors for each author name found in the original set of entries. For example, if your blog is/was a team blog, you would probably want to recreate the original set of authors, rather than import all of the entries as yourself. Otherwise you probably wish to simply import the entries as yourself.

    If importing the entries as you, check the Import as me box.

    If creating new authors, you will need to set a password which will be used when creating each of the new authors in the system. You should also leave the Import as me box unchecked.

    NOTE: if the name of an author listed for one of the entries you are importing is already being used by an author in the Movable Type system, the entry will be assigned to the existing author, and a new author will not be created.

  7. If you would like to choose a default category for all of the entries that you import, you can do so here. This might be useful if you already have a batch of entries in your Movable Type blog, for example, and you wish to mark the newly-imported entries as uncategorized.

    If you do not choose a default category, the entries will not be assigned to a particular category (unless the entries you are importing use the CATEGORY key to specify their category).

    If you choose a default category, and one or more entries use the CATEGORY key in the list of exported entries, the CATEGORY key will override the default category, for those entries using the CATEGORY key; all other entries will be assigned to the default category.

  8. By default, your imported entries will be assigned the post status that you have selected as the Status default in your blog configuration. If you would like to override this, you can select the desired post status (Draft or Publish) from the Default post status for entries menu.

  9. The Title Start HTML and Title End HTML values are used to identify a post title within the body of an entry. This is useful when importing entries from Blogger, for example, because Blogger posts do not have the concept of a separate title field. If you have named your posts consistently through the use of HTML tags, however, Movable Type can parse your blog entries to find those titles. For example, if all of your entry titles look like this:

    <font class="title">I am a title</font>
    

    Then you could use a value for Title Start HTML of

    <font class="title">
    

    and a value for Title End HTML of

    </font>
    

    to automatically set the titles of your entries when importing. If found, the title, along with the surrounding HTML, will be removed from the body of your entry.

    If you do not fill in these values, or if the relevant HTML cannot be found for a particular entry, the first five (5) words of the entry are used as the title, instead.

  10. After filling in the necessary values in the form, press IMPORT to import your entries.

  11. That's it!

    NOTE: You should now remove all of the files that you imported from the import directory, so that if or when you run the import process again at some later date, the entries you just imported will not be re-imported.

    You will need to rebuild all of your files in order to generate your archives for the new imported entries.

TIP: after importing your entries, if you imported them from a system without categories, you may wish to assign categories to each of your entries; a fast way to do this is to use Movable Type's Power-Editing Mode, which allows you to edit multiple entries at once.


Copyright © 2001, 2002 Ben Trott and Mena Trott. All Rights Reserved.