Retrieving Lost Comments

I’ve restored a few posts in the last few months that were lost. I didn’t restore any of the comments. Honestly, I should have but I didn’t even think about it. But when I went to restore the In Cell Charting post, I noticed there were 85 comments. That seemed worth my while.

First I set a reference to Microsoft XML, v6.0 and Microsoft HTML Object Library. Here’s the main procedure.

Public Sub CreateCommentSQL()

Dim hDoc As MSHTML.HTMLDocument
Dim hOLComments As MSHTML.HTMLOListElement
Dim hLIComments As MSHTML.IHTMLElementCollection
Dim hLIComment As MSHTML.HTMLLIElement
Dim clsComments As CComments
Dim clsComment As CComment

'Go get the lost comments from the wayback machine
Set xHttp = New MSXML2.XMLHTTP
xHttp.Open "GET", ""

'Wait until the page loads
Do: DoEvents: Loop Until xHttp.readyState = 4

Set clsComments = New CComments

'Load the document
Set hDoc = New MSHTML.HTMLDocument
hDoc.body.innerHTML = xHttp.responseText

'The ordered list has an id of "comments"
Set hOLComments = hDoc.getElementsByName("comments")(0)
'Get all the listindex elements
Set hLIComments = hOLComments.getElementsByTagName("li")

For Each hLIComment In hLIComments
Set clsComment = New CComment
With clsComment
.AddNameFromCite hLIComment.getElementsByTagName("cite")(0)
.AddDate hLIComment.getElementsByClassName("comment-meta commentmetadata")(0)
.AddContent hLIComment.getElementsByTagName("p")
End With
clsComments.Add clsComment
Next hLIComment


End Sub

I looked at the source for the web page to figure out how it was laid out and how to get at the data I needed. The CComment and CComments classes store the data as I loop through the list index items in the comment list. The first CComment method is AddNameFromCite. I didn’t even know there was a Cite tag in HTML (but you could fill a warehouse with what I don’t know about HTML).

Public Sub AddNameFromCite(ByVal hCite As MSHTML.HTMLPhraseElement)

Dim hAnchor As MSHTML.HTMLAnchorElement

Me.Author = hCite.innerText

Set hAnchor = hCite.getElementsByTagName("a")(0)

If Not hAnchor Is Nothing Then
Me.AuthorLink = Mid$(hAnchor.href, InStr(2, hAnchor.href, "http://"), Len(hAnchor.href))
End If

End Sub

I made this a method because I generally reserve properties to getting/setting values. If I change more than one property or do any extensive manipulation, I go with a method instead of a property. I’m not uber-consistent about it though. The comment author’s name is the innertext of the PhraseElement (that’s what a Cite is, at least according to the TypeName function). To get the AuthorLink, I need to find the anchor and get the href attribute. Because the wayback machine put its own URL in from of other URLs, I had to find the second instance of “http://” to get the real link. Next the AddDate method.

Public Sub AddDate(ByVal hDiv As MSHTML.HTMLDivElement)

Dim sDate As String
Dim vaDate As Variant

sDate = hDiv.innerText
vaDate = Split(sDate, " at ")

Me.CommentDate = DateValue(vaDate(0)) + TimeValue(vaDate(1))

End Sub

This really should have been a property instead of a method, but oh well. The innertext of the DivElement is something like “January 1, 2010 at 6:16 am”. I split that string on the “at” and used DateValue and TimeValue to build a date. Finally the content of the comment.

Public Sub AddContent(ByVal hParas As MSHTML.IHTMLElementCollection)

Dim hPara As MSHTML.HTMLParaElement
Dim sContent As String

For Each hPara In hParas
sContent = sContent & hPara.innerText
Next hPara

Me.Content = sContent

End Sub

I passed in a collection of elements that are ParaElements (tag=p=paragraph). Then I looped through them and concatenated a string for the content. By looping through just the p elements, I skip all the comment meta crap that is auto-generated by WordPress and just get to the text.

At this point I have 85 CComment objects and I’m ready to build the SQL string.

Public Sub CreateSQLFile()

Dim sFile As String, lFile As Long
Dim clsComment As CComment
Dim sSql As String
Dim aSql() As String
Dim lCnt As Long

ReDim aSql(1 To Me.Count)

'Build the first part of the sql string with the column names
sSql = "INSERT INTO wp_comments (comment_post_ID, comment_author, comment_author_email, comment_author_url,"
sSql = sSql & Space(1) & "comment_author_IP, comment_date, comment_date_gmt, comment_content, comment_karma,"
sSql = sSql & Space(1) & "comment_approved, comment_agent, comment_type, comment_parent, user_id) VALUES" & vbNewLine

'Put all the comment values in an array
For Each clsComment In Me
lCnt = lCnt + 1
aSql(lCnt) = clsComment.SQLInsert
Next clsComment

'put it all together
sSql = sSql & Join(aSql, ", " & vbNewLine) & ";"

'write it to a sql file
sFile = ThisWorkbook.Path & Application.PathSeparator & "wp_incellcomments.sql"
lFile = FreeFile

Open sFile For Output As lFile
Print #lFile, sSql

Close lFile

End Sub

Just a bunch string building and putting in a file that I can import into PHPMyAdmin. In the CComment class, the values are put together like this

Public Property Get SQLInsert() As String

Dim sReturn As String
Dim aReturn(1 To 14) As Variant

Const sNOVALUE As String = "''"
Const sSQ As String = "'"

aReturn(1) = "7534"
aReturn(2) = sSQ & EscSq(Me.Author) & sSQ
aReturn(3) = sNOVALUE
aReturn(4) = sSQ & EscSq(Me.AuthorLink) & sSQ
aReturn(5) = sNOVALUE
aReturn(6) = sSQ & Format(Me.CommentDate, "yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss") & sSQ
aReturn(7) = aReturn(6)
aReturn(8) = sSQ & EscSq(Me.ContentScrubbed) & sSQ
aReturn(9) = 0
aReturn(10) = sSQ & "1" & sSQ
aReturn(11) = sNOVALUE
aReturn(12) = sNOVALUE
aReturn(13) = 0
aReturn(14) = 0

sReturn = "(" & Join(aReturn, ", ") & ")"

SQLInsert = sReturn

End Property

I really like this method of building a string – putting it into an array and using Join – so I think I’ll start using it. The EscSq function turns any single quotes into two single quotes. The ContentScrubbed property converts any vbNewLines into \r\n. I exported some existing comments from MySQL to see how all this stuff went together. In the end, I ended up with a file that looks like this.

phpMyAdmin kept erroring out that the file was using too much memory. It’s 51kb, so I knew that wasn’t true. But the helpful people at HostGator imported it for me and set me up with console access so I can do it myself next time. I just need to learn the commandline stuff for importing.

I took a quick look through through the comments and they look alright. It’s hard to tell what I screwed up formatting-wise because some people use code tags and most don’t. But the info appears to be there and that’s the most important thing. I guess since I have this set up, I should go back and make sure any other lost posts get their comments too.

As always, if you see something that’s not right on the site, shoot me an email. I have a few hundred posts that still look like crap, but are readable and I’m fixing them as I see them.

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