A hermit crab walking in its shell across the sand
A hermit crab must also find a new home when she outgrows the old one. Photo by Jehu Christian on Unsplash.

Making a Home on the Web

Hej you, welcome to my personal website! 🤗

For the greater part of the last 6 years, this here was nothing more than a digital business card. It was ever so hastily updated every once in a while, any time I applied to a new job — just to make sure there was nothing obviously embarassing on it.

But in December 2020, while I was stuck in quarantine for more than a week, I got the sudden urge to make something out of this site.

The last year has taken a toll on nearly every person I know, in some way or another. Things we took for granted — things we assumed to be under our control — turned out not to be under our control at all.

In the isolation, and with very few local contacts after moving to the Netherlands in 2019, I’ve also been craving for community, both online and offline — a sense of community I haven’t found on Twitter or any of the other go-to “social” places on the web.

And so in the midst of this, I’ve decided to carve out my own little space in the universe of personal websites. It’s not a lot, but it’s something I can control. It’s a place where I can safely experiment, make mistakes, and battle my own perfectionism, on my own terms. I’m joining many people in a renaissance of the personal website, and I’m excited and curious where this is headed.

On the technical side, I went with the times and dropped the likes of Gatsby and Next (which I value highly for other purposes) for Eleventy, an old-fashioned (but not old!) static site generator. It’s great. So much just works out of the box, and it was a strange pleasure to just write some HTML, some Markdown, and plain CSS.

It’s so fast, I even took the libery of adding some web fonts into the mix.

There's a strange joy in the simple, especially if my daily work involves so much complexity.

I am not sure yet what to make of this site. Evidently, what you are reading right now is something of a blog article. I’ve tried blogging multiple times, and it always took the same turn as going on a diet or visiting a gym: it did not stick for very long.

As with any habit, I reckon it’s because I didn’t see the benefits of it quickly enough. This time, therefore, I will not force it, but will take it as it comes and chiefly try to blog for myself. Specifically, I will try to record the small things I’ve learned and made, and thus create a sort of journal I can return to.

The topics that typically occupy my mind are in the realms of productivity, tooling, the intersection of engineering and design, and life as a developer outside of the technical; but there are personal things I’d like to share, too, such as the books I’m reading.

In the meantime, while I figure all this out, why don’t you take a seat? Please make yourself at home. Bring friends. Wil je een kopje koffie?