Nothing is true, everything is permitted

Here we are. You, reading; me, writing. Welcome 🤗

After years and years of wanting to start a blog – here I am, starting a blog. I’ve actually had blogs before – like a self-made thing 15 years ago (back then people called it “weblog” and I do feel quite old when saying that), or another attempt somewhere in between then and now using just some static HTML pages quickly hacked up in vim.

So what was holding me back? Technicalities, really:

»What blogging software should I use?«
»Wouldn’t it be better to use a static site generator?«
»Github pages can host Jekyll blogs, sweet.«
»Oh nice, Hakyll is written in Haskell«
»<insert name here> swears by HUGO«
»You’re a kick-ass software engineer, you can’t just use wordpress…«

And here I am, setting up a wordpress blog. My wife just recently started a blog (german) about nutrition, cooking, and food. I had actively encouraged her to start one, and my hosting provider (which kicks ass BTW) just allowed for a one-click setup of wordpress at a given domain – so I told her “don’t worry, it’s quite literally a one-click thing, I’m just gonna set one up for you and you take it from there” (it actually involved three clicks, but hey). She took the offer and now her blog is flourishing. And there I was, still thinking about which static site generator to use.

Scrap that! Just do it. So I went into the technical administration board of my website’s provider, selected »wordpress« from the menu, et voilà, there’s my new blog 😁

Don’t be judgemental about the tech you use

The last time I had a look at wordpress was when a friend of mine had asked me to set one up for him. Back then my hosting provider did not provide for a few-clicks-setup yet, so I went through installing it. I wasn’t too impressed back then (it was literally more than a decade ago) and I’d seen the database schema it generated which was the biggest affront against my freshly acquired knowledge of proper database schema modelling in the the database class at university.

A year back then I was faced with the database schema of wordpress again, when I extracted some data from my wife’s book web shop for our tax accountant. After a short period of revolt (woocommerce orders are actually a special kind of post) it occurred to me that actually that ugly abomination of a database schema made quite a lot of sense for software like wordpress. The target audience is mostly shared hosting providers and people with little knowledge about server administration let alone software development or databases. The flexible structure allows everything to be built on top of it, without requiring schema changes – at the expense of some normalization and cleanliness. Which is okay – because it works, and it works well. It doesn’t have to work for millions of rows in an enterprise database, it’s just ten, twenty, a few hundreds of rows tops at a small random server somewhere in the vastness of the web.

Besides, now that I’m actually using it – what do I care about the database schema or the programming language it was written in? I am pleasantly surprised by the WYSIWYG editor (Gutenberg) that I’m typing this text into right now. And I used to hate WYSIWYG editors (mostly informed by MS Word 🤮 ). But that Gutenberg-thing actually works quite nicely. And while it might be a little less efficient than just hacking away the code, it saves me from that write-render-preview loop that I constantly find myself getting into when I use non-WYSIWYG systems.

A tool just has to do the job it’s designed to do

I am a huge fan of the Haskell programming language, so I did set up a Hakyll site before. It’s a nice tool actually, but it still requires me to come up with some deployment procedure to my webspace, which in turn requires me to keep a password/secret somewhere and I need to set that up again when I get a new machine. And I can’t author anything at all when I’m at a random machine somewhere else, say, an Internet Café anywhere in the world.

So, while all those static site generators might be technically superior, or more efficient/pleasant to write in, and do not require me to run an active component in my webspace – all that is moot given the flexibility that my teeny-tiny self-hosted wordpress offers. I can use it anywhere where I have access to the web and that’s great.

I don’t care whether it’s written in PHP and whether that is the worst language ever designed. It gets the job done really well.

So what am I gonna write about?

Working as a software engineer I developed a huge lot of opinions about software engineering, software, and tech in general; so I’ll definitely blog about that. There’s also these situations where some software is really cranky and you spend days on getting it do to that supposedly simple thing you want it to do, I’m going to share these things whenever I run across them. Besides that, I don’t know yet. Whatever comes to mind, whenever I feel like it, wherever I am connected to the web 🤓

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