As you may have read in my post BlogBackupOnline: Great Idea but not reliable, I did some testing and had some big concerns about this product and the rave reviews it was getting from others.
After corresponding with Aaron from Techrigy and getting good and thorough answers from him, I feel a lot better about BlogBackupOnline. At the end of this post you will find the answers I received from Aaron regarding each item I noted in my previous post.
It is currently beta and acts like a beta release, in other words, it is quirky and has some bugs. But it is definitely far enough along to see that it is going to be very nice and that they are putting a lot of thought and effort into making it a good and stable product.
I got a little worked up mainly because it seemed that people and tech reviews were treating it like a finished product and when I tested it, it clearly was still in beta testing and was not as good (at this point) as they were leading people to believe.
But I am going to recommend that you take a look at it and see what it has and will do. It has some amazing features and is a very ambitious project, especially for being offered for free. Remember that it is still beta, but go get a feel for it and remember it because I think it will set the standard in blog backup sites before very long. I certainly look forward to when it out of beta and will definitely review it again then.
And Aaron very thoroughly addressed everything I had written in my email to Techrigy. I had said that I felt I received a ‘form letter’ reply, but after the weekend, Aaron wrote me a very good email addressing everything I’d found. So I will leave you with a copy of what he wrote so you can read the answers for yourself.
Email Response from Aaron of Techrigy:
I’ve just done some regression tests and put out a patch. I’ll try to address everything you’ve brought up.
1 The restoration process was incorrectly counting how many posts it had restored (effectively doubling it) which is why it was only restoring about 27 posts. It’s been fixed so it should properly restore 50 posts now.
2 When the restoration job stops after 50 posts, it was not properly writing a message into the log. I added a warning to the job log when someone attempts to restore more than 50 posts to blogger – “You attempting to restore more than 50 posts to Blogger. Only the first 50 posts will be restored. Successfully restored 50 blog posts.”
NOTE by me: no idea why the bottom pagination was problematic, but it works just fine now at the top of the list.
1 In reference to duplicate entries backup up with http://alongthepathto20.blogspot.com/. If you are using Feedburner combined with Blogger, the backup we collect has duplicate entries. Recently after acquiring Feedburner, Blogger started integrating Feedburner which has caused these hiccups. This problem occurs because we read an entry by screen scraping and get one permalink to the entry, then when we read the feed through feedburner, it’s has a different permalink (your feedburner entries go back through August 3rd which is why the duplicates go back to that date and stop). I’m working on a fix, but it’s not straight forward. To avoid the problem, you can disable the feedburner temporarily, but that not adequate -we’ll have to build a solution as time permits. For now you have duplicate entries – better to have 2 copies than to potential miss some content.
ANSWER – I’ve put this as a feature request to show how many pictures it’s backed up. If it doesn’t report comments or blogs found, that should mean it found zero. I’ll put a feature request as well to change this, since I can see how it would be confusing.
ANSWER – We are hoping to offer BlogBackupOnline for free as long as possible. I don’t foresee charging for it anytime soon. It is actually quite expensive to maintain for us, $698 per month hosting cost because it requires raid drives, tape backups, redundant network connections, class A hosting space, etc… in order to ensure the content is truly protected. If we did need to charge, we would likely charge $5-$10 per month. We also develop business products that have nothing to do with BlogBackupOnline. If those are successful, BlogBackupOnline should remain free indefinitely. Of course, many of the features you are request are slow to be implemented because we don’t charge for it which is a good point for offering a paid version.
3 it would be nice to be able to restore from and to a certain date, especially with the 50 post limitation in Blogger (and possibly in other blog engines)
ANSWER – great feature request. I’ll see if I can implement something like that.
4 it didn’t restore my tags/labels and I wonder if it would have if I was going blogger to blogger or any of the same type. (the answer was no after I tried it)
ANSWER – right now it doesn’t restore tags/labels (even from blogger to blogger). That’s been on the feature enhancement list for a while, so I hope to get to that soon.
ANSWER – yes, I agree this is not ideal. I’ll look at various enhancements to replace links to the old website with links to the new website. Probable won’t happen quickly given the complexity.
ANSWER – Your not the first person to encounter this problem. I made an adjustment to the pagination control. I hope that helps.
7 it is confusing on the restore screen when it shows nothing in the box on the ‘what entries do you want to restore’ screen. It seems like there is nothing to restore. I figured out that I needed to ‘load blog entries’ but it would be much less confusing if they loaded when I entered that screen.
ANSWER – Yes, I can understand the confusion. If you have a page with many entries, loading when the page opens can be a major head ache, which is why it doesn’t load upon opening the screen. I’ll take another look and determine a better/clearer way to handle.
8 on the ‘what entries do you want to restore’ screen, it would be useful if there is a limit on a blog engine as to how many posts can be restored each day, to state that on the page and to give an error if more than that number of posts were selected.
ANSWER – Great suggestions. I’ll put this on the short list – shouldn’t be to complicated to add but I couldn’t get to this weekend.
ANSWER – Yes, WordPress can import those. We are limited to using the APIs like Metaweblogs which doesn’t expose these capabilities. I’ll look at other features time permitting, but I’m afraid without major rework its still quite difficult. Perhaps WordPress 2.3 (just released) has some capabilities built into the API these days.
ANSWER – The export file is not designed to be imported into WordPress directly. Its XML, so anyone could write an XSLT to convert it into whatever format they needed. For now, its simply a backup copy for your own piece of mind. Worst case scenario you will always have the content that can be imported if need be. We are working on an import.
ANSWER – good suggestion. We should write comments as their own nodes. But we just havent gotten around to it yet.
ANSWER – Yes, absolutely. BlogBackupOnline is like a copier machine. I could take a Picasso down to Kinko’s and copy it and put it on my wall at home -but it doesn’t make it a Picasso 😉 We discourage this and respond promptly to any DCMA notices – but technically we can’t prevent it. It hasn’t been a problem so far and we hope it won’t.
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