Categorized | News, Open Source, PHP

PHPkitchen Saved by Serendipity

Posted on 21 March 2005 by Demian Turner

I’ve known about Serendipity for a while, just never had a chance to get around to trying it. What a fantastic piece of software, not only as a blog but as something that excels in many areas – templating, coding style, plugin integration, documentation, ease of installation to name a few. What a contrast – after spending the last few months fixing really low quality but ‘popular’ PHP apps, I have to say Serendipity really shines.

In the last few weeks, I got stuck between a rock and a hard place – the Seagull project now relies on some features that can only be implemented with PEAR_Server, a new PEAR package that is PHP5 only, and I was unable to switch as my existing blog was running on Geeklog, something I chose 5 years ago when PHPkitchen started, which to be fair, has been fine until now, but that does not support PHP5 in any shape, way or form.

I searched the web high and low for Geeklog converters, nothing of any note to be found, and then just started experimenting with Serendipity by fluke, after being left with rather a bad taste in my mouth having gone through the source for the trendy WordPress package.

Scanning through the mess of options I discovered the ‘Import Data’ section, and to my amazement, ‘Geeklog 1.3.11’ was an option. Even though I was running 1.3.7sr4, I thought I’d give it a whirl. Things hummed, purred, some heavy data munching was clearly going on behind the scenes. Then lo and behold, about 20 seconds later, the whole whack of 5 years worth of users, stories and comments had been flawlessly imported into Serendipity! I don’t need to describe my astonishment at the event, or the fact my socks were blown off clean across the room – this kind of feat was unheard of in PHP circles, I’d just had the Geeklog 1.3.7 to 1.3.11 upgrade script fail on me and even the latest fresh install came nowhere near to running on PHP5. What a pleasant surprise – my faith is fully restored in the capacity for PHP excellence, and PHPkitchen’s 742 users will be glad to know all 668 entries spanning the last 5 years have been flawlessly imported, including all 341 comments.

Hats off to Serendipity!

As a side note, the small downside to the changeover is none of PHPkitchen’s google indexed links will now work, and things like polls don’t seem to be implemented yet in Serendipity – but I hope readers find the new format less cluttered, easier to read, and more importantly, more fun to interact with.

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10 Comments For This Post

  1. Daynah Says:

    I’ll have to try out this software sometime. 🙂 But for now, I’ll stick with geeklog and wordpress. ^_^ Does Serendipity have a link converter? I’ve been using geeklog as a place to bookmark all of my links. heh

  2. Demian Turner Says:

    Hiya Dayna – long time no hear, yeah, I couldn’t recommend Serendipity more, only slight drawback is the page execution seems to be a bit expensive, I might setup a bytecode cache. Regarding link conversion, it doesn’t handle this directly, but if you look at the conversion script it’s really clean and straightforward, no probs to extend.

    But so far I haven’t found plugins for link manager, or the equivalent of a PHP block, in the case of the latter I think it’s just a question of implementing your own plugin everytime you want some additional php functionality.

    Regarding bookmarks – why not try (not sure if the dots are in the right place).

    For conversion, setup a new install of Serendipity locally then point it at your live db, you’ll be amazed how smooth the process is.

  3. Garvin Says:

    Demian: Definitely you should install a bytecode cache like APC or eAccellerator. They vastly improve s9y’s performance by about 20-30% (that’s my figures).

    In our additional_plugins repository there are some link manager plugins (also for, you might want to give them a try. I don’t use them, though, and have no experience with them.

    On a totally unrelated sidenote: Thanks a lot for your praise. As a developer of Serendipity I really appreciate that. In the end, feedback like yours is what keeps us going! 🙂

  4. superBlog Says:

    …oder auch nicht? Wenn ich Feedbacks wie dieses lese, freue ich mich riesig. Ein Benutzer der von Geeklog nach Serendipity migriert ist, bringt seine positive Erfahrung zum Ausdruck. Und eigentlich genau wegen solchen Feedbacks liebe ich OpenSource: Man

  5. Demian Turner Says:

    hiya Garvin – eAccelerator has good reviews for PHP5, will give it a try as soon as I get a chance – so far the machine is handling around 2700 kitchen sessions/day no probs, along with several other sites. Thanks for the link mgr heads up, hopefully Daynah is still following this thread. You guys have done great work with this software, it really is a pleasure to work with code that reflects PHP best practices, it seems to be the exception rather than the rule 😉

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Poll plugin for s9y:

    The configuration is a bit unfriendly, but it’s functional.

  7. Karen Says:

    I selected Serendipity for my blog based on your recommendation. I’d like to learn PHP and having a good clean coding style is important for a beginner. My first entry is a quote of your post above. I was almost ready to go with WordPress but I know it’s the b2 code underneath and it’s never really been cleaned up. Thank you for the heads up!

  8. InTooIt Says:

    I started my search for a php blog on Looking through the CMS – Blogs category it appeared to me to be a no brainer. The choice would have to be WordPress. I went to Google and did a search on WordPress to see what I might find about Wo

  9. Tim Says:

    I know that traditionally coders are better at writing code than English but please…

    It’s “LO and behold”.

    In the OED: (I’ve used asterisks for bold as I don’t know what the HTML tag support for WordPress is like yet)

    “*Lo . exclamation* archaic used to draw attention to an interesting event
    – PHRASES *lo and behold* used to present a new scene or situation.
    – ORIGIN natural exclamation: first recorded in Old English”

    It’s generally used ironically these days. Unfortunately – like a lot of other turns of phrase – (Yes that’s ‘turns’ not ‘terms’ – the irony of that particular turn of phrase being corrupted most of all isn’t lost on me

    So why is this important? Because some Bloggers are just diarists and others are Journalists and your site falls into the latter category. Journalists should have higher standard of English (although 90% of paper publications nowadays go a long way to proving that they don’t) or whatever other human language they communicate in.

    Also I’m fed up with programmers being stereotyped as being bad at English and accepting that stereotype. Is it only me who finds it rather bizarre that the same people who will get nitpicky about proper coding procedure and semantics seem to simultaneously not care about the semantics of the language that they use every day?

    I hope you take this well and, if you want to brush up on the ‘coding rules’ for English then “Fowlers Modern English Usage” is a good start.

  10. Demian Turner Says:

    Hi Tim

    Many thanks for the correction, I think I am aware of the difference between lo and low, but typing quickly, I got it wrong here, now corrected. Thanks all the same for the detailed explanation.

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