Project: This Website

Ongoing solo side project since Dec. 2014

Ah, my personal website. There is no side project I've spent more time on. For years I've used my personal site as my playground where I can experiment with new technologies and design. It's the first website I ever made from scratch and this version you see is the fourth total rewrite. For years my website was more or less a resume with some interesting pages about personal data I collected and displayed (travel, books read, etc.). I've always wanted to blog, so this time around I decided to equip myself with the tools to easily do that. I plan to write a lot, but who knows. Maybe my "Hello, world" post will be the only article I write between now and version five.

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HTML/CSS
Jekyll
AWS

The stack

My website has taken on every flavor of technology over the years--static, full-stack, single-page application, and everything in between. After progressively making my site more and more complex over the years, I decided to tak a step back and simplify. What job did I want my site to do for me? When I sat down to answer this question, I found that I cared about showing off some of my work, connecting with like-minded people, and having a place to post my thoughts. I wanted the site to be both fast to develop and fast to load, so I went full static and used Jekyll to make this site.

I've gotten so accustomed to having a back-end server that it was frustrating at times when I wanted to add a feature and figured out it wasn't possible to do within the Jekyll framework. I think the pros far outweigh the cons, though, for my needs. This site uses VueJS for a handful of micro-services that improve the experience for users that land here and make the site perceived to be even faster than it is (which is pretty fast as a static site on AWS Amplify).

When I finally had my site built and ready to deploy, it was time to write my first blog post. For the past two years I’ve kept a list of blog article ideas. Last week I wrote all of them down on a piece of paper and ranked them based on what I thought would be most interesting to write about and where I thought I could offer the most benefit to people reading my blog. I quickly noticed that the common theme around my highest ranked article ideas was a combination of happiness and wealth.

And thus, the Happy Thinking Blog was born.