Blog
11 May, 2020

The past and future of nehalist.io

The past and future of nehalist.io

Long time no see. It has been some wild weeks - and I'm not just talking about the world encountering a pandemic. Let's talk about... everything.

Corona

By now pretty much everyone is somehow affected by the novel Coronavirus which has taken over the world. To give a brief update on myself in this regard:

I'm fortunate to live in Austria which handled the situation pretty well. I haven't had COVID-19 so far, I try to stay at home as much as possible and my company completely switched to remote work. I guess I could say that I was pretty lucky with how things have turned out for me, since not much has changed for me, especially since I've been a "stay at home most of the time"-guy before already.

Hopefully I'll stay this lucky - and hopefully you're too.

A step back?

im okay tim allen GIF by Laff

Not just the Coronavirus interfered in my plannings this year. Remember when I talked about me moving closer to the city I work? That's no more. A few weeks ago (yep, in the middle of global pandemic) I moved back to my home town - which puts me again in the situation of living around 75 kilometers away of my work. I don't want to say that the Coronavirus is a good thing, but at least it saves me commute time right now.

But why would anyone move twice within just six months? Or why would anyone move away from his work, back to over three hours commute time per day? Isn't that a serious step backwards?

To keep this as simple as possible and to spare you irrelevant details: my relationship sadly came to an end. With its end came additional problems which ultimately lead to me going back to my old apartment (which I luckily didn't sell).

I don't want to get emotional here or go any deeper into detail and even if it seemed like a step back at first it gave me time to reflect. And, as always, as time passed I realized that it certainly wasn't a step backwards - more like a change of direction. Different directions might appear uncomfortable and even scary at first, but it also gives the opportunity to grow with it.

Since the Coronavirus enabled to completely work from home right now the fact that my communte time increased from not even 5 minutes to more than an hour is pretty much negligible. Afterwards (whenever this is) the folks I work did me a great favor by offering me three days of home office every week - which reduces commute time to a really acceptable amount.

So, no, there was no step back. There was a change of direction which felt like a step back at first - but thanks to my company and some other fellas which supported me during this time everything went better than expected. I do feel like there's interesting things to come - and I'm really looking forward to them now.

The future of nehalist.io

For the last weeks I've often thought about my blog and its current state. With all the things that happened I just couldn't find the motivation to write new posts or do any blog-related work at all - but of course I haven't abandoned it. But there's always been this question in my mind: what do I even want my blog to be?

Do I want it to be a personal corner of the internet where I can rant about Blizzard or cover personal topics? Should it be primarily just for programming resources? Should I accept guest post requests (which I do have a lot by now) - doesn't this take away the personality of my blog? Does my blog even have a personality?

Seriously thinking about answering these questions was something I honestly tried to avoid as much as possible because finding an answer to that is not that simple.

But for me becoming motivated again and getting back to publish new posts and progress my very own little corner of the internet I needed answers.

I'm not sure if this sounds weird, but for pretty much everything I do I need to set goals. High goals. Goals which appear virtually unachievable - but that's the shit that motivates me. Not the fact that it might takes years to reach a certain goal, but just the imagination of achieving it is enough to keep me motivated.

And that's what my blog lacked: a simple goal. Where do I want my blog to be in a few years? Or, even more important, what do I want to it be?

Since I'm back in my own apartment I had a lot of time to think. Not just all the things that happened or are happening right now, but also about my blog. And after some time I managed to find answers to questions which seemed impossible to answer at first.

So, what do I want nehalist.io to be?

I want it to be a place to share knowledge. And not just my knowledge - you don't just read one single book in order to extend your expertise, right? Software development is an extremely fast paced and exciting niche where a lot of people have many interesting things to tell.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about here's a (vague) road map of things to come on my blog:

  • I'd like to heavily extend the experience and opportunities for visitors, including the possibility of submitting your own content.
  • Since my blog already generates a very little amount of ad revenue I'd be happy to share this with everyone who wants to share his or her content here.
  • Submitted content should not just be hosted here. Sharing knowledge does not mean that the knowledge has to be hosted on nehalist.io. But since I'm in luck of having a decent amount of viewers I might be able to help other blogs and sites to get their content spread.

Ambitious goals - but as mentioned earlier, this crucially boosts my motivation.

In order to achieve this goal a lot of work has be done. Currently my blog is just a static page built with Gatsby (while posts are still served by Ghost). Adding more complex features would quickly exceed the limits of static sites which is why I need to change direction in this regard.

So far it looks like the next version of nehalist.io will be built with Next.js - a React framework which allows for creating hybrid applications with server-side rendered and static pages. The fact that it uses React makes it easier for me to reuse existing components from the current version.

Additionally I want to get rid of Ghost which requires additional server-side work. Next.js supports custom servers and since I've always wanted to build something serious with Node I'd like to try that out.

In addition to the actual work which has to be done I'd like cover the progress via blog posts. Since there's a lot to learn at this point I guess it would be interesting to talk about learnings, pitfalls and general experiences regarding the new tech stack.

One thing I'm still not sure about is if to make the repository of the upcoming version open source. Even though I'm a huge fan of open source some things might not be suitable for open source. On the other hand it's hard to cover progress without having the possibility to sneak into the source code - so, yeah, I'm really not sure about that yet. Let me know in the comments if open sourcing would be a good idea or not.

But even though my motivation was reduced I still managed to get at least some work done: I've been working on my first course for the last couple of weeks which should be released next month - a course about creating high-level Angular applications (including secure authentication, state management, proper error handling, role-based authorization and much more). Hopefully I manage to release the application (a blog engine) which is being built within this course this month - follow my Twitter account for updates in this regard.

Final word

Since my last post the world kinda went down the toilet, most of my plans I had for the future have been trashed (funnily not even by the fact that the world's going downhill) and I had to deal with many situations I wasn't prepared for (again, not talking about you, Corona). But I think everything turned out better than I've initially expected and I'm looking forward to everything what's to come.

Stay healthy!
Kevin

Published under Blog on 11 May, 2020.

Kevin

Kevin

I make stuff. Mostly functional, occasionally shiny, stuff.