5342 posts in 149 months

If you have been following this blog over the past year, you may well be aware that I have spent much of the year equivocating over whether or not to pull the plug on Pulpmovies.com.

The equivocation has come to an end and now the deed is done.

The main cause of my hesitating over this is sheer inertia. I launched the site in June 2000 (after some playing around with the free homepage providers of the time – remember Angelfire?) for a couple of reasons. One of these was that I wanted an excuse to teach myself some HTML. Another was that I was single, living in Amsterdam, and watching a lot of cinematic oddities which I really was far too keen to talk about. The result was an erratically maintained site that grew, started to receive review submissions, developed and then lost a small community, and finally started to become something of a chore.

Time marches on, circumstances change, priorities change and interests change and over the past couple of years I have found myself increasingly disinclined to spend my evenings sitting through yet another zombie film. Exploitation films can be fun but, like fast food, are best enjoyed infrequently and, quite honestly, I need a break.

I was intending to just put the site on hiatus but after some minor credit card shenanigans I was left with the choice of using PayPal or closing down the site. So I have spent a bit of time extracting my original content (I don’t really want to hang on to an archive of press releases) and downloading the image files, and now the plug has been pulled.

All that remains is for me to remove some links from my About page (and reword any references to Pulpmovies into the past tense) and then go delete some no longer maintained social media accounts.

But first, I have some bedtime stories to read.

The Pulp Zombie Apocalypse

Yes, I Know. But with the implementation of the EU’s well-meaning but technically illiterate e-Privacy Directive I thought I’d best make sure that both my sites were cookie compliance. As ever, when using WordPress, there’s a plugin for that.

On this site, where I’ve learned from the various mistakes I’ve made with WordPress theme hacking, everything went smoothly. Over on Pulpmovies, not so much. I have no doubt that the problems I encountered were entirely down to the way that I had implemented changes to the Pulpmovies theme but a theme meltdown is a theme meltdown regardless of the cause.

My first thought was to try and fix the theme. My second thought was to remind myself that I had been getting a little bored of the old look. And my third thought was a memory of the Zombie Apocalypse theme that I very nearly used for this site.

So Pulpmovies has a bloody new look and a couple of new posts.

I am glad that I took a break from the site – I needed it – and I don’t intend on keeping Pulpmovies updated with the same frequency that I was doing. But the site is now off life support and, when I hear about new and particularly interesting independent films, updates will happen.

Pulling plugs

It was very nearly 12 years ago that I splashed out for my first domain and web hosting account, and have been maintaining Pulpmovies.com ever since. Originally the site was hand carved (badly) from raw HTML. Then I became interested in managing the site dynamically and got as far as learning PHP and writing half a content management system before switching to WordPress (initially as several instances tied together with a bit of SQL and, finally, as a single WordPress instance.

The site itself has given me the opportunity, initially, to talk about the films I was seeing when I first moved to Amsterdam. More recently, it has provided me with access to films that I would otherwise not known about, some of which have been superb.

Maintaining Pulpmovies has been both interesting and enjoyable and I have gotten a lot out of it. But priorities change and I am increasingly finding that I no longer have the time to devote to watching and talking about films. It is with some regret, therefore, that I shall be slowly starting to pull the plug on the site in the near future.

I have a few unwatched and unreviewed DVDs that I want to get through over the next couple of months. After that, I shall be putting Pulpmovies on hiatus.

This post, however, is to remind myself to stick to this plan when I next receive an email about some really interesting sounding film that someone has just completed.

Pulpmovies upgrade and merging WordPress blogs. Some final thoughts

A month after deciding to merge all of the sections of Pulpmovies onto a single platform, the deed is done. Much of it went pretty well although I did encounter some glitches along the way.

The parts of the process that relied on WordPress functionality (exporting the blogs and importing them into the new site) went remarkably well and, by reorganising the categories beforehand I had very little to do once everything was merged.

