About This Blog

Nov 26th, 2016
4 min read

This is a self-referential blog post about this blog (…I’ve been reading too much GEB). A post about how to get the most from other posts. In the spirit of Simon Sinek, I’ll start with why. Then I’ll cover how I created this blog and tips for getting the most out of it. Finally, I’ll delve into where it’s going.

If you don’t really care why I created this blog and just want to learn how to get the most out of it, feel free to skip ahead. If you’re super nerdy like me and just want to know how the blog was built you can jump to that section.

Starting With Why

My Why has many layers. Initially, I thought my Why was to help separate my time from income. For the last year or so I’ve been using this chrome extension Motivation. It has made me way more present to how little time we have on this planet. The conclusion I came to is that the amount of time I’d have to put into this blog to make it profitable compared to contract work is absurd. Therefore I’m definitely not doing it for some sort of payout.

So I asked why again.

And again.

The next layer I peeled back was another selfish one: to learn. The philosophy "To teach is to learn" has been distilled into my psyche. By writing blog posts about educational content not only could I improve my writing skills but it would also force me to understand the material at a deeper level.

The reality (at least for me) is there are lots of different mediums I could use to start teaching again that don’t require me working on my writing skills. (I.E. volunteering my time at the bootcamp I used to teach at. Or giving talks at meetups)

Back to the drawing board. Why do this?

I thought about why I got into programming in the first place. My primary reasons were for scalability of inspiration and to acquire mastery of my machine. In management and sales, even if I was the best manager in my company, I could only positively impact maybe 200 sales representatives a year. Programming gave me access to billions of people not hundreds.

There was also this extreme desire to truly master my machine. To be able to get my computer to work for me and not just with me. To think of an idea and then make it a reality. After acquiring these basic computer skills I realized they were something I wished everyone had.

And there it was. My Why.

My driving force for writing this blog is to learn in public, to be vulnerable, and along the way hopefully inspire and motivate other people to develop new skills and master their machines. If I can do it so can you.

Getting The Most Out Of Posts

Scattered throughout posts are different alert boxes. The green ones have tips that you may find useful like this:

add_alert

An alias for npm install <package> --save is npm i <package> -S

Blue boxes with the info icon are to display pieces of information that may or may not apply to you… for example:

info

Make sure to use node version > 6.2.2

Red alert boxes have information you should definitely read because it could be very important or dangerous.

warning

Never type rm -rf ~. Understand what commands do before copy/pasting from the internet!

Errors & Mistakes

Inevitably you will encounter some spelling and grammatical errors (after all one of my primary 'Why’s is to become a better writer). When they arise feel free to leave a comment and I’ll fix it up or you can even submit a Github Pull Request to fix the issue yourself!

Sharing & Comments

Most titles will have a little paper clip looking thing to the right of them that looks like 🔗. If you click on it you will be able to link to that section of the blog post which can be useful when sharing URLs with friends and colleagues.

Additionally, at the bottom of every post are some social sharing icons you can use to spread the love. If a post was useful and helped you solve a problem, consider paying it forward and sharing with others 😄. Sharing is caring!

Absolutely hate and disagree with the things I’m writing? No problem. Leave a comment and I’ll gladly consider your point of view. If you’re a troll I’ll just ignore you.

Design Inspiration

There is clarity in simplicity. When deciding how to design the blog I wanted it to be as simple as possible so the focus could be on the content. I accumulated inspiration from many different sources but here a few that stood out:

  • HBO NOWs website. Liked their nav layout, logo design, and font selections.
  • T.J. Holowaychuks Apex Ping. Loved the minimal design and subtle css animations.
  • The Medium blogging platform.
  • Jeff Atwood’s Coding horror blog.

How This Blog Was Built

With ❤️ and ☕️.

It uses Gatsby.js to generate the static site. Working with Gatsby has been an absolute pleasure. Previous versions of this blog have been made with Jekyll, Octopress, and Middleman but working in React + Gatsby has been the most fun.

Netlify is what I use to deploy the site.

info

You can find the source code for the blog here.

In case you’re too lazy to read the package.json here are some of the more well known libraries used:

  • react-helmet - used for the meta tags
  • react-disqus-thread - used for adding disqus comments
  • markdown-it - used for generating the markdown into blog posts
  • highlight.js - used for code syntax highlighting
  • react-headroom - used for the medium like nav bar that disappears/appears

Where This Blogs Going

There are a plethora of features I’d like to add to the blog. Most can be found in the issues section of the Github repo.

Spencer

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