Migrating from Medium to Blogdown

After struggling for a while, I decided to move from Medium and switch to blogdown. While Medium is a beautiful platform for blogging, its philosophy seems to fit less well when there are more than articles to host.

I came to realize that my expectation for a blog is not only to keep notes, but also to demonstrate projects and provide a brief biography. In short, I wanted a website instead of a blog, and blogdown seems to provide an appropriate amount of versatility.

Besides, R is one of my favorite work horses, and many of my articles are naturally about it. This makes blogdown even more attractive for me because now my small experiments can be in exactly the same format as my blog entry: R Markdown.

Medium provides a nice downloading service, which gives you all your posts in html. To convert them to markdown, I used this shell script:

#!/bin/bash
for i in *.html
do
  pandoc -f html -t gfm ${i} |\
  sed -e 's/<.span>//g' |\
  sed -e 's/<span.*>//g' |\
  sed -e 's/^```.*/```/g' > "${i}.md"
done

pandoc shold take care of most of the conversion here, and what were left include:

  1. Bullet lists in Medium seems to be formatted in a markdown incompatible way, leaving <span id = ...> and </span> flanking each item.
  2. The code fences (```) are followed by curly-bracket-flanked characters.

The shell script removes the <span></span> and leaves only the code fences but eliminates anything after it.

In my case, the only thing I have to do is to replace header and footer from Medium manually to make it fit into a blogdown site. This is also somewhat tedious, but I don’t have that many posts now so I did not take the time to automate that part too.

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Yen-Chung Chen
PhD Student

Yen is a graduate student interested in developmental biology, neurobiology and bioinformatics.

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