My Previous Sites
I’ve had probably half a dozen websites since my first one in 2012 (I think?).
My first website was HTML made in Dreamweaver for part of my undergraduate
Music Technology class. In this class we covered a short section on what was
called “web development”, then more music related technologies such as Finale
and ProTools. I purchased my domain
masonegger.com and deployed the site. Shortly
after that I decided to pursue Computer Science in college (that story is
long and I’ll probably write a blog post on that later). After a few years
and rough iterations of my basic HTML site I decided to learn Django. I worked
for the Computer Science department and we had decided to rewrite our site
using Django, so I took it as an opportunity to learn on my own and make my
own website. I created three separate sites
was a lab instructor at the time and wanted to host my materials). This was all
fine and good but the overhead required for each of these sites was a database.
Now I was just using
sqlite, but the process of building an entire database
driven site around what was mostly static content, seemed unnecessary. I liked
the idea of trying to use the Django admin panel as sort of a Content Mangement
System (for anything other than a small website, this is a bad idea) but,
as it turns out, I rarely go back and edit my site (And by the time I do I’ve
forgotten the password so I have to login and run
django admin to reset the
bloody password). The other issue is that my version of Django has become
hopelessly obsolete. Like, refactor the whole site to move to 2.0 obsolete. So
I was faced with the choice of a) redo the site in Django again with the same
frontend (I’m actually not really a fan of it anymore) or b) explore new
options. I chose that it’s time to explore new options.
When I first started looking into build a website, my first boss had tried to point me to static sites. He said something along the lines of “You don’t need a dynamic site, and the security of it will eventually cause you problems.” Luckily, I haven’t had security issues with my website (You have to have something of value to be an actual target 😂), am running it on FreeBSD which, more often than not, boggles the minds of pen testers, and finally, am not an easy to hit wordpress site. I started looking around into static site generators and immediately could see the benefits. Once the templates are setup I can simply write Markdown for posts. I enjoy this way more than logging into a WYSIWYG editor. There is no denying the speedup implications regarding a dynamicy python site vs. static html files. I am also learning Golang for my current job, so that naturally brought me to Hugo (which I had previously received many glowing recommendations for). After looking around at the pre-built templates I finally settled on one that I liked (what you’re seeing now).
The Desire for a Blog and the Move Away from Medium
I’ve always dabbled with the idea of writing a blog. I had a WordPress blog site once and acually liked it (until I accidentally nuked the cloud instance from orbit and had no backups😬). I tried building a blog in my old Django site, but absolutely loathed the interface, even after vamping it up with TinyMCE. I started a Medium blog and even published a post through my employeer HomeAway. However, I recently learned that Medium is starting a membership program where you will have to pay to get full access to the site. As someone who founded UnlockedEdu(see my projects section) and doesn’t believe that knowledge should be hidden behind a pay wall, this just didn’t sit right with me. I had been putting off updating my website and moving forward, but I do believe the Medium situation was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I will still have to publish there due to work (when I write public blogs) but I will write a post with a link to the blog. I don’t think I can republish it under this site since it is technically the property of my company (No animosity in this statement at all, I love my job and my company. It’s just how it is).
The New Site
Low and behold, a new site was born. It’s the site you’re reading this blog on. After the intial “what the hell is this?” phase with Hugo I’ve come to enjoy it. The template that I chose was a good starting point, and I have spent more time modifying the template than actually writing the initial content of this site, but I’m happy with the result. Once I get the deployment of this site up and have automated the release process, be on the look out for another blog post detailing this process.