Finding my place online

Back in the days when I had just started blogging, my dream was to learn whatever there is to learn about building websites and one day become a popular person on the internet. It could perhaps be done by disseminating my gained knowledge through hundreds or thousands of blog posts. It was a silly dream, but that was 14 years ago! That was a time when 256 kbps “broadband” was still a luxury in India. I was a teenager and like all other teenagers I wanted to do something “big”.

Freddie Mercury wearing a crown and robe.
I wanted to become the f**ing king of the Internet.

As I grew up, my access to technology increased, and so did my desire. My dream became my passion. Unlike dozens of peers around me, I was clear about the direction I was heading. I wanted to leave a mark in the world of web development.

When the average Indian was still smitten by Orkut, I was already using Facebook. When my fellow Indians discovered Facebook, I had moved onto Twitter. Life was fun and enjoyable.

Twitter made so many average joes famous. I wanted to be one of them.

But somewhere something changed. The need to build a strong online identity somehow got deprioritized. If I look back at the early days of my career: sure I was usually knee-deep busy with office work and what not (CAT/GMAT prep, Granular, etc.), but could there be better tools than Twitter and Facebook to help leave a mark? After all, Twitter was still new and I was sort of a regular. In retrospect, I should have worked seriously on my online identity then. Sure I tried in chunks—organizing and reorganizing my blog, randomly updating Twitter, etc.—but these were infrequent instances.

When I come across a well-written blog, Twitter post or forum thread—as part of my office work or personal learning—I feel both good and bad. I feel good out of appreciation for the work. I feel bad out of the overwhelmingly stinking thought that I do not have a single such outstanding post to my credit. It literally sucks to be me in those moments.

Anyway, still not everything is lost. I have a long career ahead of me, and with some careful planning now I’m confident that I can make up for what’s lost. In the next few days, I’ll be overhauling this blog quite a bit. I still keep learning lots of new (& cool) stuff. I intend to be more regular with my knowledge sharing here. That’s what I do and love, even if no one ends up reading my stuff ;). Well, sometimes they do but mostly they don’t.

YEAH! I am coming soon…

Stay tuned.

The WordPress Conundrum or How Medium Won the Blogging Race

Featured image credit https://themegrill.com/blog/medium-vs-wordpress

So apparently Medium has redefined the blogging ecosystem. It’s like every fourth blog post I come across is on Medium. Have all serious bloggers moved away from WordPress to Medium?

Has WordPress–once bloggers’ paradise–not kept pace with the changing blogging landscape? Don’t get me wrong. I adore WordPress, which also powers this very website.

I think one of the key reasons for WP falling out of favor of serious bloggers lies in the way it is used today. Because of its huge plugins and themes ecosystem, people are using it as a general-purpose CMS rather than using it as a standalone blogging engine. Individuals, startups and enterprises are building beautiful websites on top of WordPress. In fact, in the last couple of years whenever I decided to change my blog’s theme I ended up being thrown at me (by Google search results) ‘top’ WP themes that were all startupy and enterprisey. Just what happened to the bloggy themes? Seems like theme designers no longer care about blog-focused themes; they create what people demand.

I have high hopes that the upcoming v5 of WordPress will be revolutionary and will bring back fun to blogging.

Ionic Studio looks exciting (I hope it will be free)

The Ionic team has just dropped a bomb in my inbox. The bomb even has a name – Ionic Studio. Still in preview, Studio is Ionic’s official integrated development environment (IDE). I believe they have done a fantastic job by concentrating on the thing that’s their defining feature — UI Components. Of course, things like managing plugins, resources and all from GUI make life easy. But by making it easier to create beautiful interfaces they have done something really good.

Those with some experience with building Ionic apps already know about Ionic Creator. But they also know that the tool is screaming to be updated since long, and is not entirely bug-free. Something like Ionic Studio will really make it easy to create apps quickly.

I like the clean looks it sports. It seems to have been built on the proven and trusty VS Code / Electron platform. Perhaps you have other ideas about its base?

Fascinated by opinionated frameworks

Reading the Rails Doctrine the first time was refreshing. I have gone through it half a dozen times post that. After writing a production-grade project based on Ruby on Rails, something got awoken in me — a fascination for opinionated frameworks. Rails is not the only opinionated framework; there are perhaps a hundred others out there. It’s one of the best and most respected for sure.

An opinionated framework is one that, rather than letting a developer pick her or his choice of building blocks (libraries, components, structure, etc.), cockily comes with a pre-selected building blocks and dictates what to use and how. One may love them or hate them, but they definitely reduce development time exponentially. That’s, at least, true for me.

Today I chanced upon Prettier – an opinionated code formatter with lots of assumptions and only a few customization options, the sort of thing I’d love. It’d be nice to have a powerful tool by my side that could take care of the arduous task of keeping my code nicely formatted all the time, even when it might be at the cost of my own style of coding. I am mostly willing to sacrifice coding style for speed.

I’ll try using it extensively in a personal project. If I have something bad to report, you’ll see another blog post here. If not, it’ll be for the good of Prettier 😉