It did take significantly longer than expected for two reasons. Firstly, I hadn’t fully taken account of the sheer number of files that needed to be deleted. More significant, however, was that my hosting provider enforces a maximum upload size of 8MB which I could find no way around. Since several of the exported blogs came in at a lot bigger than this, I had to chop them up in order to upload them. Cutting the files down to size wasn’t difficult, but Gedit was probably not the best tool to use in this instance.

One thing I did notice, however, is that the exported files include all comments – including those marked as spam. This undoubtedly is what sent some of the file sizes through the roof and, if I was ever to try something like this again, I think it would probably be wise to delete all the spam comments from the blog before exporting it.

But that’s for the future.

I went with an off-the-peg theme in the end although I have started tinkering with it and will need to make some more changes before I am completely happy. But for now, I shall have some dinner and treat myself to a well deserved beer.

The Upgrade is a Go

Today is the day that my much-planned upgrade of Pulpmovies is going ahead. It’s taken the best part of a month to get everything in place and now, as I type this, I’m watching the old version of the site being steadily trashed.

I started the process a bit later than intended and it looks like my downtime estimate was optimistic simply becasue of the sheer number of files to be deleted. I won’t have everything up by lunchtime, but nor have I encountered any problems… yet.

Let’s do this thing

I mentioned earlier that I was planning to merge the various blogs that make up the current Pulpmovies site and, as a first step and test of the process, I have now merged the (semi-hidden) personal blog from that site with this one. Successfully.

It turns out to be a remarkably easy process although there are a couple of steps that I took to make things easier.

Firstly, before I did anything, I recategorised the posts from the old blog so that they matched the structure of the new one. This seems to have worked and has saved me much tinkering in the new blog.

Secondly, the photos. I downloaded these to a local folder and then uploaded them to the new site, retaining ther folder structure. Which leads me to…

Thirdly, I used a find and replace on the export file to change the src attribute on the img tags so that all of the tags pointed to the correct place.

I still need to do a bit of tinkering but, as far as the essentials are concerned, everything is here and in place.

Now I just need to repeat the process for the rest of the site. Fun, fun, fun.

WordPress themes: Doing it right takes time

I mentioned earlier that some changes were on the way over at Pulpmovies. The first step was to build a new theme and this is what I have spent most of today playing around with.

I started with the Stardust theme being used here, changed the graphics somewhat, and added some additional code to cope with the Reviews metadata and I have finally reached a point where I am reasonably happy. I’m sure I will need to do a bit of tweaking but here’s a sneak peek at the upcoming new look for Pulpmovies.

This is what the main page will look like

This is a very stripped down review page, The important thing here is that the stars and information are included.

Bending WordPress or: An upcoming vanilla implementation of Pulpmovies

Over the past ten years, Pulpmovies has grown and changed several times. Originally, the site contained reviews for whatever I happened to be watching, all of which were hand-carved from raw HTML. As time progressed, I put together a rudimentary content management system for the site before abandoning this in favour of a WordPress driven solution. However, because of the organic way in which the site has grown, this has been implemented as multiple instances of WordPress strapped together with a bit of SQL. This approach works, but it has left me having to spend much more time keeping the software up to date than I would like. So it’s time for a change.

I am planning to convert the site so that it runs on a single instance of WordPress. I did take a look around to see what other content management systems were out there but I’m not really doing enough with the site to justify a bigger or more complex solution.

I have a pretty clear idea of how I want the site to look, although I still need to build a theme that will achieve this.

The WordPress database itself looks pretty simple, so merging the instances into a single one should be pretty straightforward. This is, however, somthing that will need a fair bit of testing to make sure that everything works.

And then I will need to decide what to do about the forum…

Of course, doing all this will need to be fitted in with everything else I get up to in my own time so don’t expect any sudden changes. But it won’t be too long before Pulpmovies is running on a vanilla implementation of WordPress, and I will be able to spend a lot less time upgrading software and blacklisting spammers.

The Varga girls are staying, though.