I am converting a website from straight html (with tables! Ugh!) to WordPress. The company has a new design every year, and but keeps an archive of their old site(s) with the old design(s) on their website, so people can look back over the years.
Keeping the old HTML archives on a WP site
What would you recommend to keep the old HTML archives? WP doesn't play well with serving up plain HTML pages. I don't really want to go to all the trouble of creating a decade's worth of sub-domains and hosting the archives there (eg, 2009.mydomain.com, 2008.mydomain.com) because then I'll have to go through all those html pages and update any references to the archives as well (not really a problem with
sed, just a pain to do). However, thats really the only way I can think of doing it effectively.
Keeping the "annual archive" system
Once the old archives are up and running, how do I "maintain" this system in WordPress? I know WP does a nice archive system, but I'd need to show all the 2011 posts and pages with the 2011 design, all the 2012 posts/pages with the 2012 design. My thought was display themes conditionally -- maybe to add a custom field to each post/page and add a function that checks the custom field and serves the appropriate CSS file. Of course, this requires that the theme templates don't really change much from year to year. Or perhaps change entire themes, conditionally (easy enough to copy this conditional function to every theme). Is there a better way of doing this? The other option I thought of was to export the year to be archived to HTML and serve it up as (eg) 2011.mydomain.com. However, then you lose the ability to search through posts/pages, etc. This is particularly annoying as there is a whole custom-post system planned, and archiving the site annually will kind of negate the benefit of the custom-post taxonomies. I'd prefer to keep the wordpressiness and perhaps just use Apache redirection of future "subdomains" to the appropriate archive, to keep a consistent feel across the site's archives (don't want half the archives accessed via 2006.mydomain.com and the future archives from mydomain.com/archives/2012).
I hope I have explained this relatively clearly. Any suggestions would be welcome.