The most important WordPress command

In my previous post on musical notation I spoke of the importance of open data formats, “While most folks in the open-source arena think mainly about the code, it’s also important that the data be open.” This is especially so when the data is your writing. It’s your work. You own it. Yet sometimes you don’t.

I’ve been a big fan of plain old HTML for a number of years. I write my WordPress posts using it, and try to use it whenever I can. It’s the most portable format in the web world — any browser can display it and as best as I can tell every computer has a browser these days. I’ll be writing more about HTML in future posts.

That’s why I avoid Microsoft Office whenever I can. If I create a document using Office, then you have to have a copy of Office to read it. From my fingers to your eyes, all my work — yet Microsoft manages to insert itself in the middle and collect a tax. It’s a hefty tax, and accounts for most of Microsoft’s profits.

This is also why you’ll find Bob Sutor and others writing so much about open document formats. See for example, I’m a document guy, and all his other writings on Open-Document-Format (ODF), Sutor Blogs on “ODF”. and Bob’s del.icio.us ODF tags.

That’s one of the reasons I so admire WordPress.com. Not only is the code open-source but the folks at WordPress support open data also.

I say all this as a reminder that perhaps the most important WordPress command is “export.” More precisely, if you go to your WordPress Dashboard and select “Manage” you will see a tab “Export.” There you will instructions on how to download all your blog posts, including comments, in a single file in XML format.

XML format is an open-standard. You’ll be able to read that format years or decades from now. Most importantly, if you periodically export your blog, you will have on hand your own copy of your work. If WordPress goes bust tomorrow, you won’t have to worry. You won’t lose your work. You aren’t locked into a proprietary format.

So you can be in the export/import business. Or at least the export business.

Go ahead, export your blog. You’ll feel better for doing so.

It will confirm your trust in the good folks at WordPress.com.

Perhaps you’ll even write a post reminding others of their good work — as I have just done.

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