15 Years Blogging

Today December 2nd, 2019, marks a special date: exactly 15 years ago, I decided to start a blog to dump my development learnings and dull rants from time to time. The first blog post was about a game development framework I was using back then to prepare my master thesis project, Jamagic.

Master Thesis videogame prototype

That original blog post now lives here, but I began using Google's Blogger as the platform to host my content.

I had another website with kind of posts (mostly tech-oriented news), but it was in Spanish and I wanted both to practice writing in English and to be able to speak about any topic I wanted.

For the record, I'll list the different platforms and approximate dates because one one hand it's been quite a challenge to migrate the data from one place to another, but on the other hand I've learned a lot about becoming more pragmatic and adopting leaner and simpler platforms, data formats and general approaches.

  • 2004: Blogger. Simple design, could just add some simple Javascript for visits counting and showcasing (the only "analytics" you wanted back then).
  • 2005: Custom .NET-powered blog platform (maybe DasBlog?). A friend created a blog community and invited me to move my blog there. I had to manually export and re-create the posts 😭.
  • 2007: Community Server. Decided to try building my own blog community for me and my friends (although a few external people joined), so once again I manually exported one by one and re-inserted all blog posts.
  • 2014: BlogEngine.NET. Software rots, and when you're using an outdated version of a closed-source application, even when it is extensive and I could also use .NET Reflector to learn about the internals and keep improving and advancing things, there comes a time to shake things up. Not without pain I migrated to a multiple single-instances setup of BlogEngine, which used BlogML and back then was a Community Server -> BlogEngine script. It was an important milestone in simplifying things not only because of a more open data format, but also because I could switch from having to JOIN half a dozen SQL DB tables to just maintaining a physical file per post or page.
  • 2016: Pelican. I stopped working professionally with .NET in 2009, but kept using it for personal projects. In 2016 the only think I ever wrote some C# or ASP.NET for was for the blog, so to simplify my life I decided to jump the "static site generators" wagon and migrate once again the blog. This time was dead easy with just a simple tweaks, and Markdown allows HTML so all old posts were just dumped as such (I'd rather write new ones in MD). Compilation added an extra step but with some simple scripts I now instead do a "build and deploy" rather than a "edit and upload".

Quite a journey to fight to keep my content always available. Call me crazy but I hate when you try to search for something old and there are no search results. Google tends to de-rank and hide old stuff, DuckDuckGo started crawling the web later so doesn't knows everything and most often, companies, platforms and domains just disappear, so to me it pays off to keep your stuff somewhere you can ensure is available.

Maintaining the blog has also served the nice purpose of having a playground or sandbox where to test and experiment with many web-related topics. From building custom plugins and extensions to the platform it was running on, to removing all kinds of tracking and almost all javascript of the page, to maintaining as a personal challenge trying to keep things fast, overall is fun and refreshing to have some personal projects. And heck, I also feel I'm up to date enough in web topics to achieve things like:

Google PageSpeed Insights November 2019

Specially considering I mostly only do backend development nowadays.

To wrap up and stop wasting more time of any poor reader who made it until here, I'd like to be sincere: What I write here is usually and mostly irrelevant. I also lately feel less inclined to blog because I both feel I'm not going to add anything worthy and that the web is nowadays full of too many experts with shallow blog posts, posts that we then tend to take as the real truth. I feel I should instead be focusing on reading more books than contributing to this quick doses of "information", so my real message of this post is more like... don't waste much time reading only blog posts, instead to dig deep into a topic research books and papers, and experiment.

Talk less, do more.

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