Fresh Gruts!

Did you feel those slight tremors between 07:02 and 09:11 this morning? I reckon they peaked at about 2.3 on the Rixter Scale. No, nothing to do with fracking tests near Blackpool; it was Gruts going through a major upgrade.

After many years loyal service, I have decided to put my home-grown content management system out to stud, and to migrate to WordPress. When I started Gruts over a decade ago, this simply wasn't an option. By the time that decent content management systems became available, however, there was so much crap content invested in Gruts, that changing to a new system was far too much of a headache. Such is often the case with ground-breaking technological innovations—remember all the grief the BBC had rescuing  the data from their Domesday Project?

Anyway, I have finally grasped the nettle by the horns, muscled down, and written lots of clever, one-off computer programs to convert all of the old Gruts content into WordPress format. This includes the post comments, the conversion of which alone required two bumper packets of Anadin Extra™. You wouldn't catch Murdoch showing such respect to his readers' contributions, mark my words (as I marked yours).

And the upshot of all this? Well, in short:

  • nearly all of the previous content is still available;
  • I did delete a few old posts, which I happened to notice depended entirely on links to other websites which aren't there any more;
  • all of your comments have been preserved for posterity. All of them. No matter how stupid;
  • the URLs (web addresses) of all of the posts and a lot of the other content have changed, but the old URLs still work. This is because I happen to believe that honouring existing external links to your website is a courtesy that every content provider should adopt, pain in the arse though it undoubtedly is;
  • one thing I haven't been able to incorporate into the upgrade is my bespoke comment avatars (those little pictures next to each person's comments). WordPress makes use (as did my old home-grown commenting system) of the external service. Under my old system, anyone who didn't use this service was assigned their own Gruts-specific avatar. This no longer happens. To set up your own avatar, therefore, check out my FAQ: How do I set/change my comments avatar? (Regular Gruts commenters who don't do this can expect to be badgered by yours truly: avatars make websites more friendly!)
  • if you are a new commenter (i.e. if you have not had two previously approved comments associated with the email address that you give), then any comments that you post will be held in a moderation queue prior to being approved/rejected by me. This is primarily to prevent comment spam. I haven't been able to test it, but I am pretty sure that any previous comments you made under the old system will be honoured in the calculation;
  • the borders around some of the images on the old posts don't look quite right, but it would have been too much hassle to fix them all. I'll probably fix certain individual ones manually, if they begin to irritate me unduly;
  • each post on Gruts can now be associated with one or more topics (or categories). I have been recording categories against posts for years, but you have never been able to see them before because it was too hard for me to program without a proper database running things behind the scenes. Some of the categorisations of old posts are, I freely admit, a bit rubbish, and the very old posts have no categories at all. I shall be trying to improve these categorisations retrospectively over the coming months;
  • I shall also be giving the About pages a long-overdue update pretty soon;
  • all Gruts content remains completely free. (I certainly won't be repeating my rival Murdoch's ridiculous mistake.)
  • a lot of the stuff in the sidebar has disappeared for the time being, but it will return in due course;
  • the site should now look pretty nifty on your smartphones;
  • I am now able to post updates from my own phone, so expect more roving reports in future.

Or, to summarise in five words:

  • same shit; slightly different format.

Spooky coincidence: WordPress informs me that this is the 1,965th post on Gruts. 1965 also happens to be the year in which I was born. This probably means something deeply significant, but I haven't been able to work out what it is yet.

1,965 posts. That's a serious load of nonsense.

By Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. Bloody hell - anyone would think you were a computer programmer or something.

  2. I am self-taught, having dabbled with programming since 1982 (when Carolyn loaned me her ZX-81), although I have never programmed professionally. But I do consider myself very talented at breaking other people's code.

  3. I can personally vouch for the last bit. The site looks very nice by the way.

  4. Hey! Wait for me!

    Took my eye off the ball for a minute there and suddenly everything's changed!

    Nice looking layout Mr C. Sorry to have lost my custom yoghurt thou'.

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