This past year has been a time of transition for me. Last August, I moved from the AWS client tools team to AWS Ground Station and from Washington State to Washington, D.C. After getting to work with some extraordinary people to see Ground Station evolve from an idea to a preview to a generally available AWS service, I decided to seek a position at the US Digital Service, where I’ll be starting work next Monday. I’m looking forward to starting and am using some of the time between my last day at Amazon and my first day at USDS to set up this blog.

I’ll be reading through Antonio Cangiano’s Technical Blogging to get a basic primer on the ins and outs of running a blog, as I know next to nothing about building up an audience. But I’ve already settled on what my larger technical and content goals should be.

Technical goals

From a technical perspective, I want to run a blog with a minimal footprint.

To reduce the computational impact on both the client and server, that means using a generator to create static HTML. The only software running on the server will be Nginx, and I won’t be using a client-side framework for static content. JavaScript will be used for demos, but posts and site navigation will work and look the same for readers who have disabled JS. After looking over some static generator options at StaticGen, I opted to use Zola over Jekyll mostly because it runs on Windows, supports custom taxonomies and syntax highlighting, and doesn’t require any PyPI or RubyGems dependencies.

I also want this blog to have a minimal footprint on the network, so I won’t be using a CSS framework like Bootstrap or Foundation. It’s been a while since I wrote much CSS, so learning the new features should be a fun challenge.

And lastly, I want this blog to have a minimal footprint on reader’s privacy. I won’t be using any third-party trackers or using any CSS, JS, or fonts hosted elsewhere.

Content goals

As far as content goes, I plan on posting

  • short tutorials related to personal projects,
  • reviews of technical books I’ve read and reacted strongly to, and
  • summaries of and slides from talks I give at meetups and conferences.

To seed this site, I’ll be cannibalizing two previous attempts to start a blog that I had left in private repositories on GitHub. Both contained a single post, though the earliest one also included a full import of a Blogger blog I kept while teaching myself to program with Project Euler.