Nine years ago I made my blogging debut with a post titled Games that don't exist. I'd been on the web since 1993 (really!) but 2008 was my first venture into blogging -- which I guess I'd define as a semiregular series of nonfiction essays with an RSS feed.
The Gameshelf was a group blog run by my friend Jmac. I chose to participate because, well, I wasn't sure I'd be writing enough to sustain a blog on my own. Indeed, I never hit a daily or even weekly rhythm. But I got a couple of posts written each month -- which adds up. Over nine years I wrote 323 Gameshelf posts, documenting games I played, IF events I attended, and the entire development cycle of Hadean Lands.
But: everything shifts over time, and that includes the centers of gravity of web sites. Jmac moved his regular writing to a personal blog site. The Perl core of The Gameshelf (a Movable Type fork) rusted until it barely functioned. (That "323 posts" link above is supposed to let you browse all my Gameshelf posts, but it doesn't really.)
A few weeks ago, a routine Perl update broke the blog software completely. Fixing it was a one-line patch (thanks Jmac) but the writing on the wall had clearly acquired
So, behold my brand-new blog page! It now lives at blog.zarfhome.com.
I'm using blogger.com, which is, yes, part of the Google-monster. But it works, it's free, I got the layout the way I want, and I don't have to worry about patching security holes. And there is an RSS feed.
I have imported all 323 of my Gameshelf posts. (Here's that first one from 2008.) You'll note that this post appears on both blogs, but it will be my last Gameshelf contribution. From now on, blog.zarfhome.com for everything.
(Except that I sometimes post on the IFTF blog, and the Boston IF meetup page is more or less a blog, and... well, life isn't simple.)
I expect I'll continue tuning the layout. There are a few remaining quirks:
Blogger's web import feature doesn't work (at least, it didn't work for me). I imported the old posts using Blogger's API.
Blogger doesn't understand Markdown. O woe! My importer tool did Markdown translation, but the resulting HTML is slightly munged. So the old posts may have slightly broken formatting.
All the images in the imported posts, and the cross-links to other posts, still point to The Gameshelf. The Gameshelf site will stay online for the foreseeable future, so that's okay.
I imported the blog comments too, but they appear as part of the post body. (For example, this recent post.) So the old posts all say "no comments" even though the comments are really preserved. (The Blogger API includes a verb for "fetch comments" but not "insert new comment". Why not? Who the heck knows.)
The search tool doesn't work. I think Google's crawler hasn't caught up with the imported posts yet. Hopefully that will fix itself.
For all anyone knows, Google will nuke Blogger next year. Or next week. (It's Google.) In that case I'll have to change platforms again. But I'll still host the site at blog.zarfhome.com, so no big deal, right?
Quirks aside, I am pleased with my new digs and so I bid The Gameshelf a fond and good-natured farewell. Posting will continue at the usual semiregular rate. See you all on the new domain.