2018/01/28/patchy

I cracked open a beer and spent the night inside just writing small bugfixes for the site and adding pagination (not that you could tell until there's at least ten posts up).

To my knowledge, I've programmed something like three working blogs all by myself that I actually wound up using. Let's interpret "using" loosely: between the three of them, I've averaged two posts before dropping them entirely. My desire to write posts in the blogs I've programmed usually gives way to my desire to fix the many bugs I left lying around as I haphazardly made the blogs themselves. Eventually, the codebase becomes a mess that I don't want to refactor, and then shame kicks in. How could I use my own site, I think to myself, knowing that I played Doctor Frankenstein with the backend and made a monster?

Monsters they were. My first blog was written after I took my first basic web development course in university. Back then, all I had learned about backend programming was in that course, and it wasn't much: I walked out of it knowing how to write inline PHP and navigate XML files, so I stuck to those two "proficiencies". All of the posts I wrote were originally written up as .txt files, and when I wanted to upload them I ran a Python script to append the post to a master XML file containing all the posts. As I recall, either the filename itself or the first line was used as the title. It was a total mess, but looking back, I'm pretty impressed that I managed to pull it off. A custom copy of the code I wrote is still in use, minus the Python script for uploading, by a former barmaid from my local dive who posts poetry.

My second attempt at a blog was cleaner and much more recent. Once the Summer of 2017 rolled in, I wanted to have a project I could show off to potential employers at career fairs in my last year at university, so my thoughts drifted towards making a blog that followed Model-View-Controller principles at least remotely and made use of a proper database. I have a simultaneous love for Python and distaste for the Django web framework (one day I'll learn to eat my vegetables), so I went for the lighter Flask web framework and got to work. I made the mistake of writing raw SQL queries in the engine code, which became a pain when it was time to write more complicated stuff like the tagging system I implemented. Sure, everything worked, but by then my backend was becoming convoluted and hard to manage once again. The code still sees use today for another friend's blog: they're using it for poetry too.

Fast-forward to the present and I have a job (for now), as well as a healthy spoonful of ennui and a tendency to let my mind wander. In this iteration of the blog, I've gotten rid of tags and databases in a nod to the fact that I don't really need them if all I wanna do is write. I recently came across some good advice on writing, so I'm keeping it in mind as long as I can, and it's that nobody wants to read your shit. I find that a liberating thought.