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The cost of custom
Nov 16, 2017
3 minutes read

I’ve been working on software for a few years now, one aspect I discovered quickly is the cost of custom.

2 years ago, I wanted to build myself a website. My own website. Not an altered Wordpress template or an expensive Squarespace page, something custom. So I did. I went on and gathered all of my (limited) knowledge of web technologies. I fought my way through a (very unappealing) mountain of HTML, CSS and JavaScript code until I came out victorious, with my very own, very custom website. vfuc.co

I couldn’t really impress anyone with it, but that didn’t matter. I made it myself and I was proud. I put many hours into creating my website, adding initial blog posts and creating pages to share my projects.

And then I never bothered to update it. Not a single post, not one new page. Of course it wasn’t like I had nothing to share, it was simply too cumbersome to add new content. It was the cost of keeping everything custom.

Trial and error

It was a valuable lesson, and one that I rehashed in many software projects since. The sweet spot between customisability and maintainability is often hard to find, but well worth the search.

Fortunately, my few web development endeavors yield a positive example for this as well.

My second larger web project was tastytunes, a website to share music I like. Read more about it here but essentially, each song is an entry in a long list of music I discover over time. I was well aware that the harder I made it to add content, the less likely I would be to do so.

So I built myself the laziest user workflow I could think of: a single terminal command. tt https://soundcloud.com/artist/song is all it takes now to add a new song to the website. (A shell script extracts metadata, posts to a database, the website pulls from there.)

At the time of writing, I have posted 1312 songs to tastytunes.

My website, take two

As you’ll have noticed, vfuc.co is no more. I’ve decided on a fresh start with jonas.lol and I’m optimistic to be close to that sweet spot again. This time, I’m using the help of hugo (and a customized version of the Cocoa theme). It’s pretty cool. New posts are written in Markdown, static pages are created automatically and published on every commit.

The effort to create is fairly low and I’m eager to be more active this time around. That said, welcome to jonas.lol and thanks for the read! 🙂


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