It’s that time of year again…!
It feels weird to be blogging again after such a long time. I don’t even really know where to start.
I realise this site has been languishing – I haven’t posted anything new in ages and I haven’t even done much art or anything really. I know it sucks and I wish I had more to post but I honestly haven’t really had much motivation to do any of what I used to these days.
I’ve just been experimenting a whole lot and trying to keep up with everything design AND web related. It’s been a lot to take in and honestly very tiring, especially when most of my day is spent working on other web projects and sites.
I have a whole heap of things I have half finished or half started in my own time, but none of them really ended up eventuating to anything exciting to me, because I either got tired of it, or I learnt what I could from it. But I’m ok with that, because it doesn’t hurt to try something once and not like it..? I said in my last post I was using Hugo and Netlify for a static site project. I learnt a lot from it and would love to explore more in the area of static site generation but right now I’m not sure it’s the right tool for me, for various reasons. I am still planning on doing a long blog post about it further down the track but for now, I’ll keep experimenting and seeing what’s out there.
I’ve been at a bit of a crossroads as to where to focus my attention on next. Most of what I do these days is web based, designing sites, working with WordPress and coding custom websites using it, however I have been looking outside this sphere recently into other solutions for building a website. If you’re within the web industry you’d probably know sites are heading towards JS heavy web apps. I’ve been researching and experimenting with how feasible it is for one person or even two or three people to build something like a react app. Long story short, I tried using Gatsby to start off with, and yeah, the whole process and different way of thinking just wasn’t fun for me. I suppose it’s just the way I’ve been coding for so long now, it’s hard to get into a frame of mind where you build layouts using JS and style it using JS. It honestly really confuses me and makes it harder for my to accomplish what I thought would be quite simple. Don’t get me wrong, I can see the benefits when I browse a react site, but the cost to get there outweighs the benefits for me at the moment.
As for this current site, I have a redesign ready and I’ve been wanting to redo this layout for a while now. I’ve learnt a lot about accessibility and I want to make this site even better than it is now…The things holding me back are the new WordPress version 5 being released in the next week, and how Gutenberg will affect all of that. I’ve been messing round with Gutenberg for a while now and have not been impressed with its design or implementation. This could likely be a separate blog post in itself, because there is so much to unpack around this controversial topic If you’re within the WP sphere you’ll know what I’m talking about. Anyway, it’s success will probably determine how likely it is I’ll stay on this platform because I just tested it on this site with everything updated, and it broke all my custom fields. Yay….
I love WP and I love what it’s done for the web, but I don’t think it was the editor that needed the most work. I feel like they need to focus more on making it easier to control custom post types and post meta data – since this is what most people who want custom websites rely on. It is very surprising to me these use cases weren’t on WordPress’ agenda when they began the Gutenberg project, and the whole reliance on react to build upon this editor means a higher barrier for developers in customising this essential part of the CMS.
A lot of people argue that this barrier means you’ll get higher quality plugins/themes, but I disagree. A lot of bad code can be written in JS if you don’t know what you’re doing, and clearly a lot of people working on GB at the moment aren’t great JS developers because there are a tonne of bugs and accessibility issues. The documentation (if any) is all over the place, and it’s clear to me that the design itself needs A LOT of UX and UI refinement.
I actually tried making a custom block a while back – using a boilerplate block maker not even made by the WP team themselves . The whole process took over an hour just to start the project, and uncovering what you had to do to make a custom block was like stumbling blindly through undocumented functions and components. I mean…. I’m just one person. The next time I try to make a block will be when GB is stable and released with good docs
At the end of the day, WordPress has served me and this site really well and I want it to be successful, however I feel like they are focusing on the wrong things, and need to take user feedback more into account. I hope by next release I’ll have a clearer picture on how it’ll affect my current site and go from there!
I really do want to get back into blogging though, mostly to share my opinions and experiences as a designer and developer. I just want to keep it real though, you know? I feel like a lot of articles and tweets I see on twitter are so manufactured and exaggerated; I just want to read about real experiences from people like me, navigating a predominantly male industry with preconceived bias on what females are actually capable of doing.
It’s now somehow all the rage on Medium especially in terms of web development, which is hilarious to me because Medium is in my opinion, full of people who think they know everything and so use it to try add to their credibility by lifting other people’s material and even documentation and presenting their opinions as facts. Good writing is hard to come by these days, despite the availability of more CMS’s and platforms.
So yeah. That’s where I’m at right now. Art-wise, I haven’t done a whole lot tbh, mainly because a lot of my focus has been on web stuff. I have a few other projects planned some time soon though….we’ll just have to wait and see.