New coat of paint
Recently I got the urge to write again so I gave this blog a new coat of paint, and decided to give a brief history, the reason I stopped writing and an explanation as to why I moved away from Medium.
I started this blog back in 2016 as a way to share and discuss ideas and solutions to problem's I've tackled as part of my work, life, education and hobbies.
At the time Medium was the hot new, elegant, hosted blog engine with a lot of buzz around it. I jumped on the bandwagon and started my blog there as I didn't have much money at the time, didn't want to build my own blog and didn't want to self-host or pay for WordPress.
The first article here is a story about a hackathon I went to in 2016 after which I basically stopped writing. Then, two years later, I switched jobs and technology stacks which lead me to reevaluate most of the things I knew about web development so I started writing again to crystallize my thoughts.
Then "Do you really need WebSockets", an article I wrote because I was tired of explaining to people that SSE and long-polling are not the same thing, became popular. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and I got hooked to the high of having a popular article.
Chasing that high made me imitate my previous success. All articles after "Do you really need WebSockets" were in-depth comparisons. But writing those comparisons wasn't fun, it felt like a chore. Even though I was satisfying my own curiosity I didn't enjoy the process of writing down the conclusion. Why? Because I imposed the structure and tone of "Do you really need WebSockets" on those articles to make them more likely to succeed (at least in my mind).
The problem with "Do you really need WebSockets" is that it's written like an academic paper - it's monotone, uses more complicated language just to sound smart and has a predictable structure to every paragraph. When I read those articles now they sound boring and devoid of personality.
The first article I ever wrote in this blog represents me better than the last five.
Once I realized that I started working on this iteration of the blog.
The first step for me was to get away from Medium as the site had many features I didn't want my blog to have.
The feature I wanted to get rid off the most was "claps" (Medium's version of likes). Comparing something by how many likes it has produces feedback loops like the one I got into after "Do you really need WebSockets". And the number of likes doesn't tell me anything of value - I don't know if the person giving the like thinks this article is better than the others I wrote, I just know that they liked this one. Even if I did know they liked this article more then the rest I still wouldn't know why.
The second feature I didn't want to have were comments. Over the years there were many nice comments, good questions and corrections. But, as with any unmoderated comments section on the Internet, there were ten times more comments from people who clearly didn't read the article and made ungrounded claims calling me out as a liar and dimwit.
At first I tried to be kind, explain their claims as false and correct them. But that took more time than I'd like to invest into responding to comments so I tried to ignore those people - this didn't work. Those negative comments influence new readers which then ask me to answer those commenters. In the end I had to answer all comments, which made me bitter, which made my comments sound bitter, which portrayed me as a bitter person.
Therefore, no more comments. If someone wants to comment something they should start a thread somewhere on the Internet and link to an article on this blog. All links to any article will show up in the backlinks section and anyone jump into any of those threads.
So I developed this web app to re-vitalize the old blog, add new features to it and fix the issues I had with Medium:
A custom design that strains the eyes less and that has no accessibility issues.
Link previews - because having to open links to see if you want to read what they link to is annoying
My own analytics - because that way I can respect my readers' privacy and track backlinks to articles
Visible RSS and ATOM feed for subscriptions
It's by no means perfect, but it was fun to do and it shows off who I am, the way I think, my personality and my values. And now that I can write without self-imposed restriction I'm having fun again.