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!



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