Radio UserLand Kick Start: Backing Up Data

This is part of Chapter 9 of the book Radio UserLand Kick Start by Rogers Cadenhead, published by Sams Publishing

Backing Up a Weblog

The biggest challenge in backing up Radio is knowing what you need to save. A Radio weblog consists of several kinds of files:

  • Text and OPML files that are rendered as Web pages as they are upstreamed to a Web server. These files are stored in the www folder and its subfolders.

  • Files that are published without modification when they are upstreamed to a server. These files are in subfolders of the www folder that have been set up for this purpose, such as the www\gems folder.

  • Database files, including the main database Radio.root and other databases in Radio's Tools and Data Files folders.

  • XML files containing backups of all weblog entries, stories, templates, and preferences. These files are saved in the www\backups folder.

  • Web pages containing weblog entries, weblog archives, and articles. These files are created on the Web server when text and OPML files are rendered as they are upstreamed to the server.

One of the most common misconceptions about Radio, if help requests on the customer support discussion board are any indication, is that a weblog can be restored using its Web pages. New users often believe those pages are all they need if a hard drive failure or another problem knocks out the Radio UserLand folder or an entire hard drive.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true: the only files that aren't useful for backup purposes are the rendered Web pages.

In order to publish a weblog, Radio requires all of the files in the www folder, the main database Radio.root, and three databases in the Data Files folder: aggregatorData.root, weblogData.root, and weblogsComData.root.

The Radio.root file is the primary object database and is the software's most important component. It contains all of the scripts and data required to run Radio, scripts added by tools that enhance the software, and configuration data specific to your installation (for instance, the weblog ID number, user passwords, and preferences).

Although you can reinstall Radio to get a new copy of Radio.root and bring it up to date, all of your configuration data and tool scripts would be lost.

The www folder and its subfolders contain all of the source material for the published Web site aside from weblog entries, categories, and preferences that are stored in database files. The folders hold articles, preferences in #prefs.txt files, and upstreaming files called #upstream.xml.

Three databases in the Data Files folder should always be backed up:

  • The aggregatorData.root database holds RSS subscriptions, preferences, and archived news items.

  • The weblogData.root database contains all weblog entries, categories, and preferences.

  • The weblogsComData.root database stores Weblogs.Com favorites and preferences.

The Tools folder contains tools, which are databases with scripts and data that enhance Radio's capabilities. The software comes with four tools: manilaBloggerBridge.root, myPictures.root, staticSites.root, and whois.root.

If you have installed any tools (simply by saving them in this folder) or used the ones that come with Radio, the files in this folder should be included in a backup.

Tools also use the Data Files folder to store user data and preferences, so any other databases present in that folder should be saved.

A few other folders can contain files that require backup: New themes you have created in the Themes folder and scripts you have saved in the Macros and Web Services folders.

The easiest way to back up all of these files is to save the entire Radio UserLand folder. This can be time-consuming and cumbersome -- it could be 100MB or more in size -- and includes a lot of files that you can restore simply by reinstalling Radio.

However, if you have enough space on your backup drive or other storage media, reinstalling the entire folder is all that's required to restore the software.

Note: When Radio is installed, the location of the Radio UserLand folder is stored internally in Radio.root. For this reason, when restoring the software or moving it to a new computer, the same folder location should be used.

Before backing up Radio, the software must be shut down so that all of its open database files are closed correctly.

Depending on the speed of your computer, it can take 3-5 minutes for the software to shut down completely. Radio needs this time to save recent database changes in all of the open databases.

To restore the site completely from a backup or put it on a new computer, follow these steps:

  1. If you still have a Radio UserLand folder on the computer, save a backup copy of it somewhere else and delete the original folder.

  2. Download a new copy of Radio from the Radio UserLand Web site.

  3. Install the software in the same location as before (Windows: Program Files\Radio UserLand; Mac OS X: /Applications/Radio UserLand; Mac Classic: :Applications (Mac OS 9):Radio UserLand).

    Do not launch it yet.

  4. Copy the backup files, saving them in the same locations as before and overwriting the existing files of the same name.

  5. Start Radio.

    Everything should be restored. When you view the desktop home page, the most recent entries should be listed. Before publishing a new entry, make sure everything is in order. Browse the desktop site for stories, theme templates, navigator links, and other components of your site.

    Chapter 9:

    1. Introduction
    2. Running the Radio Application
    3. Backing Up a Weblog
    4. Restoring a Weblog from an XML Backup
    5. Summary

    Radio UserLand Kick Start home page