Evolving a website

2017-09-17 ❖ by Roberto Bonvallet

One day ten years ago I said to myself: “tomorrow I’m writing a static site generator, and the day after that I’m starting a blog.”

(Actually, in those days we didn’t say static site generators, but scripts and makefiles).

A decade later, in what should have been a grandiose celebration of thousands of insightful articles filled with marvelous ideas delightfully described in the most exquisite prose, I find myself having not even started with step zero of my plan.

I’m giving it a second try this time, but intentionally choosing the path of least friction. Instead of thinking about the tooling first, I’ll get the ball kicked off with an ordinary, artisanally handcrafted HTML page.

Of course I could learn how to use any of the bazillion tools out there for creating websites, but that already sounds like a chore to me, something I would put in a to-do list that will forever remain unread on my fridge, under a souvenir magnet from some relative’s boring vacation. I don’t need another one of those.

But in order to have any chance of success, I’ll have to aggresively cut off everything that’s not a straight dump of paragraphs from my brain.

First of all, no comment section. I’m sure it will not be missed, since there are many outlets out there for you to vent how much of a moron I am. In case you need to do so, I recommend using the comment section of some random YouTube video.

Also, no social media “share” or “like” buttons. You’ll have to make the effort of copying and pasting the URL like a caveman if you want to post this dud site for your online entourage to mock. And for fake internet points I’ll keep turning to old trusty Mersenne Twister.

No RSS or Atom feed. I already have to deal with enough XML at $DAYJOB, and if you somehow managed to get here in the first place surely you’ll find your way around if there happens to be any worthy content in the future.

No popup for you to subscribe to my newsletter. I hate writing emails anyway, so I’ll have to take the risk of not “building an audience” or not “improving my retention rate.” One fewer weekly message to remain forever unread in an obscure folder of the email account you use for spam, I guess.

No analytics either. Too many visitors (unlikely) is too much pressure, too few will force me to step up my SEO game (more work), and none (a fact, as of now) will make me sad. Better to not know.

No ads, sorry. If you need to buy a new iron or meet “single ladies near your location” you will have to look somewhere else.

No fancy webfonts, no parallax header, no skeuomorphic background, no shiny 5000×4000 photograph of a Macbook-Moleskine-Espresso combo, no witty reference to the meme du jour. A page that looks like it was written with a typewriter is everything I have to stand for my creativity, sadly.

So here it is: a humble web page like the ones of yore, delivered to you wrapped in a colorless HTTP response, with as few embellishments as needed to not make your eyes bleed. No expectation for me other than practicing my writing and having my own place for sharing ≥140-byte stuff without it being intermingled with political commentary and cat pictures.

You’re welcome!

(“Under Construction” sign stolen from Wikipedia, in the spirit of the text above).