Ten years ago, I published what was to be the first post here. Whilst not the first blog I published online, this would eventually become my permanent personal outpost on the internet.

Platforms to build upon

Whilst the landscape of publishing tools (not to mention the role played by blogs) has somewhat changed these days, it is interesting to look back at how things were.

Before I settled down here, I’d run a few different blogs. For those, the tool was as much as a reason for writing as the words themselves. Blogging systems were still in their formative stages but that merely provided additional encouragement to building the tools.

I enjoyed both the low level details of designing and building a CMS & site as well as the more conceptual aspects of the writing and publishing process itself. And whilst the activity of development, in and of itself, was intellectually stimulating, just as important was what the development was for - the realisation and forming of solutions for a given challenge & purpose.

Interestingly enough however, this blog itself started from similar but different roots. Wordpress had been released1 less than a year prior, and in it, I saw many things that resonated with me. I was still interested in building a tool for myself, but WP looked like a good fit for quick & easy blogging and so I began using it to manage a link blog here.

As often happens, initial plans adapt and reshape themselves and this started to be more of a primary place to publish. And in the course of doing so, other unplanned paths opened up.

Development across the web

At around that time, web design and development started to get really interesting. There is a certain periodicity to change and this was an era where pieces started aligning to form a fledgling environment for the web design and development community to pop up.

In his own personal post2, Matthew wrote about how people were writing about the web on their own blogs, and more importantly, interacted with each other on theirs. Discussions sprouted discussions, designs informed designs, and we were all part of a community who saw the web as a place we wanted to be part of. Outside of the web, we were a part of it, getting involved at work (indeed, we made it our work), at talks, in side projects and experiments. Our blogs were a part of that expression in a way.

A few of the previous designs of ifelse
A few of the previous designs of ifelse

This blog was one such playground and went through various designs along the way, big and small, visible and behind the scenes. More than that, I was also actively involved and interacted outside of this blog itself. All of that help made it a really interesting time to have been around.

The ensuing quietness

My last entry on this blog appeared nearly 7 years ago. However, whilst this blog fell out of my life then, the web itself was still a big part of it.

Time flames like a paraffin stove /
and what burns are the minutes I live

Irving Layton

Developing for the web was my day job as well as my interest, and I was fortunate enough to have many good opportunities and projects to work on. I worked many big and exciting projects as well as develop the content publishing platforms behind them. I worked on the design and strategic development of companies, big and small and worked on and with some great teams and people.

And through that, I was was talking through ideas, problems and solutions. I was writing and developing concepts, techniques and designs. I was collaborating, exploring and working through challenges and projects.

I kept up with the developments of the web and the world of design and development. Indeed, in a way, this was easier and getting increasingly interesting as the world changed, barriers dropped and information flourished. My main involvement in that, however, was through my work and closer interactions of my peers. As that became the outlet for such energy, along with discovering and exploring many other interests outside of the web, then so work on this blog and other online personal presences dimmed down.

Turning the light back on

Ten years is a long time and whilst that is just a number (decimal familiarity notwithstanding), it does provide an emotional nudge to revisit things again. And so, I’ll start things off lightly. A simple design3 for the words to live in, with some words4 to bridge between then and now.

There isn’t really any plan for where this goes next. There are a few ideas and topics which I’d like to explore but the main goal right now is to trickle some energy back to this place. Where and how that gets channeled, whether it’s evolving the design beyond this simple shell or if it’s in the writing itself, that will be something that we’ll discover. As long as it’s not 7 years to the next post, then it’ll hopefully be a good journey regardless of the stops and path we take along the way.

  1. This is a post of it’s own but it’s easy to take for granted the range of options that we have for content publishing these days. Matt released WordPress on the 27th of May 2003; whilst WP was far from the first major blogging tool, nor the only one at that time, it played a major role by being the right thing at the right time and channeling the right momentum required.

  2. Matthew Pennell’s and Andy Clarke’s “10 year of blogging” posts helped nudge me towards writing this post. I admire how they have both continued writing consistently on their blogs through these years, and their content reflect that.

  3. As enjoyable as designing is, I’ll defer that to a later stage where it makes more sense.

  4. Even if that was quite a few more words than I’d planned for a quick look back.