So I decided to build a blog

I've been working on Check Run Reporter for quite a while now. Maybe a bit too long. Though there are a few more smallish features I want to add to it and some marketing I'd like to do, I largely consider it "finished". Mostly, I think it's time to take a break from spending most of my free time on side projects, but I do want to start writing.

Why

Doesn't every engineer get the itch at some point? And then only write this one post that you're reading now? More seriously, it's something I've been thinking about for a while, for a few different reasons.

Check Run Reporter

There's a lot that I learned building Check Run Reporter. It's gone through a bunch of tech changes, including:

  • server-only rendering, custom ssr+client-side renering, NextJS and now Remix
  • Web app powered by direct DB reads, then GraphQL, and now direct reads again
  • Heroku, then EC2, and now Lambda
  • Heroku Postgres, Aurora serverless, and now DynamoDB
  • Mostly terraform and now mostly CloudFormation I think I built a bunch of really cool and useful bits of tech to support all those different things and it would be a shame if they were just lost to my git history. That being said, I'm not interested in turning them into supported, open-source projects, and so, my intent is to share them as blog posts with code snippets to talk about how I solved various problems in the hopes those stories help others.

Door Dash et al

Largely thanks to COVID, but even before that, I order, well, perhaps too much delivery food. I'd sort of like to start a restaurant review site that reviews the mid-tier stuff. I'm not comfortable leaving reviews on Door Dash itself, because there's too much possibility that one bad review will ruin a family-run restaurant's livelihood. On the other hand, I'd love to know which of the thousand generic pizza places there are nearby actually make a good, non-artisan pie.

Photography

I'm a (very) amateur photographer. I've got maybe 50 photos on Flickr, but they stopped innovating a while back, and it doesn't feel like an easy place to share stuff anymore. Since nothing really seems good for photo-sharing these days, I'd like somewhere to put my photos (and maybe do a bit of travel-blogging at the same time).

How

I've got a few different things I want to add beyond just having somewhere to write. First, I do feel it's important that I own my content and so the source of truth will live on a domain I own. That said, I do intend to syndicate to a few other locations (Medium and Dev, for example). I don't want to do the syndication manually. I probably also want to post in a few places when a new post comes out (Twitter, LinkedIn, Polywork, etc), but at the same time, I don't necessarily want to annoy an audience there that doesn't care.

I'd been hoping to handle syndication by way of a headless CMS, but none of them (except, perhaps, headless Wordpress) seem to help with that sort of thing.

For now, my plan is to write markdown files and just serve them using Remix's built-in support for MDX to serve the main site and I'll use a combination of deploy-time and scheduled GitHub actions to deal with syndication.

I still may end up using a headless CMS at some point, but, without syndication support, I think using one only makes things more complex.

When?

Hahaha. Don't ask me questions like that. The answer will never be correct and we'll both just feel worse about the attempt :)