> mthadley_

New Year, Same Site

About one year ago I did a little redesign of my website with the intention to be more writing focused. In my first post, I set a few goals for myself and the site, so now is a good time to check in and see how things went:

Boring Tech

There’s a meme about how people will set out to start a website or blog, end up spending 90% of their time obsessed with the site’s infrastructure, and 10% actually blogging. I wanted to avoid that trap, and overall I did. However, there was a small detour into Nix land.

I already use Nix to manage my dotfiles with Home Manager, as well as some of the dependencies for building this site. I like the end results I get with Nix1, but I have to admit I don’t enjoy working with it.

So when in a recent post I wanted to add images, it lead to adding image processing to the site’s build process, which required dependencies on certain shared libraries2, which lead to installing them through Nix, which lead into “nixifying” the entire Ruby environment for the site with Bundix to get those dependencies working correctly, all of which was tedium I had been avoiding.

While I it’s nice that I now have a fully reproducible Nix Flake, a part of me feels the whole thing is overkill. This feeling is most acute during a “cold” build when Nix downloads almost a gigabyte of stuff just to build my dinky little website. Oh well.

Minimal Design

This one was easier. I’m not a designer, and so not much in the site’s design has changed over the past year. I’m happy to keep it simple, at least until I do something fancier. I’ve been mulling over adding something like a photo feed, but I’m not there yet.

On the technical side, I was reminded that CSS is pretty awesome nowadays. I had already been shipping an unprocessed stylesheet, but I refactored it to use newer features like native support for nested selectors.

Lower Barrier Posting

This is the goal that really needed the most focus. Last year I quipped I’d be happy if I wrote at least 5 times, and that was at least one target I hit.

I’d like to ratchet up this goal for the coming year. First, I’d like to be more consistent. Instead of writing that tends to clump up at the end or beginnings of years3, I’d like to set aside time every month. Turn it into a habit.

Second, I should feel free to write about a broad range of topics. Many from last year were technical or programming related, but I’m also interested in media, culture, and other topics.

That’s all for now, so here’s to another year! See you all there.

  1. Mostly the declarative, deterministic build/programming environments. Usually paired with direnv

  2. libvips and its dependencies, in this case. I’m using it to generate alternative sizes and formats, like webp

  3. No coincidence this always aligns with vacations or holidays.