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Evolution of My Portfolio

July 22, 2021

I’ve had a somewhat tortuous relationship with my portfolio over the last couple of years. Rightly or wrongly (I think now wrongly), I’ve tended to rebuild my portfolio site in whatever technology I was interested in at the time.


I started out in web development. I was wildly enthusiastic about Wordpress in the beginning, to the point I’d use Wordpress when all I needed was a static site of a couple of pages. Like my original portfolio. I didn’t have any desire to write about the web development process in the beginning, or the finer points of say, this plugin vs. that, theming practices, and what have you. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, I just didn’t want to think too much about it when I wasn’t actually working. So I built my portfolio and ended up spending most my time trying to make the relatively elaborate design I’d created responsive. With mixed results. Looked great in desktop through.


Then I got interested in Laravel. It seemed so much more elegant and logical, with a clear MVC structure and OOP PHP that was so intuitive to use it didn’t occur to me it was actually OOP until I’d been using it for a year or so. I started off with Laracasts, the tutorial site devoted to all things Laravel run by my first teacher (or my ‘man crush’ as my wife used to say, since I watched his videos so much) Jeffry Way, when he was still with Tutsplus. But Laracasts was more about building apps. I’d developed a vague notion of blogging about what I did for a living and basically wanted to recreate a Wordpress blog, but in Laravel. I found this [PHP and Laravel course][] by Edwin Diaz. I liked Edwin’s style and friendly tone, but like so many Udemy courses, it was looong.Even Edwin seemed to acknowledge this - towards the end of the course he seemed exhausted by his own teaching (‘Hello, my dear students! Here we go again … '). I did, however, get a working blog going and it was a great way to learn a lot about Laravel. But, alas, it was difficult to get the text to render properly as packages went out of date, and the interface itself was clumsy, particularily when it came to uploading images.


Then came Django. Brad Traversy, still one of my favorite teachers on Udemy and Youtube (Traversy Media) had a good course on Udemy on building with Django. I wanted to learn python, with a view to finding a world beyond web development, and Django seemed a good place to start. It was less cumbersome to build with than Laravel, and a good introduction to the python metaverse, but in the end it too, proved less than ideal for blogging, mostly because of the same difficulties with images as Laravel.


Then along came gatsby.js. I knew I had to get better at javascript, and particularly React, which everyone seems to want. I’d learned Vue.js when building with Laravel, and preferred it - before hooks came along, React.js could insanely verbose and hard to understand - but Gatsby, while superficially simple, proved to be more complicated than I’d expected. Still, I liked the idea of just writing up posts in Markdown, adding an image or two in the same folder - and pushing to build. No database, just files. Completely control over syntax, layout. I also wanted to learn more about animations, and this seemed the simplest method to experiment with animations, and other effects.

So I persevered and now have the site you see now. Hopefully I won’t feel the need to do it all over again anytime soon. Cause it’s a lot of freakin’ work that should really be going into writing.