Availability in July!

Looks like I’m free next month!

Do you need anything built? I’m pretty good at all things front-end development.

How can I help? Contact me!

What have I been up to?

I’ve been thinking a lot about static site generators and server side rendering. SSG and SSR. A lot of letters that result in HTML. When done right.

I’ve been experimenting with Svelte Kit and Astro. I’ve been getting familiar with new hosting and services from Deno Deploy, Cloudflare Pages, and Netlify.

Below are few abstract thoughts I’d like to expand upon further one day. If I ever find time to revive this blog!

Developer Experience

Although I enjoy coding with build tools and front-end UI frameworks they’re forever a moving target. Everything is beta and subject to (breaking) changes. Returning to a project after weeks away often means an hour reviewing changelogs and issue trackers.

Visual Studio Code is becoming in-my-face bloated. I’m tired of notification pop-ups.

I’m not keen on all-in-one frameworks like NextJS and RedwoodJS. I prefer smaller libraries to suit specific tasks.

I’m wary of vendor lock-in. I like to write code I can repurpose elsewhere. Frameworks that are too big become an exercise is writing JavaScript/JSON configuration.

Instead of reaching immediately for a big library I like to start by coding my own solution (not on client time, of course). This is a fun exercise to understand how things work. Writing real code, not configuration. Sometimes the solution is a tiny snippet of a larger codebase, without its dependency black hole.

“No config” is a red flag. It means obtuse config and inevitable frustration.

Angular and Vue are too abstracted for my taste. Too much ceremony. Svelte feels more natural/native in this regard. JSX can actually be quite elegant when you see it as functions (not so much at scale).

I’m all-in on Deno for personal projects.

One of my Svelte/SvelteKit projects has a bug I’m struggling to catch and replicate. It’s driving me mad.

Hosting and Deployment

I still do a lot of WordPress development. “LAMPstack” hosting is comfortable and familiar for clients. Front it with Cloudflare and it’s as fast as “JAMstack” (other caches are available).

Nothing wrong with a good old PHP based website. Especially if the alternative is to jump through JavaScript hoops to achieve the same outcome.

JavaScript is more fun though.

The hosting options for static sites are great. Netlify, GitHub Pages, Cloudflare Pages, whatever that AWS one is called — they’re practically free for my needs.

I have difficulty when I need more than static — databases, contact forms, etc. “Serverless” is an obvious misnomer. I don’t like the trend towards a reliance on multiple SaaS requirements.

Maintenance of personal websites I can handle, but for clients I’m not involved after I hand over the keys. I don’t want to hand over a whole keyring.

I’m a little behind on continuous integration and all that palaver. It’s not an area I want to specialise in. It can be a pain when joining existing projects. Too much back and forth on Slack when workflows are neither working nor flowing.

I still use FTP ocassionally.

Content Management

I like the trend towards SSR over SSG. It removes the painful necessity to rebuild after content changes. I can’t ask clients to edit markdown and run npm build.

I’m on the hunt for good headless CMS options. Keystone 6 continues to look the best so far.

As I’ve said before WordPress has a Gutenberg problem. I think it’s a bold but safe prediction that WordPress will sadly go the way of Firefox; from developers’ favourite to a dismal market share. It’s not just dev issues. Clients are not enjoying the Gutenberg experience.

That last topic scares me. WordPress development has been a significant part of my business. I need a new portfolio to showcase modern alternatives.

Other Business

To end on a positive note I’m closing in on 10 years self-employed! I’d like to achieve a second decade. I can’t imagine commuting to an office again. Although work from home has become more acceptable, so who knows!

I expect July to be a productive month. Either for personal development or for your project if you need me!

I’ve been enjoying Framed and Moviedle daily. Safari lost my Wordle history. Mad about that.

“Web3 is going just great” is fun with popcorn.

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