Monthly Archives: June 2014

Paying off the Vigilant Media Network technical debt

The purchase of my Mac spurred me on to face the reality of my aging web stack. My technical debt had accumulated to the size of my financial debt, and it was time to pay up.

Back in 2012, I laid some groundwork by moving to WordPress and all my music-related projects to Drupal. I did that out of professional necessity since I had to support those applications at work, and I had no experience with either.

Newer things started to edge into my consciousness — Laravel, Bootstrap, Composer, PHPStorm — but I hadn’t felt the need to deploy them on my personal web stack since I knew it would require at least a number of weeks of refactoring.

Then the older stuff started getting older. EllisLabs wants someone else to own CodeIgniter. Blueprint CSS froze development. Finally, Movable Type stopped offering an open-source version.

The Mac made it enjoyable to code, so I rolled up the metaphorical sleeves and went to work.

First, I retired Movable Type by moving all my blogs — most of them defunct — to WordPress. In the case of the Archive, it meant learning how to build a custom plugin to connect to the artist database.

Next, I retired Blueprint CSS in favor of Bootstrap. Now my sites are mobile-friendly.

Finally, I moved some administrative sites off of CodeIgniter and into Laravel.

I’m kind of amazed by how much I got done in the past seven weeks. Ten years ago, this same amount of work would have taken at least three to four months.

Some of these migrations aren’t feature complete, but another thing I’ve learned in the last few years is done is better than perfect.

I also took an unprecedented step of shutting down a site. Austin Stories had been running as an archive, and I couldn’t justify the effort to migrate it.

I’ve reached a point now where everything is moved, and I can take a breather. My hope is to write a few entries about this migration.