You know how sometimes things just happen when the time is right? That’s what happened here. I’ve always had “publish personal website” way down at the bottom of my todo list, waiting for it’s time to shine, and now it looks like all the stars have aligned. With metric tonnes of help from my bro, I’ve been able to finally mark this done. Here’s what went into it…
Beam me up, Scotty!
No one gets anywhere without some co-ordinates, so the first thing I needed was my very own address on the web. As homage to my birthplace, Guyana, South America, I decided on a .gy domain. If you’d like one, head on over to https://registry.gy. They offer cutting edge e-commerce amenities such as “pay by wire”, but, I wanted the full local experience (and also save $35 wire fee), so I had my boo get in his car, drive to their local bank, deposit the registration fee into their account, and email me a cellphone picture of the receipt, which I then emailed as proof of payment. With payment verified, the registry got to work, and boom! I got my very own hutson.gy domain.
But, sharing is caring. I wanted all Hutsons to share in this great triumph. A catchy little subdomain is well enough for me. But to make that happen, I needed a nameserver – one of the unmentioned amenities of the registry is that you HAVE to bring your own nameserver. All good, my brotha from anotha motha is a big fan of CloudFlare. You might have come across one of his nifty little tools – https://ipaddy.net – which he built using CloudFlare Workers. You would be pleased to know that CloudFlare is working hard to build a better internet, so, they went ahead and built an end-to-end solution for moving bits across the world, which included – you guessed it – nameservers. Then they gave it away for free. So, with the $35 I saved in banking fees, I went out to buy some ice-cream, possibly something with chocolate, and maybe a beer, and then proceeded to setup my CloudFlare account. Their dashboard was eazy peazy to work with, so a few minutes later, boom! I ended up with my very own will.hutson.gy subdomain.
Home sweet home
The nice thing about home is that, as long as you have access, its always there, 24/7. I now needed a home on the web to store my bits. That probably didn’t come out right, but maybe it did. Anyways, bonus points if this new home came with a butler that did imperial tons of stuff for me and kept the lights on. Luckily, my BFF is also lazy af just as me, so he uses Netlify to host his bits. So our bits are now joined in the same place. The nice thing about Netlify is that it does a bunch of stuff automatically, sometimes even without anyone telling it what to do. Just give it your bits, and boom! You end up with a published website.
The moment of truth is here. It’s time to publish my bits. (I’ll stop using that word, I promise. You won’t see it for the rest of this article.)
Now, there are a great number of ways one can go about this. Back in the day, when kids like me would publish websites on Geocities (God bless her soul) we’d handcraft each byte of HTML into a text file. Raw, unadulterated soup of mistakes. Fast forward a few years, millenials would start to use WYSIWYG apps to automatically generate identical soups of mistakes. Nowaday’s WYSIWYG is still here, but the beautiful, useless visual placeholders one would excitedly toss around a browser tab with one’s cursor has been replaced with npm package READMEs on Github.
I thought this was all I had to work with. But my homebizzle told me of a slow but growing rebellion movement, started in the land of Netlify, disrupting easily distracted startups around the world. “https://jamstack.org” he whispered. I was intrigued, and dismayed. Simple, yet complex – how could this work? Turns out it works because the world is filled with people lazy af who build tools to automate complexity away so that mankind can take one more step forward. Next.js, Gatsby, Hugo, Jekyll. “I’ve heard of Jekyll – great story.” Equally great static site generator as well, happens to be. A little bit of vim editing on a dark and stormy night, and boom! A delicious bowl of soup.
Back to the future
I’m a dev. My Comrade is a dev. Devs make mistakes like nothing you’ve ever seen. So, we use a next-gen, galactic tool called versioning, so we can make U-turns at major “nope” events. Like all gamechangers, this tool had a badass name – git. Yeah, like get but with an i. It has a lot of powerful magic, like being distributed, so everyone uses a central server to store its data. Some popular ones: Github, Bitbucket, Gitlab. They’re all great, but Gitlab really brings out the hacker in you, in my opinion. It’s brimming with smart features, and is often leading the herd. Once you go Gitlab, you never revert. So I commited, and boom! 1.21 gigawatts is now at my disposal to turn back…the hands of time .
So there you have it – a quick little story about how this site finally came together. I hope it’s been as colorful a journey for you as it has been for me, which is very probable if you had a partner in crime like I did