I tweeted an article I’d read not long ago about how to start writing. As I wanted to do the same. I also wanted to start coding again.
How? You just start.
After creating a list of sites our team had produced since day one I realised I hadn’t coded a website for 2 years.
So what have I been doing?
Consultancy, research, support, reporting. Adjusting processes and looking for efficiencies. Rolling out new tools such as Helpdesk Software and InvisionApp. All to help the team become more productive. Gathering requirements for projects, writing functional specifications and quality assurance. Looking for areas of growth and success for our clients.
Don’t you miss it?
I didn’t think I did. I get my hands dirty on a daily basis working with our UX/UI Designers and Web Designers. Sharing ideas and techniques with our Developers.
That was until I decided I wanted to relaunch my own personal website. I wanted a playground to jump back into front-end development again and not be left behind. I also wanted to start writing.
I’m not a writer. Never have been.
In school I struggled. At the age of 11, according to my teacher, I was 2 years behind my reading age. I’m more of a visual person. That’s why I was successful in Art, Graphics and Creative Design Technology. My grammar isn’t great and I use tools like Grammarly to check my written communication. Oh and Hemingway Editor is pretty cool too.
Don’t get me wrong, I can read and write… I’m not expecting sympathy for being inept. I just won’t be writing any novels any time soon.
So back to coding…
I won’t get into technical detail here of how. I’ll save that for later posts broken down into more granular detail.
I wanted to launch a small site for myself as quickly as possible. I decided to start with a content first approach and focus on the aesthetics later on. I could of used Umbraco CMS to upload and manage my content as I’ve been working with it for around 5 years now. But like I said, I wanted something to play with, something new…
That’s why I decided to give Jekyll a go. Jekyll? Jekyll is a static site generator. Taking raw text files in various formats and converting them into a static website.
Jekyll also happens to be the engine behind GitHub Pages. This means I can use Jekyll to host my site from GitHub’s servers for free.
Although Jekyll has been around for years and I’d never tried it before it didn’t take me long to get up and running.
I stripped the template provided back to basics so I could understand more about how it works. Replaced the SASS files in the template with Bootstraps full library. I’m currently only using a tiny amount of what Bootstrap provides. But that’s the beauty of SASS as I can comment out what’s not needed to produce my own version of Bootstrap.
I’ve set up and added Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and launched a basic homepage and blog to start with.
My aim to keep the page speed load as fast as possible. The only thing not possible with this solution is the ability to enable leverage browser caching.
New home, new name.
While deciding on a domain for my site I made a milestone decision. To change my username/handle, ‘jamesicon’, for pretty much everything to tie in with my new domain name of choice ‘iamjimtaylor’.
Who is Jamesicon?
That’s me… Well it was. Back in 1998 I’d formed a band called Iconoclast. Around the same time I’d bought my first PC, subscribed to a 56k dial-up connection and registered my first email account with hotmail. [email protected]
So armed with a PC, a love of design and a band I thought ‘we need a website’. And that’s where my passion for coding began.
Anyways… Within a few hours of registering a domain and updating the DNS my new site was live.
And there you have it. I’m coding again. I’ve also written a blog post! Two birds one stone. If you’re thinking about doing anything. Just start.