08 December 2018
I’ve owned my domain, andrewhil.es, since 2013. It had always been my intention to create a website that would act as a personal journal where I could document my work, random thoughts and generally share articles on things I think others would benefit from knowing. However, shortly after I crafted my first incarnation of a holding page for the website, things didn’t progress much further.
Looking back, the last 5 years on this website haven’t been much more than a basic index.html file with nothing of great interest. I’d attempted various re-designs but never published anything as I could never quite get them over the line. Thankfully, my website gets around 100 hits a month so I don’t think anyone was overly disappointed when they stumbled upon my boring little corner of the web and found very little going on.
Each year I was renewing the hosting with good intentions but very little happened. I spend a large portion of my working day tweaking things in the browser and it’s a fundamental part of my occupation, to be able to craft fully-functional, production-ready websites. However, when it came to my own, it was just left, gathering dust. Perhaps a case of occupational hazard? Who knows.
Finding new motivation
Back in October 2018 I FTP’d onto my web server for the first time in quite a while. I was looking for a few server configuration files when I came across all of the old content I’d created in previous years. Lots of different versions of holding pages, half-baked CSS files and images I’d snapped on my camera that never saw the light of day. In that moment, I quickly realised I’d forgotten about my online space for too long and it was time for a reboot.
In recent months, I’d listened to various podcasts where fellow web developers mentioned the curse of seeking perfection in their work and how it’s not always a positive. Make no mistake, we should always seek to deliver work of high quality, but perfection shouldn’t always be the level where we feel ready to show it off. In my mind, maybe that’s what has been holding me back from fixing this space and applying some effort to making it something worth caring for. I have a poster at home which lists lots of motivating quotes, one of which reads ‘Done is better than perfect’ - pretty fitting for this post.
With a shift in mindset, I realised that if I spent an hour here and there to try and spruce things up, eventually I’d get this site into a state where it’s fit enough for publishing to the web (not perfect, but a functioning work in progress).
Fast forward to today, Saturday 8th December 2018, and I’ve just finished giving this space a fresh lick of paint with some plain old CSS and it feels like the right time to deploy my changes. There’s no doubt, everything is still rough around the edges, but I know now that once I’ve hit the dreaded publish button and put it out for the world to see, that there’s an element of accountability placed upon me to maintain things and turn this site into something I’ll (hopefully) care about for many years to come.
Now that I’ve taken the first step and published something more than just a holding page, my aim is to continue enhancing this space. I’m still using a lot of older technologies under the hood, which brings an immediate impetus to remove them and modernize where I see fit. However, for now, I want to publish an article at least once a week. It’s ambitious, but without goals, I know I’ll struggle. So here we are. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.