Moving from LiveJournal to Frog with livefrog

May 29, 2013
Updated: March 31, 2017

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.”
―Carl Sagan

There are times when you want more control over your content. There are also times when you don’t want another platform to dictate what goes in or out. Issues like censorship and politics, can easily creep up on a blogging platform. I had specific cases wherein I needed to convert LiveJournal articles to another platform. There are tools that does this, however, I found none, so far, that translate to Frog files. This is my feeble attempt to achieve that goal.

Table of contents

Overview

livefrog is a utility written in Racket, used to migrate LiveJournal posts to Frog, a blogging platform written in Racket, too. It uses the files dumped by either ljdump or ljmigrate.

Installation

To be able to execute the runtimes, we need to install Racket, first:

Nix:

nix-env -i racket

APT:

sudo apt-get install -y racket

After installation, verify that you have Racket:

racket --version

If you see a version string, good. Next, let’s install livefrog. It is available via Racket’s Planet2, Racket’s package repository:

$ raco pkg install livefrog

If that doesn’t work, you can alternatively install livefrog by fetching its dependencies directly from GitHub:

$ git clone https://github.com/greghendershott/frog.git
$ git clone https://github.com/jbclements/sxml.git
$ git clone https://github.com/ebzzry/livefrog.git
$ raco pkg install frog/ sxml/ livefrog/

The trailing slashes are important, to tell raco that you are installing from local directories. Without it, it will try to fetch the sources from the internet.

Usage

This sections contains instructions for creating files suitable for use with Frog.

Basics

To create a Markdown file from the file entry.xml

$ raco livefrog -m entry.xml

That, however, becomes cumbersome if you’re going to manage more than a hundred entries. To automatically “pick up” the files created by ljdump or ljmigrate, and convert them to Markdown.

$ raco livefrog -am

Bear in mind, though, that ljdump and ljmigrate differ on how the trees for the data are created. ljdump has the following tree format, where username is your LiveJournal account name:

ljdump/
  build
  ChangeLog
  convertdump.py
  username/
    L-1
    L-2
    C-2
    L-3
    ...
  ljdump.config
  ljdump.config.sample
  ljdump-gui.py
  ljdump.py*
  README.txt
  TODO

ljmigrate, on the other hand, uses a different format:

ljmigrate/
  LICENSE.text
  ljmigrate.cfg
  ljmigrate.cfg.sample
  ljmigrate.py*
  README.md
  README_windows.txt
  TODO
  www.livejournal.com/
    username/
      entry00001/
        entry.xml
      entry00002/
        entry.xml
        comment.xml
      html/
      metadata/
      userpics/

After creating the Markdown Frog source files, you may now copy them to your Frog source directory, designated at _src/posts/

Comments

Frog, by default, uses Disqus to handle the comments. To import comments to this platform, you need to generate an XML file that must adhere to Disqus’s comment import rules.

To create a file, named comments.xml with foo.bar.com as the root site:

$ raco livefrog -s foo.bar.com -c comments.xml

This will be used with https://import.disqus.com.

Updating

If you installed livefrog using Planet2, you can update it by running:

$ raco pkg update livefrog

However, if you used the latter method, you may update it by fetching the updates, uninstalling livefrog, then installing it again:

$ cd livefrog
$ git pull origin master
$ cd ..
$ raco pkg remove livefrog
$ raco pkg install livefrog/

Miscellany

To reduce typing, you may create an alias to raco livefrog in your shell.

Sh-like shells:

$ echo 'alias livefrog="raco livefrog"' >> ~/.bashrc

Csh-like shells:

$ echo 'alias livefrog raco livefrog' >> ~/.cshrc

Replace .bashrc and .cshrc, with the appropriate init file for your shell.

The sources, along with additional information, are located here. If you know a bit of Racket, fork it!