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Migrating Legacy Typo 4.0.3 to Typo 5.3.X

Posted by Mike 09/07/2009 at 12:26AM

I completed the process of migrating this blog from Typo 4.0.3 to Typo 5.3.X. These are my notes on the process I undertook to complete the migration. I had self hosted the blog on a Linode slice and part of the migration was to switch the hosting to Dreamhost . I want to retain control of the Rails stack for the blog, but I no longer wanted to maintain the server and base application stack.

Source code

The source for the blog is actually from Frédéric de Villamil’s 5.3.X master Typo branch" at Github and if this isn’t necessary for your blog, you can skip past the git notes and install and maintain the source code in another prescribed manner.

Below are the steps to initialize a new git repository. Add in fdv’s master Typo branch as a remote repository. And finally, merge in fdv’s master branch. You would do so if you planned to frequently pull in the master changes to Typo as its being developed by the community, or if you had another remote branch you wanted to pull in changes from. Remember, at this point we are working locally.

mkdir mynewblog
cd mynewblog
git init
touch README
git add .
git commit -a -m 'start of my typo blog'
git remote add -f fdv git://
git checkout -b fdv/master
git pull fdv master
git checkout master
git merge fdv/master

Also, you’ll want to install the gems that Typo relies upon, and freeze in Rails 2.3.3

sudo rake gems:install
rake rails:freeze:edge RELEASE=2.3.3
git add vendor/rails
git commit -m 'freezing in Rails 2.3.3' vendor/rails

Finally, move the git repository you’ve just initialized to your preferred place to host your projects. Perhaps a private Github repository. I host some of my personal projects on a remote server and just pull from it over ssh.

Migating data

I dumped the production data from my old Typo 4.0.3 blog such that I could migrate it in my local environment.

mysqldump -u root --opt my_old_typo_db > /tmp/old.sql

I then scp’d the old data locally and imported it into a new database that was used for the local migration to Typo 5.3.X.

mysqladmin -u root create typo_development
scp mike@olderserver:/tmp/old.sql /tmp/
mysql -u create typo_development < ~/tmp/old.sql
cp config/database.yml.example config/database.yml
# edit database.yml with local settings
rake db:migrate

One small gotcha for me was that I was using the “recent comments” sidebar from Typo 4.0.3 and I had to manually remove it from the stored settings in the database via the mysql prompt. Use Rails dbconsole script to bring up a mysql console.

ruby script/dbconsole

Now delete the recent comments configuration.

delete from sidebars where type='RecentCommentsSidebar';

All of the data should be migrated correctly from 4.0.3 to 5.3.X at this point. Post a comment if you’ve encountered an issue doing your own migration.



Pink is punk, and I upgraded the Pink Theme to be Typo 5.3.X compatible. The Pink Theme had been orphaned after 4.0.3 so I had to make some code changes so it would operate in a Typo 5.3.X environment. This is the github project page for Pink

I then added Pink as a git submodule so its code would remain independent of my project, yet still be available when the app was deployed.

git submodule add themes/pink
git submodule update

See the Capistano notes below for additional information about git submodules and Capistrano


I’ve had good success with the Hoptoad exception notifier so I added it to my project as well.

ruby script/plugin install git://
# edit your config/initializers/hoptoad.rb settings
git add vendor/plugins/hoptoad_notifier/ config/initializers/hoptoad.rb
git commit -m 'adding hoptoad notifier and its initializer' vendor/plugins/hoptoad_notifier/ config/initializers/hoptoad.rb

I’m not sure if others are deploying plugins as submodules, but I prefer to freeze plugins into my Rails app.


I used the Deploying Rails On Dreamhost with Passenger Rails Tips article and Github’s Deploying with Capistrano article to guide my Capistrano setup. After doing a "capify ." to initialize Capistrano in the project, I added a couple of extra settings and tasks to config/deploy.rb that make the setup specifically tailored for Typo’s configuration on Dreamhost.

First, make Capistrano fetch all the submodules your project is dependent upon during deployment in config/deploy.rb

set :git_enable_submodules, 1

The tasks below are also required. The first is the common touch of the tmp/restart.txt file in the current directory that signals Passenger to reload the application. The second task does three things. It links database.yml from the shared directory to the current directory. The second links the shared files directory into the current directory. The public/files directory is where Typo saves any files that are saved as a part of its minimal content management system. Use this strategy so that the files themselves are not dependent upon deployment or stored in your source code repository. Last is something specific to my blog. I use Get Clicky to track visitors statistics. My blog is currently using the Pink theme and I didn’t want to make Pink dependent on my Get Clicky configuration. Therefore I just copy over a modified Pink layout with my Get Clicky settings whenever a new version of the site is deployed.

namespace :deploy do
  task :restart do
    run "touch #{current_path}/tmp/restart.txt" 

desc "link in shared database.yml, etc. with symbolic links"
task :link_in_shared_files do
  run "ln -s #{shared_path}/config/database.yml #{release_path}/config/database.yml"
  run "ln -s #{shared_path}/public/files #{release_path}/public/files"
  run "cp -f #{shared_path}/themes/pink/layouts/default.html.erb #{release_path}/themes/pink/layouts/"

after "deploy:update_code", "link_in_shared_files"

Notice that I made the link_in_shared_files task dependent to run after the the Capistrano standard deploy:update_code task has fired.


In the virtual host settings for my blog’s old location I promiscuously redirect each request exactly to the new location.

# redirect old apache server:
RedirectMatch permanent  ^(.*)$$1

These redirects are 301 permanent redirects so that Google and the other search engines will update their indexes permanently to the domain it now resides upon.


The End

So far I’m happy with this setup. For me, its easy to deploy and maintain. Please post any experiences you’ve had with Typo migrations or Typo hosting so that others might benefit from your experience as well.

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  1. Matijs van Zuijlen
    09/07/2009 at 10:46PM

    When initializing your repository, you can get basically the same result by doing:

    git clone -o fdv git:// mynewblog

    Seems simpler.

    Also, why do you freeze Rails and not just install the Rails 2.3.3 gem?

  2. Frederic de villamil
    09/07/2009 at 11:13PM

    just 2 things:
    1- pink theme is avaluable and up to date at Typogarden, so no need to update.
    2- recent comments plugin is also available on my github. So no need to remove it :-)

  3. monde
    09/08/2009 at 09:38AM

    @Matijs The problem with cloning fdv’s master in the way you describe is that it leaves fdv’s repository as the master of the local repository that has been created. I want the local repository to the master, and fdv’s repository to be a remote from which changes are pulled in from, or cherry picked from.

    @Frederic Thanks for the info about Typogarden

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