Stage 2 of my personal Own Your Words quest has been completed. 75 articles I wrote for the Delphi Compiler Core blog from 2003 to 2005 while at Borland are now republished here on my personal site. You can find them all in the Delphi Compiler Core category.
This archiving task was considerably more of a head scratcher than archiving my articles published on my Windows Live Quantum Mechanics blog on MSDN. With MSDN at least the articles were still available on the web server. With DCC, the servers are gone, the domains are gone, even Borland itself is no more.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover a few years ago that the Delphi Compiler Core blog and most of Borland’s BDN community site had been captured by “The Wayback Machine” Internet Archive project. At the time, retrieval time was horrific and very spotty, but the fact that the bear danced at all was remarkable. There was some hope that the blog content could be salvaged somehow.
The Wayback Machine has received a number of upgrades in recent years, and is now quite snappy for navigating web pages from a decade ago.
While surfing around in DCC posts on The Wayback Machine, I stumbled into a link or something that reminded me that I had originally used Blogger.com as my blog content editor. I would write articles using the Blogger.com web interface, then publish them to the DCC blog server using some form of web API.
On a lark, I went to blogger.com just to see if my old account was still active. Not only was it active, but thanks to Google’s acquisition and integration of blogger.com with Google services, I was able to log in with my Google credentials. Thank heaven for that! Do you remember your password for any web site you were using 10 years ago?
And there it was – nearly all of the DCC articles were still sitting there in my blogger.com account. I hustled over to my web server, installed a Blogger import plugin into my WordPress system, and had all the old articles copied over to my web server in a matter of minutes. Hazzah!
Ok, not so fast. The old articles needed massaging to clean up old horrific HTML (who wrote this stuff? oh, me) so that it would fit and flow better in the new site. A few cross checks with The Wayback Machine confirmed that I didn’t write every article using blogger – about a dozen articles towards the end of the blog series were missing from the set imported from blogger.com.
I could manually cut & paste the content from The Wayback Machine archives into my own. But then again, there’s that RSS link on the blog menu. Did Wayback capture the RSS feed as well as the html? Click. Yes! Yes it did. Glory be. Scurry over to the web server and fire up the RSS importer. 10 most recent posts in the RSS feed dropped the 12 missing articles count to 2. Note to self: Find a way to make some sort of contribution to The Wayback Machine project. They’ve earned it!
I later discovered a few of the RSS imported articles needed to be recopied manually because the RSS only contained excerpts, not full content. I’ll never use excerpts in feeds ever again.
With these DCC articles on board my web site, I now have just short of 10 years of content under one roof. There are a few other odds and ends I’d like to reacquire and archive here, but that’s a project for another day.
Ravages of Time
I’ll close with the same disclaimer as before: these Delphi Compiler Core articles may contain links to servers that no longer exist, and may contain information that is no longer relevant. I’m not going to fix or remove those links. When sifting through boxes of old family documents, do you expect to pick up the phone and call the number shown in the letterhead of a 40 year old letter? I think not. Just take these articles from years ago for what they are: breadcrumbs through time.