all notes  

  May 30, 2020

The Creation of This Website

The not so many reasons I built this site.

Some Background

During the COVID-19 Lockdown, I had to do something that would render my time productive, and preferaby, didn’t require more from me than sitting at my computer (because I know no better). Off the bat, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. In the meantime, one of my friends introduced me to Github’s Education Pack. While that didn’t mean much to me at first glance besides the fact that I could get a PRO tag on my Github account, getting to know Github Pages allowed me to settle on the idea that I wanted to build a website! In retrospect, I ended up not using any of the multitude of tools Github had offered.

Besides, almost all of your run-of-the-mill computer scientists maintain an online presence of sorts where they document their accomplishments and publish their technical musings. Clearly, I am no different.

Now, I only had some exposure to building websites in the Django framework, and hosting them on my computer. Surely the jump from running a website on my computer’s localhost:3000 to one that is globally available couldn’t be that hard. I truly wish I could say “well, it wasn’t” or “well, I couldn’t be more wrong about that”: these endings either give you the hopeful conclusion you are looking for, or lack thereof. Frankly, however, at times the process was harder that I thought it could be and often, it was actually easier than I expected it to be. It was a good mix, the kind that leaves you sastisfied with the final product.

Now, I could have just used a bespoke provider along the likes of WordPress and satisfied my aesthetic urges with the a selection of bespoke themes that came with that serving. But in the words of my finance-blogger friend Shehryar, who wouldn’t get why I wanted to spend so much time doing it all from scratch, “these computer scientists are weird, they look down upon each other when someone doesn’t {code}\{code\} their own website”. Now, I’m not exactly sure how true that is, but it sounded right.

This Site

I considered using the Django framework to build this site, having had some prior exposure to it. But, since the design for my website was inspired by Arun Kirubarajan’s, and his is built with Gatsby (which uses React behind the scenes), who was I to deviate from the new (trendy) norm. Moreover, I had just learned all about static websites, and really wanted this site to be one and Gatsby ended up answering that concern too. All things considered, my motivations to build this site spurred from trying to either do or learn something new, and to that end, having no prior experience with React it just seemed fitting that I used Gatsby.

I dipped my toes into Jekyll, Hugo and Middleman as well, for research’s sake, but the resources and documentation in the GatsbyJS community were overwhelmingly impressive and no major comparative red flags arose during the time I was considering all aforesaid options. In fact, there seemed to be an assortment of official and community plugins to achieve almost any task imaginable and that was well, really nice.​ I also wanted to implement my own styling and try to keep things minimal (just like it says at mf). Turns out, at $11/month for the domain name, and only that, this is just as cost effective as it could get. Credit where it’s due: we will have to thank the folks at Netlify for taking care of everything else.

I would like to go full-blown on the tiniest details of this website’s construction, with some tutorials perhaps. That does require some work on my part, and I would have to start with an outline before anything else (yes, this post isn’t outlined​). Also, since there is considerable instructional material available online (including the source code for this website), I can afford to put off the tutorials for now.

Looking Ahead

For someone who browses Awwwards because it’s therapeutic, it’s actually quite foreseeable that my work here, with this website, is not finished. Though, like it is before all good things are discovered, an exciting uncertainty prevails as I wonder what my next discovery in terms of this website is going to be. As of now, having spent nearly two weeks and after putting a lot of thought into the current rendition, I think I can sit back a bit and work on something else.

public class YoursTruly {

  public static void main(String[] args) {

  public static void useComputerScienceCliche() {
    System.out.println("Hello world!");