How to backup a blog with IFTTT?

There is lots of talk on these forums about blogging platforms. After lots of research trying to find what fits my needs the best, I have settled on @nimblehost Armadillo. I have been using it for several months now and and quite pleased with MOST aspects of Armadillo.

For me, the most glaring problem is I have no backups. Although Armadillo has a built in backup feature, it does not work with many hosts including mine, which is ChillidogHosting. I have talked to both developers (Nimblest and Chillidog) and there are a few ways to do this with lots of jumping through hoops every time I post a new blog. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So, I have turned my attention to IFTTT (If This Then That) to see if I can automate backups somehow. My current thinking is that if I use a certain tag (#backup, for example) in Pocket (a save for later service), that will serve as a trigger to copy text for a blog page or make the blog page into a PDF. This text of PDF could then be sent to a folder on my Dropbox. I’m pretty sure this is doable. I just can seem to get it to work… yet.

Here are a few ways other IFTTT users are connecting Pocket and Dropbox:

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. :slight_smile:

@firedude2894 Okay, I know I may not be answering your real question, but here’s some things to consider …

  • it is very easy to backup and download the mySQL database that houses all your Armadillo post
  • it is pretty easy to store all your posts in another app. Personally I store all my posts for a particular website within Scrivener. (I do this since all the content for a website is stored in Scrivener.) The main caveat here is that I do all my writing in Markdown. So easy transfer from Scrivener to Armadillo. I don’t think it’s particularly important that you use Scrivener. For example, iA Writer, Byword, and Ulysses (just to name 3) are also very good Markdown editors.

And, as an aside, it is soooo much easier to do things with Markdown as opposed to the regular text stacks. Sometimes there’s a need to use a regular text stack, or one has no choice. But if your CSS is developed well for the key ingredients (paragraph text, headers, lists, blockquotes, and the such) then you are in great shape to use Markdown. An investment of 1-2 hours max to learn how to use it.

Finally, it would be sweet if Armadillo and ChilliDog played nice together. I’m not sure why they don’t: you probably know a lot more than me about this.

All great insights @Mathew. Thanks.

One of the first problems is finding the SQL database. I have asked this question of both developers and still don’t have a straight answer. If anyone can direct me to the location of Armadillo’s database, that would be helpful.

The reason that Armadillo and Chillidog won’t play nice together is security. Armadillo wants to run a script that Chillidog does not allow since these scripts could be used for nefarious means as well.

@firedude2894 That’s really too bad re: Armadillo and Chillidog.

Okay, downloading the mySQL database is super simple. Login to cPanel. Click on “Backup” (not Backup Wizard).

Scroll down a wee bit and you’ll see a header that says:
Download a MySQL Database Backup

Then just click on a specific database and it downloads to your computer. Zip, rename, do whatever you want to store it somewhere on your hard drive, Dropbox, whatever.

You created the database for Armadillo. So you should be able to easily look up the name and download the right one. (I have about 30 databases on one site.)

Hope this helps. Sorry I didn’t have better suggestions for you.

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Yessir, you were exactly right. Thanks again.

Now that I have an .sql file downloaded, how can I open it in an app that makes sense of the data? Text wrangler and Excel will open it, but it’s not pretty.

There’s some good choices here:

(I don’t have experience with any of these)

Thanks for the ideas Brian. I have tried 3 of the suggested apps here and they all want to open up a connected SQL database on a server somewhere, not the backup copy (the .sql file) I downloaded.

So, I am back to square one. Until @nimblehost can figure out another way to automate Armadillo backups (and, I’m not even sure this is a priority), I need a backup solution:

  1. That easily integrates with a daily workflow.
  2. That keeps a copy of my blog somewhere other than on my host.
  3. That allows me access to the text of the blog post (not somehow encoded).

I am still looking. Thanks.

hi brad, if the automated daily account backups that Chillidog performs aren’t enough, you can use Sequel Pro to download/export a copy of your database to your desktop. This includes sql and csv. I have a guide to connect to your database remotely using Sequel Pro.

I hope that helps



@firedude2894 You may be overthinking this. The key is there ARE ways to get data out of a mySQL database. There are multiple ways. So as long as your mySQL database is being backed up (either by you manually or by Chilldog, or both) then you’re safe.

But here’s one more option … in cPanel there is a tool called php MyAdmin. It will allow you to export a mySQL database in a variety of forms including CSV, text, and Word. You can export structure and/or content.

… the main thing is to make your own backups of the database to feel extra secure. And I believe Chillidog keeps backups of database up to 30 days old. You’re really in good shape.

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Since this same script can be used safely and securely on the hosting platforms most people use (Bluehost, Dreamhost, GoDaddy, HostGator, HostMonster, MediaTemple, etc) I don’t believe the “script” here is the issue, but rather the hosting configuration itself. That’s not a knock on Chillidog at all, @barchard’s decision is one I understand and respect, I’m just pointing out that there are way to allows its use, yet still remain secure.

As an alternate solution, this may be done in pure PHP. An example is here which doesn’t use PHP exec.

@barchard Sure, there are solutions on both sides - one requires a bunch work on my end, they other requires a bunch of work on your end. Too bad there’s no solution that meets in the middle. :wink:

Hi Greg,
I just spent the last hour following your directions, logging in to the database with Sequel Pro, poking around to find the correct tables and fields, exporting in various formats to see what works, and making a log of what did work so I can replicate it in the future. The good news is that this will work. Thank you. It is still pretty geeky, non-automated, and subject to user error (mine) — but it works.

Hi Jonathan,
You know that I am a big fan of Armadillo. It seems to me that the onus is on you as a product developer to find the best solutions you can to issues like accessible backups. Solutions that work in various circumstances. This will always give you the best product that can compete well with other similar products.
Lots of people will talk about TotalCMS in this conversation, but for me, this would be like trying to snuff out a match with a fire hose. It’s just too much for my needs. In my humble opinion, this creates a great niche in this market for a product like Armadillo. I want an easy way to set up and manage my own blog without monthly fees. That’s Armadillo and that’s why I have invested in it. Keep up the great work!

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I appreciate and respect your opinion, Brad. To give some perspective:

  • I’ve been a hosting provider for 14 years, since 2002.
  • I’ve been a software developer for 8 years, since 2008.

In other words, I know both sides of this equation better than most. You can argue, in fact, that I know the hosting side better than the product development side, yet I don’t believe the “onus is on the product developer” in this situation, particularly when Armadillo already has a solution here that works with most major hosting providers. :wink:

That doesn’t mean I won’t improve Armadillo’s existing backup features; only that compared to other highly requested features that don’t yet exist, such an improvement takes a back seat in terms of priority.

Using IFTTT is a smart solution! I like this.

Pulse CMS has a built in backup which drops daily backups on your server. Works well with @barchard + Chillidog Hosting.

This is slightly easier as it doesn’t need to backup a database.

Armadillo sounds like a great solution for your project needs and @nimblehost offers great support.

Glad you’re happy with it!

Thanks for your feedback @yuzool. IFTTT seems like a smart solution that is pretty universal. In theory, anyone could adapt this solution to their needs, but I haven’t been able to get it woking yet. If you have any specific thoughts here, I’d love to hear them.
Jonathan has been great. I’m also looking forward to @willwood taking these products over since he does such a great job over at S4S!