Ever since Posterous was acquired by Twitter, I’d been meaning to ditch the service for something better. While it was convenient to post by email and enjoyable to forget about hosting, I missed controlling the structure of my raw posts and the site’s design.

So when I discovered Octopress, I was quickly won over. Finally, a hacker’s workflow: compose post in Markdown, generate static content, push content to Github Pages. And since all posts are in Markdown, you truly have portable, human-readable content!

Once I had a repository on Github setup with my Octopress-powered blog, I needed to import posts from Posterous. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a straightforward process, but I decided to automate away the drudgery and share some code with you in the process.

After consulting Posterous’s API, I realized I only really needed my “site_id” to pull all my posts in a single JSON request. The following URLs were helpful for this:

# http://posterous.com/api/2/users/me => authenticated user's info, including ID
# http://posterous.com/api/2/sites?id=1021298 => sites of user; figure out site_id
# http://posterous.com/api/2/sites/2464344/posts => all of kilotau's posts in JSON; using site_id

After I had my posts downloaded in posts.json, I transformed each post to Markdown and manually formatted them for Octopress. I used the simple HTML2Markdown script and the following code:

# this uses ruby-1.9.3
require 'json'
require 'fileutils'
require './html2markdown.rb'
require 'date'

json = JSON.parse(File.read('./posts.json'))

json.map do |j|
  d = DateTime.parse(j['display_date'])
  filename = "./md/" + d.strftime('%Y-%m-%d') + "-" + j['slug'] + ".markdown"
  file = File.new(filename, "w")
  file.write "---\n"
  file.write "layout: post\n"
  file.write "title: " + "\"" + j['title'] + "\"" + "\n"
  file.write "date: " + j['display_date'] + "\n"
  file.write "comments: false\n"
  file.write "external-url:\n"
  file.write "categories:\n"
  file.write "---\n"
  file.write HTML2Markdown.new(j['body_cleaned'])

In a moment, I had all my posts converted.

Now that I have my past posts, it’s time to play with the design!