As the web has matured, the need to migrate data from one system to another has become more obvious. You may be on your second or third website, and familiar with the pain of transferring content from the old to the new. Perhaps you cut and pasted page content from a Word document into a CMS editor? For sites with substantial content, some sort of automated data migration is essential to reduce the resources required to move to a new system.
Data migration can often be achieved by exporting the content from the old system as a CSV (comma separated values) file which can then be imported into the new. This process can vastly reduce the man-hours required to transfer site content, although care must be taken to transfer meta data such as categories, tags, post dates accurately. There may also be differences in data format between the 2 systems, for example dates may be stored in a different format, or text encoding may be different.
There are often plugins or modules available to help get data in or out of a CMS, and these can be very useful. Sometimes it is simplest to export directly from the database itself, particularly when retrieving meta data like content categories.
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