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What has creating a Website Done for you

This probably won't be the most interesting blog post. I don't particularly have a "point" here, so much as rattling off how I began making sites, and what it lead to. I imagine most people who host their own sites have similar experiences!

Firstly, it's worth noting how I began making websites. I learnt to make basic websites early in secondary school, and it was more just playing around and displaying things. It filled me with a lot of joy, despite how horrific it was to write them, using notepad.

I then tried out Adobe Dreamweaver, and anyone who has used that before in the past knows what a mistake that was. Of course me not knowing better, I just did that and didn't think much of it. My experience was... honestly pretty bad.

Later on, I became a bit edgier in personality, and discovered the lainchan imageboard. Though I never posted there, I lurked. This was around the time of 2015 where the internet was beginning to become notably polarising. I'm fairly glad it was around this time I stumbled into Neocities and began poking around with my own website here.

=> You can still see the old website I had in this domain's internet archive as well as on neocities.

Personally, Neocities did a lot of good work, resparking what people loved about making websites. It was also around this time that I learnt to use Linux and moved fully over to it during University. This was mostly due to the abysmal Windows 8 and similarly abysmal Windows 10 experience.

This of course sent me down the rabbit hole of distro hopping and all that, that led to a lot of joy using Linux. Of course, this joy began to decay and rot away because there's only so much excitement one can get out of trying new UIs and UXs. I did eventually settle down, using a dwm system. It was also around this time that I began hosting my site properly with a VPS, inspired(or impressed upon by?) by Luke Smith.

I at first, did it in a fairly standard, self-made static site generator, but that began to get clunky. I saw the larger Javascript ecosystem and did not want any part of it(though I have drank the kool-aid when it comes down to my book store, as payment processing is better done that way).

I can't remember how I stumbled upon it. Probably from the suckless software guys mentioning it briefly on their site? Regardless, I stumbled into werc, and haven't really looked back. For all my static site, and the vast majority of my dynamic purposes, werc meets my demands in excess! It was one of the few systems which cared about simplicity without obfuscating it behind abstractions, and without flaring up my allergies to unnecessary complexity.

Nowadays when I look at the modern web development sphere, I can't help but feel a bit sad, and dismayed by how most people are going to be misled and take so many wrong turns in trying to make a simple website. Regardless, this is my story of how I settled on werc. Lets have a look at what it's done for me:

- Pointed me towards trying out other Web development tools(Static Site generators, plain writing HTML, writing markdown, Dreamweaver, werc etc).

- Brought me in contact with lainchan, and in general with other webmasters. Many of whom I enjoy discourse with on forums or in email(which most people probably don't get, but an email discourse is *far* more gratifying than social media discourse because it more closely parallels writing letters, and is more private and personal, so there's not that almost audience-like acting that happens).

- Pointed me towards Linux and server hosting(which itself can't be ignored as Linux is a far better experience than Windows... even though Windows 7 used to be a better experience than Linux! How the tables turn!). With server hosting, it's not just the webserver, but also running game servers so I can play the clunkier less integrated multiplayer games with friends.

- A space to practice my essay writing. You'll see in my blogs that my writing goes from pretty mediocre or bad, to becoming a lot more pointed- possibly contrarian or disagreeable, but also concise and sharper. This blog post is almost definitely an exception because it's not got a strong point. I believe this is probably the most interesting advantage, as the person who writes a lot, will develop not just a style, but a knack for linguistic expression. Of course, linguistic expression is one thing, websites also occupy that multimedia space where non-verbal expression can be accomplished, at somewhere between the bridge of books, and videogames in terms of interaction. This non-verbal expression, if used as the medium, is potent but for websites I don't believe it's really fully explored. The most notable exploration is fauxx's lain website. While I haven't explored this(...much. is only passably *that* and not a very good example)

- And perhaps the most important one of all. It gives me a definite "plot of land" on the internet. A well-defined area that is my own, that is the expression of my thoughts, beliefs, opinions and even my own technical understanding. While it's a joke to mention "landlords" and how owning land is more real, the digital equivalent of "more real" is owning your own website and the like. Of course, the rug can be pulled out under your feet at any time if the host goes bust, but that's what backups are for.

Note this blog post is a submission to the 32 bit cafe's 3rd community code jam

Published on 2024/03/20

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