At the start of this year, I decided to stop writing to my dev blog and instead start publishing software development posts on this journal.
I loved the ease of publishing new software development content to this journal using write.as. But I didn't really like how it all turned out. Specifically, I thought it was jarring to be reading a post on SQL Server, then hit the homepage to find posts on video games and God. It felt awkward to me.
So, I decided to once again start publishing software development posts to a dedicated software development blog. This time around, instead of going back to a static site generator, I spun up a new dev blog on write.as. I'm hoping that the ease of publishing new content outweighs the drawbacks of having yet another website to maintain. We'll see how it goes.
During my second digital declutter, I found that I had a lot more time to tinker with my websites. And so I did. Here are some of the updates I've made to this site during that time.
Blazor WASM Search App
I've got a new Search app for this journal. It is a Blazor Web Assembly app. So, basically a .NET app written in C# that runs as a client-side web application. And it loads much faster than my previous Search app hosted on Glitch. That's because it is a static site hosted on Netlify. Which means it's always up and running. There is an initial load where your browser downloads the .NET DLLs. But after that, it should load pretty quickly next time you use it.
I took away the link to get a Random post from this journal. I did so because it had a slot machine feel to it. Watching The Social Dilemma reminded me of the slot machine nature of it. But my main reason for removing it, was because it took so long to load at times. This stood in stark contrast to how fast this Write.as powered site loads. I can redo it as a Blazor Web Assembly app, but that's not a priority right now. Maybe something to tinker with in the future.
I went from an Archive Page that used an embedded Glitch app, to a static Archive Page.
Previously, I used an embedded Glitch app to dynamically create the contents for my Archive page. It worked well, but it was also slow. It was slow because every time you visit the page, the Glitch app had to wake up, then pull all my write.as posts and finally display them in a list. The slowness was a stark contrast to other pages on this site — most of which load very quickly. I also didn't like the idea of depending on a third-party service to serve up the contents of my Archive page.
So, I've been wanting to switch to a static Archive page for awhile now. My problem was that I already had over 350 posts on this site. To get me started, I needed a way to quickly generate a list of all posts on this site. For this, I created a .NET Core console app. This app would get all my posts using the write.as API. Then the app would spit out the list of all posts in HTML format. My first pass actually had it spitting out text in Markdown. But I quickly ran into issues with Markdown and <div> elements not playing well together. So, HTML it was. Anyway, once I had the output on a text file, all I had to do was copy over the HTML and paste it into my Archive page.
For the start of 2020, I wanted to add another pinned page to this site, but I noticed that the existing pinned pages were already starting to crowd the navbar. So I wanted to unpin some of the pages to make way for a new one. I've decided to unpin two pages... for now.
Unpinned the Bookmarks Page
The original intent of the Bookmarks page was to save bookmarks for myself, while at the same time making the links available to others. Lately, I've noticed that I've stopped updating this page with new links, and instead opted to write new posts where I talk a little bit about the content of the article that I'm sharing, while at the same time sharing the link to said article. With the use of a “Bookmarks” hashtag on those posts, I feel like that is a better way to save and share bookmarks as there is some context as to why I thought a certain article/post was interesting in the first place.