Integrating External Content with WordPress

I’ve been developing for about 15 years, and although I’m not that prolific I’ve built up quite a lot of content.

I recently converted my blog from an old bespoke (= “custom”, for my American friends) solution to one based on WordPress. However, this created a problem, in that the WordPress model is to hold all content in the database, and that wasn’t the right model for me.

Firstly, I have a number of articles which are very long for a blog post, and I had no interest in restructuring them. I also didn’t want to break external links to the existing articles.

Next, I decided that I wanted the freedom to continue to write in that style. Some of my writing takes several weeks, and it works for me to draft it as separate HTML pages. I also sometimes want to include active content or multiple images, and I don’t want to create a large and unwieldy WordPress database full of such stuff.

Finally, my online photo galleries are managed and generated using Jalbum, and I wanted to find a way of neatly integrating single images into my blog, complete with the watermarks and metadata extraction which Jalbum manages so well, without duplicating that functionality in WordPress.

This is probably typical of many older web sites, but WordPress doesn’t really embrace the integration of external content. This article describes how I solved this problem, and a WordPress plugin I have developed to make my solution reusable.

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