🐯 PORTFOLIO BOOKS CODE

About the design
of this site...

In a few words: "Retro 1995"...sort of.

You see, I learned to program HTML at a very young age, at a time when few understood why we even would want an "Information Superhighway". If you remember that regrettable term oft overused by the media and advertising, then I hear you. This abuse of our collective intelligence would only get worse when everyone in marketing took literal the cloud icon in our UML diagrams. <Cringe />.

In those early days of the Web, the best designers were all print designers. The hottest stuff was blurry, grunged-out photography and disintegrated typography. It was Raygun. Or it was the original Wired before they sucked. I like that stuff, if it's done with authenticity. But rather than over-the-top print design shoe-horned into the browser, I actually prefer "Lo-Fi" web design (is that a thing?) with minimal CSS (but maximal JavaScript).

Yes: Simple, clean, pure, HTML 1.0.

In my web-dev days I used everything from ASP, JSP, Struts, and a dozen other package implementations (ATG, Documentum, etc). I learned some Java. Some C#. But I longed for motion design, without knowing what that was, yet. Long before HTML 5, before Canvas (but after Java Applets and Macromedia Director) I became an ActionScript developer, working with other ex-Java devs (for some reason) and alongside legit architects with real C.S. degrees to build huge systems for fortune 500s. Using Flash! Sometimes integrated into mixed platforms (Java and dot Net)!

The more things change the more they stay the same.

A few years back I learned ReactJS, and got into that for a bit. I built a few sites using Material UI and thought about how I could get the same "look" of a React site but not use React, because most of the time the added complexity of setup and maintenance is not needed. When I rebuilt a client's site using React, I realized it was not only complete overkill, but many of their so-called design patterns are pure rubbish. Much like how WordPress became an unmaintainable cluster, React is equally a nightmare and will meet the same fate of configurable hubris. (Honestly, React is the WordPress of the future. It will become pre-packaged, templatized garbage-ware.)

Here's an example of this ignorance: CSS should not be rendered by JavaScript. React wants you to do stuff like this. There's tons of software to help you do this. Try npm install jss. Nothing wrong with trying this stuff out to see if it helps you. Just know this going in: These tools are examples of "tight coupling", and that's a bad thing your Chief Architect in your shop might have mentioned. But you don't need a CS degree to understand that, just go try to fix some CSS bugs on a major website that is rendering out the CSS dynamically from multiple places in the code. You will literally burn DAYS fixing those otherwise tediously simplistic bugs. Big shot "full stack" devs have a hard time wrestling down CSS bugs, I've observed. They're crappy bugs to fix. Always have been.

So, I got rid of bad things and ergo, crappy bugs.

I go for solutions that echo Martin Fowler and Kent Beck's advice: do the simplest thing that could possibly work. You get more done this way, and you scale in complexity as needed. You also scale out complexity as required. This remains my approach to a lot of things.

For my own work, side-hustles and freelance gigs, I know I can do everything with PHP templates, CSS, and a MySQL database. Very simple!!! Easy to maintain. Easy to change. Easy to scale up or down.

Simpler is better.

Apologies if you find UI bugs and whatnot. This is, after all, an iteration.

Thanks for dropping in.