If you’re in engineering management, there’s almost certainly a ticket lurking at the bottom of your team’s Trello/Jira/Pivotal board. The details of the specific tasks vary, and if you’re lucky they don’t include “migrate 45,751 posts from flat files and old JSPs to our current CMS” like mine did, but the general idea is the same: Clean Up Technical Debt.

So you’ll know how I’m feeling at this moment. My team and I worked until 3:30 am Friday running import scripts for those 45,751 posts on WIRED’s vast archive. Some of them were ancient web pages for which there is no longer an associated database; those needed to be scraped using a tool we called Cyphon. Others represented years of independently spun up WordPress installs that we left on the battlefield after our epic Pangea migration project. All of this older content has been patiently waiting 18 months to be rescued from archive.wired.com. We finally rolled out enough sexy features that we could get this work prioritized enough to complete.

I’ve never been so glad to be so tired.

It’s not just the immense satisfaction of finally having all of our content in one database (because, c’mon, that is a beautiful thing for the typical anal retentive engineer). No, this migration gives us so much more than that! Here are just a few of the problems we’re solving with this migration. Take this list and use it to sell upper management on why it’s worth cleaning up your own technical debt.

  • All content in one place means our search index will include All the Things!
  • Soon, author pages will comprehensively include a full listing of all WIRED articles.
  • Some WIRED content is worth resurfacing because it’s so damn good. (Stories like this and this and this, too!) Now, we won’t need to have some poor intern manually recreate those articles.
  • We’re looking forward to the sweet Google SEO juice we’ll get on the wired.com domain with the re-addition of45,751 posts.
  • We can finally shut down old servers, improving security, silencing errors, and saving money.
  • WIRED.com has been restored as a place for archeological web digs.
  • Ads and analytics serve properly and are unified under one domain for reporting.
  • Stories look much more beautiful and consistent in our current theme.
  • SEO is greatly improved. Schema markup is now included on all pages, and all pages now meet Google mobile-friendly criteria.
  • Old content receives big social improvements, including Facebook open graph tags and working social sharing links.
  • All pages are now responsive and look great across devices.
  • Old content gets the benefit of all of our performance improvements so pages load faster.

We’re still cleaning things up, but we’ve pushed the boulder up and over the hill, and from here on out it just gets easier. Now then, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to bed.

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Why WIRED.com Migrated (And Why Your Site Should Too)