New Year, New Website, New Philosophy


Lines of HTML code on a computer screen in black and white.
Introducing my new website, coded using Jeykll, Bootstrap and Forestry.

I’ve been pretty slack over the last few years when it comes to working out loud (WOL). I do have a blog but just a quick check through the archives reveals an average of one or two posts per year. Although the posts themselves are fairly comprehensive and thoughtful (even if I do say so myself) given the irregular posting it’s not surprising that it’s hardly a hive of activity or engagement. Instead of WOL through long form blog posts, I’ve tended to focus more on microblogging via Twitter.

🌟 A fresh start

So, this website is hopefully the start of something new. It’s been a bit of a pet project that’s brought together some long-overdue personal development on different projects; creating a progressive web app, version control with Git (using GitHub, which is also hosting this very website via GitHub Pages), Boostrap 4 (as I’ve previously been using version 3) and now, Jekyll.

It’s also introduced me to Dillinger which is the web app I’m writing this blog post on. It’s a snazzy Markdown editor that integrates directly with GitHub so is effectively acting as a basic CMS for my site. Actually, that’s probably not right - it’s more of a publishing system.

In future, I’ll probably move over to Forestry to quicken publishing and tinker further.

⁉️ But, why?

All this work has scratched a very deep itch I’ve had for some time to get back into (basic) web development. Spending a LOT of time focusing on stand out social media content over the last 12-18 months, along with becoming more strategic in a new role at work has meant I’ve had less time to tinker with code. It’s frightening how quickly you can get left behind. The last time I spent this long dabbling with anything more than minor CSS and HTML changes was back in Dreamweaver days. Frameworks, CSS pre-processors are all things I’ve tinkered with but not really used in anger…until now.

💪 Taking back control

At the risk of sounding “Brexity”, this site is also a culmination of a desire to take back control of my own content by embracing the IndieWeb. Although I’ll be syndicating my posts, ideally automatically, to the usual suspects including twitter and Medium, the longer term aim is to “backfeed” likes, replies, reposts to my site. By copying these interactions to the original content on this site, I can, quote: “save them from numerous silo-content-loss scenarios from malevolent censorship to eventual site-death”. In other words, in future years when commercially owned websites/services change their operating model / lose the faith of the masses / shut down entirely, I’ll still have a copy of everything. This is the theory anyway.

▶️ Onwards️

Hopefully this site my site will encourage me to work out loud more again. I’ve long admired the weeknotes format and I’m a regular reader of some of the juicy stuff published by the likes of Neil Tamplin and Ben Proctor et al.

I recently asked the good folk of twitter if they would be interested in reading more about what I do. 91% of the 22 people who kindly replied to my poll said they would like to so hopefully this is the start of that. I’m not sure about doing it weekly but we’ll see.

Apologies in advance to the 9% who don’t. 👍