A New Start: Migrating and Redesigning El Estoque

As webmaster of El Estoque, Monta Vista High School's student news publication, I migrated our website www.elestoque.org from Joomla to WordPress and revamped our site's design.

As odd as it may seem, the bulk of my experience in website development comes from my involvement in a news magazine. This past summer, as webmaster of El Estoque, Monta Vista High School’s journalistic publication, I facilitated our website’s migration from Joomla to WordPress.

Of course, as a journalist, I do have duties other than maintaining the website: I’m a news editor and staff writer as well. While you can see a collection of the journalistic content I’ve published here, this post will focus on my role as webmaster.

When I was selected as webmaster back in April, my intent was to focus solely on redesigning the site. Soon, however, our staff began to discuss abandoning Joomla for WordPress.

Various factors came into play when deciding to make the leap to WordPress. Yes, Joomla is arguably a more capable, flexible and powerful content management system than WordPress, yet the fact remained that our staff needed a user-friendly CMS. Indeed, the migration to WordPress was preceded by the merger of our print and online staffs, and we needed a CMS with which everyone would be comfortable.

And so the decision was made, and I undertook the daunting task of the migration. Thankfully, some research revealed that I would not have to manually migrate the entire website. I found a WordPress plugin—”Joomla/Mambo to WordPress Migrator“—that would facilitate the migration for me. That’s not to say that the migration went perfectly. It didn’t, not by any means. Bugs were found, setbacks were encountered, and much debugging was needed. The migration is finished, but remains imperfect. Awkward formatting issues plague old posts, incorrectly attributed articles clutter up author pages, and more. But, little by little, these issues are being resolved.

The migration was fine and dandy, but a site is nothing without its user interface. After completing the migration, our staff purchased a WordPress theme, off of which I built our website. Some design elements have been overridden in the theme’s css files, and some plugins have been tweaked through their PHP code, but, just like the migration, the design is far from complete.

The website is not finished, but it’s getting there. I’m still improving upon what I’ve built so far, and will continue to do so until I graduate—perfection is ever so elusive.

Check back on debugmind later for more detailed instructions regarding the migration from Joomla to WordPress and an in-depth explication of the design process.

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