For awhile now, we've been considering how to proceed with the A La Modern store and blog. You may have read in our last post (over a year ago!) that we were facing some technology deadlines as far as the site went that could very well break it. Well, those came and went - but this past summer they resurfaced, and I began looking into the possibility of porting everything over to our own non-Wordpress code.
The main question was that we weren't sure if it was worth it. This site does still get a decent amount of traffic, and we're still very proud of how we were able to set-up and code an ecommerce site on the back of Wordpress and the eShop plugin. So it'd be hard to just throw it away. However, we have definitely switched to selling a majority of our vintage goods through Etsy and Ebay. So I guess most people would have given it up, or just started a blog/store from scratch.
In the end, I ended up writing my own codebase/database in PHP with JSON, and manually copying over the more important blog posts and products to the new space. This took over six months and was extremely difficult (for me). F-ing madness. Yeah, there's no button that you can press to do that. I have a decent background in programming, but I've never been a whiz at it - always been more of a "hack something together to make it work for a demo" type of person. But needless to say, I'm extremely happy to be rid of Wordpress. No more annoying upgrades and having core plugins get outdated.
As the site stands right now - it's very bare bones. Certain parts may be very slow - I haven't implemented any caching so everything is being served hot and live as we go. I was able to save the majority of the blog posts. The content and images are there, but I could only save comments as flat files. In addition, you can't currently make any new comments on any posts (what good is a blog without comments). I'm going to have to look into finding a 3rd party comment system to integrate that in the future - much as I don't want to get back into 3rd party stuff, I just don't have the chops to write my own comment system. The RSS feed should work - I had to figure out how to code that manually, so I guess we'll see.
I only took about half of our current and sold products over to the new site - there were just too many to manually copy by hand. I did figure out a way to have archived products, which should nicely clean up the current products quite a bit. For awhile there, we had maybe 75% sold products in our main shop! We also have a ton of old products that weren't sold through the main site - I may start entering those slowly for fun over the next year.
As far as overall vision for this site: We are mostly going to be populating the main site inventory with "higher end" items. This is something we have already been doing in our Etsy shop - Sorry, no more bargain basement items - just not worth the time. For the blog, we will likely NOT be doing weekly itemized "thrift roundups" unless it's a group photo type of thing. Those likewise just cost too much time. We might focus more on articles like our Reseller Post series, and maybe posts focusing on specific companies and designers. In general, we'll be writing that for ourselves and our friends mostly, not for the sake of a blog or who reads it.
I'm not sure if relaunching the site is even worth it. In the end, the main reason I did it was to free ourselves from the shackles of 3rd party systems, and to teach myself more php, html, css, json, etc.. Building sites is what I did for a living many years ago, but I hadn't kept up with the last 7-8 years(!) of it. Oh, you may notice that the site does not completely break on mobile phones now :) That was another technology thing that I wanted to investigate.
So, hopefully the site is more or less functional now. Certain things may be broken, just ignore for the time being. Since there's no comments right now, if you want to say something funny or interesting: use the contact form.
EDIT: I'm in the process of testing out a 3rd party system for comments, so please do leave a comment if you have a moment.
And happy thrifting!