Well I finally did it. Goodbye old site (pictured).
After mulling over whether or not to convert my trusty old blog to the WordPress platform for years, and recently actually thinking seriously about doing it, over the past few weeks I've spent a lot of time actually getting it done. It was about as painful as I expected it to be, which was unsurprisingly quite very.
Other than the drastic improvement in look, the regulars will notice a lot of changes as I've simplified the whole site down to its core. Gone are the Gallery, Intros, Games, and Other pages, although all of them have been archived in their original state and can still be accessed from the Misc page. The reasoning for this was that I really haven't changed those sections much, or at all, over the past 5 or so years. There's various reasons for that of course; e.g. the Gallery's functionality, for example, has largely been replaced by Facebook.
Importing the data from the old blog script to WordPress wasn't a lot of fun. In the end I had to essentially create my own plugin which read the old data and posted it into WordPress' database. I've managed to retain all the entries and the comments, as well as the categories that I started using behind-the-scenes a few years ago.
Now that I'm using WordPress, I can take advantage of the features and plugins that I either had to manually code myself for the previous script, or were previously just too hard to do. I'm using a few really cool plugins, and theme support is great. Subscriptions and notifications are now totally handled by WordPress.com through the 'JetPack' plugin, although I am still hosting and maintaining the blog on my hosting account.
A lot of time setting this up was spent customising this theme (which is a paid-for premium theme) to the way I like it. There's a lot of cool stuff about the theme; one of the biggest benefits is that it's responsive, which means that it adapts its layout for the viewing area that allows it to resize gracefully down for mobile devices. Using some of its CSS3 and HTML5 features were great too, and just being able to do things like select fonts for the site was a new and indecisive experience. Previously web designers were limited a few web-safe font families like Arial etc, but now being able to use fonts from repositories like Google Web Fonts is really fantastic.
I've built some cool stuff into it myself too: I gathered a collection of about 10 great backgrounds, and I've programmed the site to randomly use one for each page impression. It means that each time you go onto a new page you should get a different background.
A lot of these great new design features have come from sacrificing old browser compatibility. Thankfully, the main impediment of Internet Explorer 6 has been removed, as nearly everybody has ditched it as their lowest-common-denominator browser. This theme itself should be compatible with all the current major browsers: IE8+, Firefox 2+, Safari 4+, and Opera and Chrome.
Overall, it's good to look at the site now without thinking of how young I was when I did that old design, how long ago that was, and consequently and how old I am now!
Opinions, feedback, and bug reports are more than welcome in the comments :D.