Welcome back, Kelly

May 06, 2019

Way back when the internet was still a new and friendly place, I had a blog that I called Marmalade (I still own the domain, but I don’t really know what to do with it right now so Ill be redirecting it here). I would post at least 5 or 6 times a day, the bits and pieces of cool stuff I found on line. It was linked through webrings (remember those?), and I was a really active member of GTABloggers. If I had to guess, this was a about 15-20 years ago, and I can honestly say that blogging changed my life.

When I moved to New Zealand for a year in late 2008, Marmalade turned into a travel blog — one of the firsts! I put so much love into that thing, but I stupidly didnt back it up properly and one day lost EVERYTHING when the host I was with upgraded their servers and nuked all of my content. I had no one to blame for not backing my shit up, and my site never really recovered from the loss. LESSON LEARNED.

Then, social media happened. It fell out of fashion to have your own blog: LiveJournal and MySpace became a thing, then the monoliths of Facebook and Twitter showed up. Flickr (and later 500px) took over for image hosting. Google killed its wonderful RSS reader. I stopped trying to remake Marmalade; people began writing on Medium and other hosted content entry platforms. This was good for a while, until those same sites started putting up paywalls for content we had written, Facebook started selling our data and content, ads were everywhere. It seemed impossible to read other people’s content without being sold something. The blogging renaissance had begun.

For the last few years Twitter has been my online haunt of choice: I’ve been inspired by the community of developers, technical writers, and accessibility advocates I found there — and I want to be a more active part of it. Tweeting out bits and pieces of info is fine, writing about my thoughts and experierences is better.

What will I write about?

Whatever I want! Look for code snippets, accessibility challenges (and hopefully solutions), advice to junior devs just starting out, maybe some travel writing. This is my new digital playground, I don’t want to put too many boundaries on it just yet.

Why GatsbyJS

After nearly two decadees, I’m saying goodbye to Wordpress. I’d been eyeing static site generators for a while now, but settled on Gatsby because it’s Javascript-based, and seemed to have the shortest learning curve to getting things up and running. It also seems to be the preferred platform for devs, and has an active community online.

I’m making the switch mostly because I want the challenges of learning new skills (hello React, GraphQL, and Webpack!). But also because Wordpress is a monster of a tool, and has become a relic of another decade; it’s served me well but it’s been long past time I moved on. Plus, I really hate their new Gutenberg editor and its atrocious accessibility support.

I’ve also moved the hosting for this domain from my regular web host to Netlify; I want to see what the fuss is all about (my other domains, such as they are — lol no really, they are mostly empty WordPress shells at this point) will stay put.

While I figure things out, I’m using the Gatsby starter pack provided in this tutorial by Dave Ceddia. While the goal here is to have a completely custom website in the very near future, I didn’t want to let the lack of that keep me from writing — I wanted to get to creating content as soon as possible. I’m really happy that it took less than 10 minutes to read the tutorial, set up my local environment, update my DNS entries (so that I could use my domain on Netlify) and push to Git. It took a few hours for the DNS to propagate (ie: for my domain to be showing the new Netflify-hosted Gatsby site, and not the only Wordpress one from my old host), but by this morning I was ready to go.

kelly knights

Written by kelly knights: webdev by trade, globetrotter by heart
You should follow her on Twitter