Importing Movable Type Markdown into WordPress

Once again I’ve up and moved my whole little site here to a new platform — Wordpress 3, this time around, on top of Nginx + PHP-FPM + (obviously) MySQL on FreeBSD 8.1. I think I’m making a tradition of tearing down the site and rebuilding it from scratch once every, what, two years? Or maybe I’ll actually manage to keep it fresh this time around…


Anyway, I could ramble on forever about why I ditched Movable Type and went with friggin’ WordPress. (What kind of wannabe hipster web developer doesn’t roll his or her own Django / Rails / whatever blogging software? And PHP?! Son, I am disappoint.) But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about a minor detail of how I exported the old site from MT.

You see, Movable Type supports text entry in Markdown format. And it’s cool and groovy and way better than typing out HTML by hand, but the problem is that when you ask MT to export your site, it exports your Markdown posts as unprocessed Markdown, not as HTML. So when you then attempt to import this into a program that doesn’t understand Markdown (e.g., WordPress), you end up with something resembling an explosion in a punctuation factory.

But as usual, Perl to the rescue. Pipe your Movable Type export file through the following simple script (you may need to install Text::Markdown from CPAN or your friendly neighborhood package manager first):


# Process Movable Type export files
# containing Markdown posts into pure HTML.
# Mark Shroyer
# Mon Oct 11 01:37:52 EDT 2010

use warnings;
use strict;

use Text::Markdown qw(markdown);

while (<>) {
    print $_;
    if ( /^(?:EXTENDED )?BODY:$/ ) {
        my $source = '';
        while (<>) {
            last if ( /^-{5}$/ );
            $source .= $_;

        if ( $source =~ /^</ ) {
            # If body looks like it's already HTML, just echo it
            print $source;
        else {
            # Otherwise run it through the Markdown formatter
            print markdown($source);

That done, simply import the resulting file as usual with WordPress’s Movable Type and TypePad Importer.