The Holocaust Historiography Project

What’s New with the HHP

Recent improvements

Sunday, April 09, 2017

The transition from Movable Type to WordPress was not as bad as it could have been, but the devil is in the details. It was the details that took awhile to get ironed out.

For the longest time, the Clippings section (formerly generated by Movable Type — now by WordPress) was in a sub-directory of the main site. This was unwieldy from the beginning, and every attempt to streamline various aspects failed to provide a satisfactory outcome.

Eventually, we had to sacrifice the site-wide search that this arrangement afforded visitors, moving the Clippings section off to its own domain (.org instead of .com). This in turn required a bunch of URL jiggling, but now that it is done has become a much better way of managing all the assets ... both static and dynamic.

Of course, one of the main issues with any WordPress site is the speed at which the server dishes out pages to visitors. Yeah, we tried all the big-name caching programs — but without success (and they can be a pain just to set up). We tried paying more for hosting, but saw no improvement in terms of site speed.

Finally, we gave Digital Ocean a shot. Whoa! Talk about speed, and when was the last time the least expensive option turned out to be clearly superior to the much more expensive alternatives? The Clippings section seems to load more quickly off of Digital Ocean than any of our sites on WP Engine, and WP Engine is a great managed WordPress hosting system.

We then embellished WordPress with Autoptimize, Cloudflare, Jetpack, and Simple Cache, and for a couple bucks a month we have a fast, reliable, secure WordPress installation. Saints be praised!

Recently we upgraded to HTTPS secure connections thanks to Let’s Encrypt and Server Pilot. We might have lost a couple milliseconds in response time to HTTPS, but nothing made-man is without compromise, and security is better than wishful thinking, right?

On the static side, we have revamped the war crimes trials documentation extensively. There is more work to be done there, but it is already much more useable than it was.

We also added a lot of material that was generated by the late William Lindsey. His headlines from The New York Times are a great way of stepping back into that time period.

There are also a couple of new videos, including two by Mark Dice.

We have moved a few files to normalize the internal structure of the site, meaning visitors from search engines may wind up in a dead end once in awhile, but the pages are all still there. With the site structure normalized, we were better able to implement breadcrumb navigation.

Finally, we have even found the time to add a few important items to the Clippings section — some old and some new.

Onward and upward!


The big switch ...

Friday, February 28, 2014

... from Movable Type to WordPress.

The spine of the Holocaust Historiography Project site consists of "static" HTML files, which are maintained by hand.

However, there is also the large and growing "Clippings" section, which until today was handled by Movable Type. Movable Type is a "blogging" platform that -- when set up correctly -- combines the best of a dynamic site with the best of a static site.

Unfortunately, a couple of years ago Movable Type discontinued its free version, and for a modest site such as ours the price of admission to the paid version was out of the question.

This lack of a free ("community") version of Movable Type left us high and dry. Without a continuing stream of updates, we were at risk of security holes in the older version we were using. However, WordPress at that time did not accept entry dates prior to 1970, due to its reliance on the UNIX date scheme.

As luck would have it, though, the current version of WordPress contains a built-in work-around for the UNIX date limitation. This meant that, with a bit of work converting items from Movable Type to WordPress, we could finally transition to a modern blogging platform.

There are still some rough edges, but most of the content is still there. Now we just have to fix the broken links, massage the formatting, and generally integrate the new Clippings section with the old static pages.


Video section now done

Friday, October 25, 2013

Each of the pages / files in the Video section should now be updated with the new format.

Also, videos are no longer in Flash format, in favor of MP4 files. With the newly implemented JW Player, this should allow any visitor to view the video files on any device. Verified to work on desktop Macintoshes running OS X, as well as iPhone and iPad. If you have a problem viewing the videos, let me know.


Still under construction

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yep, just like the folks doing the website for, we've had plenty of time to work on everything, and yet there are still a lot of rough edges. Maybe if we'd had a $600+ million budget, we'd be almost done.

It's taking so long that Bootstrap 3 is taking the place of Bootstrap 2. Video is being converted over to JW Player, which is not only easy to use but provides responsive video sizes, the perfect complement to Bootstrap's responsive features.

Meanwhile, as we're slogging along in the trenches just to get the old stuff to look better (forget about new stuff ... with the possible exception of Mark Dice's great video on the Holocaust celebration petition), Bradley Smith over at CODOH is celebrating the publication of the 200th edition of his Smith's Report. Wow.

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Construction zone

Monday, November 12, 2012

Done a bunch of work the last couple of days cleaning up stuff that probably no one else cares about, doing a bit of reformatting, etc. The long-term goal is to migrate to HTML5 and Twitter Bootstrap as a framework, but with thousands and thousands of files, it's a tough slog. The most obvious changes along these lines are the sans-serif typeface, new table formatting, new formatting for quotes, cool gray gradients on the jump menus, etc.

Speaking of lots of files, the entries from the Iran Holocaust cartoon contest are all now on one page, rather than being spread out over a couple dozen. There are still changes to be made, but they're relatively minor, and in the meantime access to the cartoons themselves is much improved.

Another thing that's (mostly) fixed now is our version of Richard Harwood's Did Six Million Really Die? Somewhere along the line, it got pretty badly mangled, but all the missing text is now back, along with a new piece at the end about Harwood himself that apparently never made it to the site in the first place. Still have to designate pages and paginate it so it's not all in one file. See Der Giftpilz for an example of the direction we're taking.


Viewer mail

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Over the years we've received an interesting assortment of e-mail messages, so why not put them online? That's just what we've done. You can read the results here. (Warning: Some of these messages are R rated for bad language.) Along the way, we made some other site updates that should help to keep the site running smoothly for the foreseeable future.

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Sarah Silverman on the Holocaust

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

We've posted a video of Jewish comedienne Sarah Silverman's unusual take on the Holocaust.



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