New Website, Who Dis?

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I deployed a new version of my personal site, and I'm so excited about it!

This site was inspired in large part by the principles of minimalism, and social media feeds. I wanted my site to feel like you're just browsing my social profile, scanning through updates published by me, only instead of it being nothing but social content, but also everything I've ever published online, anywhere, all in one place. I want to use my site as a central hub, which is so much more than a blog these days.

You'll notice that some of the content on this site doesn't actually open the post directly on this site. Instead, it will open the content through the corresponding site. That's because a lot of the content I publish has a better home, such as mine and my wife's RV Travel blog, CasualWeirdness, or my Web Development course site, WPDevAcademy. There's even some posts from discussions I've published on GitHub, as well as guest content I've published on other sites.

I'm working on consolidating all of my content in a single WordPress install, and the hope is that I can create NextJS-based websites for the other blogs I run, much like I did for this one, and have all of them use this single source of truth for all of the content that gets displayed on those respective websites. This will allow me to publish my content on WordPress, and have it automatically show up on my personal blog as well as any other site I think it should display without needing to do any kind of weird syncing.

The site is built with NextJS using the headless boilerplate made by WebDev Studios. I ended up selecting this as my starting point mostly because they had already figured what I think is the most significant challenge with headless WordPress - how to turn the actual blog content into proper React components instead of embedding content with dangerouslySetInnerHtml. I gutted a lot of what they did, mostly because I wanted to understand how to build a NextJS site (this is my first one!). If you want more technical details, check out the case study I wrote about this site.

This is really only version 1 of the site - I still have many personal touches I still want to add to make it my own. For example, A lot of my design intent on my site has been to acknowledge my own personal history, asking myself things like "If the sky was the limit when I was 14 years old, what would my personal website look like?" This is bringing up some really fun design decisions that are contrary to what you may otherwise expect a "grown up" site to have, such as:

  1. A music playlist showing what songs I'm listening to
  2. Links to gaming, and music profiles
  3. A structure that supports personal content publishing without separating from professional
  4. A fun toggle that switches between what this site looks like now, and what it would look like if I built it when I was 14.

Another thing I want to add, is really freaking good RSS support. Right now, the RSS feed basically shows any content that is published under "articles", which I think is a very sane default considering that's what most people expect when they visit a website's RSS feed these days. I want to take it a lot further though, and set this up so that you can basically query the site for any combination of tags, categories, and search terms, and get a feed that only shows that specific content. Don't care about my RV Life content, but want to keep up-to-date with what's going on with Adiungo? I think you should be able to do that.

I also want to work on actually getting comments to function on the site, and also import all of my historical Twitter tweets, and Mastodon posts, and then set it up so that I can auto-publish content posted on here to Mastodon (or whatever social accounts I can).

But...for now. The site is looking pretty good I think. Overall, I'm pleased, and am excited that I have finally gotten over the hump of getting the initial version live so I can start iterating at a smaller scale.