Welcome to my first post on my new site!
Topic #1: why build a boring, text-based site when there are so many free, simple, and shiny tools out there?
A few reasons, but mainly philosophy, and I forget stuff.
In my mind, “simple” is something more elegant than “plain” or “basic.” Simplicity implies an ease of understanding, but with a sense of completeness. With simplicity, there is both practicality and beauty.
To be a little more concrete, even though this is very much a “no frills” site, I could have gone even more basic, perhaps by just directly writing the HTML files. Admittedly, I considered that briefly, but decided that it would actually be less simple. Beyond having to insert HTML tags into a post, I would also have to recreate the boilerplate code at the top of each page, and then debug it.
Creating each page/post as a markdown file is super simple; there’s no boilerplate code, or ugly HTML I need to directly write. If I want to write a new post, I create a new markdown file and rebuild. For deploying it, I just need a way of serving static HTML files. In the past, I’ve done that with GitHub pages; at the time of writing this, I’m using GitLab pages.
I’ve tried creating “simple” sites a number of times over the past few years, either as blogs, sites for teaching (when I was a math teacher), or just something to sit on my domain. When I inevitably get busy and don’t touch it for a while, I’ve had trouble figuring it out again when I’ve wanted to come back to that.
I’ve also found similar situations at work. Sometimes, your projects and infrastructure really do need to be complex in order to be good enough. However, that has a cost, and that cost has a few components: learning curve, relearning curve, and unintended consequences.
For these reasons, and probably more – a simple personal site.