Moving From Posterous to Github Pages

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

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:

# => authenticated user's info, including ID
# => sites of user; figure out site_id
# => 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('./posts.json')) do |j|
  d = DateTime.parse(j['display_date'])
  filename = "./md/" + d.strftime('%Y-%m-%d') + "-" + j['slug'] + ".markdown"
  file =, "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"

In a moment, I had all my posts converted.

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