A couple of years ago now, I was planning to attend my first ever GDC and I wanted to be as prepared as possible. I needed business cards, an up to date resume, clever things on Twitter, and, of course, a web site with my portfolio. Resume and Twitter gave me no trouble. And with help from my awesome spouse, I was armed with really fucking rad business cards. The key problem: they pointed to a domain completely devoid of content!
Ever since the Geocities days, I’ve dabbled with making a personal web site. However, I never really had any content I considered useful enough to follow through with it. This time, I had a pressing need for one, which led me to decide that it was finally time to learn How to Make a Real Web Site From Scratch™!
I made a real honest attempt at it. I watched a 6 hour video to learn modern CSS and HTML, all while diligently coding up the examples and doing every practice problem. By the end of the course, I was ready. I had already chosen to make a static web site using GitHub Pages and Hugo—a relatively new and awesome static site framework—I just had to get to work. So, with some more design help from my spouse, I created a simple site that I was pretty pleased with:
Success! That is, until I looked at my list of features and improvements that I wanted for it. With my rudimentary knowledge of web development and ambitious goals for the site, I had spent dozens of hours researching and working on tech and less than one writing content.
GDC came and went. I planned to work on the site, but could quite never find the time. Slowly, days turned to weeks turned to months. When I finally got a chance to work on the web site, I was embarrassed by how empty I’d left it! So much so that I put up a “Coming Soon” page, in hopes that it would encourage me to do more work:
More time passed yet the page stayed the same. Luckily for me, in the
intervening years, Hugo had evolved a theming system with a large gallery of
themes to choose from. Awww, yissss! It was time to give up my dreams of
hand-crafting a web site and use someone else’s theme. I looked at several
great themes, but chose to go with Hugo Future Imperfect. This was a
great way to build a static web site! In a few hours I was able to
a new repository, configure the theme, write some content, and push the site
to GitHub Pages. Which you are reading right now.
Well, it was a long, meandering path to get to this point, but I am very happy with the results. I think we can all agree that the moral of this story is to never do something from scratch that you need done before next week. Especially if you’ve no idea what you’re getting into.