Iteration Four

My website has gone through three major designs and counting. The fourth version (v4) represents a big break from the past, for many reasons.

Let’s address the mastodon in the room first: the domain. Yep, it’s a completely new one! For those who know me prior to this overhaul, I used to rock a different domain, which I will keep holding on to, likely only to host some older works and designs. I’ve actually been wanting to get a new domain for a while, one where I could have just my handle/username/alias without any other quirky characters due to domain unavailability. My first choice was, which was unfortunately taken. After a little TLD hunting, I settled on, because it felt like a cozy and cute. It’s not much of a cafe though.

It might come as a little bit of a surprise, but getting ahold of this domain was a bit of a rough experience. I went through two registrars (Namecheap, which didn’t accept my debit card, and Gandi, which was too pricy for my liking) before settling back onto Porkbun after waiting a while to clarify a detail in their privacy policy.

A big reason is my shift in interests, which are admittedly still mainly web-centric. I’ve been going in a different direction and working on different things than I was when I made v3, I’ve changed as a person. While I still enjoy reverse engineering things on the web on occasion, my main focus is no longer writing cheats for online quiz games; if that’s what you’re here for, then you likely won’t get anything like that from me. Sorry! Anyway, I’ve been putting more points into the skill trees for programming and design as of late, and I’d like my website to reflect that.

On a personal level, it’s symbolic. In essence, I just want to move on from my past mistakes. I’ve made a lot of mistakes during the past one or two years, both on and off the digital plane. Much to my chagrin, I acted very regrettably, and was a jerk to a lot of people. I’ve grown and matured a lot since, and while that doesn’t magically validate my past actions, I hope everyone I’ve been rude to will forgive me over time. For selfish reasons involving shame and guilt, I don’t want to elaborate further, but I thought it was relevant and important to mention.

I’d also like to make this place more personal, albeit not in a “stare directly into Basil’s writhing soul” manner. I’d like this to be somewhere where I can experiment with things, instead of being shackled by formality. I am a somewhat formal person by nature, but I’d like to at least try to dial it down here.

With the “why” out of the way, it’s time for the technical details.

The current version of this site is built with Astro, and the site is (as of writing) entirely static. I chose Astro because I wanted something lightweight and minimal that would respect the people who take the time out of their day to visit here. I’ve used Astro for some previous projects, and it has really good DX.

The output is served from a static file server written in Rust, running in a Docker container on a Raspberry Pi. I’d like to learn how to write Rust, and this seems like a wonderful excuse.

Contrary to all of my previous website iterations, I’ve intentionally kept this version extremely minimal on JavaScript. As of writing, the only script present on every page is a very small snippet for a selfhosted instance of Umami. It respects the DNT setting in your browser. You can also block the subdomain.

Another goal of mine is to reduce the friction for creating journal/blog/weblog posts. I’ve been following Xe’s blog for a few months, and I love their writing style and how frequently they publish new posts. While we’re on the topic of writing. As with every time I’ve updated this website, I’m not going to include the blog posts from the previous versions. I don’t like the way some of them were worded, and some of them aren’t relevant anymore. That being said, I’m likely going to keep these blog posts the next time I overhaul this place.

I don’t know if I’m completely sated by the current design though. It feels like it’s in the right direction, but I have a few irks with it; notably, the there isn’t much room to play around with the green text color while maintaining an AAA rating in terms of contrast, which is super important for readability. I could desaturate the background color, but I like how it currently looks. It’s subject to revision and iteration, I’m sure I’ll redesign this again one day.

The site is admittedly still a little unpolished, as I’m somewhat rushing to release this close to the new year. Expect more progress to be made in the coming days.

Sorry for the mess of a post! I’m used to writing down short thoughts, not a long rundown of things like this. Maybe writing longer prose coherently could be a good resolution for 2023 :)

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