It's stupid really. How hard it can be to start your own blog? Well, these days it should be really really easy. I mean, there's plenty of tools to do it, some really good free and open source blogging platforms. There are free services that do basically everything for you.
I have used some of these tools and services myself. I have recommended some of them for people that want to start blogging and still do. They're easy to use, plentiful in features and options. You can do quite a lot more than just keep a simple blog on most of them.
I consider myself a professional web designer and a developer. I have over 11 years of experience on the web industry. I have seen hundreds of pages been done, tens of web based systems and countless meetings. I've personally built stuff for small and big companies in Finland. I've hired, taught, mentored and supported new people to the field.
Blogs or shall we say "Web Logs" are not something new to me. I follow at the moment 207 blogs and news sources. I could never reach the level of professionalism that I see daily on my feeds. Still I feel like I should try. I have felt like that for a long time now.
I have done a couple of trial runs on blogging and writing on a deadline. One of them was a travel blog that I quite enjoyed making. Another one was a weekly updated news-site for a game community. Then the deadline kept slipping and since there was not that much new stuff going on in the game, the site died. But I did learn a lot.
For many years now I've been thinking about a new way for me to get on to the blogosphere. I should write something that's close to me daily and something I know and care about. Technology, design and photography come to mind.
So what was stopping me?
Well, there's this saying..
The shoemaker's children go barefoot
Lets say that I start using a ready made system like Wordpress. I'll install it, configure it and start using it. Easy, right?
The first thing that happens is that I want to customize the look. So I'll go search for a good theme on it. There are plenty of themes around for it (the main site has 1804 themes at the moment). No matter how good a theme is, it will most likely not do. Why? Well, because it's not made by me.
As a professional I should be able to build a site skin quickly as I know everything related to creating it. That's just it, I know too much. I have collected a list of features to keep in mind when making a website. The list is long, like really long. So it's not too easy if your standards are too high.
Even if I'd be able to get a proper skin, fix all the annoyances in it to feel like home. What then? It was still not created by me. It's like a shoemaker would go to the nearest cheap store and buy shoes for his children from there. Sure, it would probably be a smart move. The shoes would probably be extremely cheap compared to the time and effort it would take to make them himself.
Then there's the hacking problem. I want the site to be hackable. The catch is, I want it to be hackable only by me. I want to be able to do anything on the site, not limited by the bounds of software written by someone else.
As good as these tools are, they still need software updates to keep them secure. And frankly, I really do not need yet another thing to maintain. I just want the web-pages to stay as I tell them to be without installing updates every month, thank you very much.
Well, I feared that I'd have to keep a blog by writing plain HTML by hand. Writing one page at a time would sorta be possible, but keeping up all the links and stuff? Forget about it..
So, that's why I've had this ugly old site for 10 years now just containing my contact details. You know, back in the day microformats was a new thing and there were rumors about Firefox supporting them natively. So in a way, it did have some cool features. It was just plain ugly and boring.
This year I found a way to generate static site by myself, with some automation to help me. That got things rolling. At first it helped me at work doing quick prototypes for clients. And as the methods and tools evolved, it got to a point where I felt it was good enough to push forward.
I've incorporated many of the things in my long list to this site. And I will continue to improve it. As a side bonus, I have something to blog about, all the little treats I add to the site.
Consider yourself warned, this site will not be about my personal life or easy to grasp matters. It'll contain stuff about my professional life; Web development and design. In the coming posts I'll go into the technical details of what makes a good website tick.
So, yes a new blog. You can consider this site being always half finished, as I'll change stuff when I get around to it. Or when I learn new cool stuff. My aim here is to share the knowledge, and maybe document something really cool not many have found before.