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About the new blog

Mar 18 2018

This is my first new blog post in a long time. As a matter of fact, this is my first new blog in a long time. It's been more than two years since I last wrote anything serious on the internet.

Why'd that happen? I like writing. I have plenty of thoughts that I'm interested in sharing with other people. I'm on the computer all the time, consuming; why not produce something original of my own?

The short answer is that I haven't had enough time. The longer answer is that I haven't given myself enough time to write things longer than a Twitter post in a couple of years. Sure, the last two years have been busy. I graduated from college, got a full-time job, moved twice, and have generally been trying to find my way in the world.

The other part of it, though, was the writing platform itself. I've used Tumblr, Wordpress, Google Sites, GitHub Pages, and Hugo, each with its own advantages and challenges. However. As a budding software engineer, I found myself simultaneously understanding the underlying pieces of blogging software better and wanting to make those same pieces myself.

I've fooled around with website customization before for small gains. In essence I was customizing (or just hacking) the pre-built pieces that someone with more time or expertise had already built for me. But I wanted to build something with the ability to make my own decisions about its functionality, beholden only to my own ability to change it.

Two things finally led to the creation of this site as you are seeing it now:

  1. I put it in my 2018 goals list. Now, I don't think that New Year's resolutions are the way to get everything done, and I am not a traditional goal-setting kind of person. My 2018 goals list functions more like a giant to-do list, but somehow I've been able to keep consistent track of my progress. Which means I've been regularly working on this site since January.

  2. I read Dan Luu's website. It's a content-first, formatting-second website. The home page is just a list of blog posts, and each post is text in your browser's default font along with some pictures or links. I generally despise front-end development, so I knew that I didn't want to design a complicated or even good-looking website. Dan Luu's site was the first to show me that black text on a white background could still capture attention.

I wouldn't say that I'm implementing the barest possible Python web site. I'm using Flask as a basic web framework to avoid the less-interesting parts of web development. It's small, though, and I've enjoyed handling its code architecture as well as simple hosting duties and configurations.

You can follow all the changes I make on GitHub. The README includes steps for running the server locally or in an AWS container, as I am. You're also free to email me using the link below!

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