First words are always the hardest. I think it's best to acknowledge that right away and get straight to actually writing something.
I'm going to give writing a go. I have been interested in doing this for years now, but never felt I would have anything to write about. Whilst I might be more confident in starting this now, the future of this blog is very much uncertain. I'm not going to force myself to write anything and will only do so if something comes to mind.
There are a few topics I'd like to discuss, related to my road to a career in software development and how it has matched what I believed it would be like. I feel it's something that could potentially help those who want to get a job in the field but who feel like they can't do it.
Meanwhile, I might as well give you a little insight into what makes this site tick. As a web developer, I felt it would make some sense to have a functional and at least somewhat beautiful site to call my home. It might make more sense for creative people to have an outlet to show their work, especially since the work I do is at the time of writing not something I can showcase. Hopefully this will change in the future.
The software that runs my site is Ghost. It's a free open source CMS that you can either host yourself or use their Ghost(Pro) service. The monthly cost of the Pro service is quite high for people who don't run their websites as a business, including myself, which is why I've gone the self-hosting route. This way I can get away with a smaller monthly cost.
This site runs on a virtual private server hosted at OVH. The monthly costs are much less than the Ghost service, but I have to take care of everything from setup to security and backups myself. This is a deal-breaker for vast majority of people. However, when setting this site up I was struck by how easy the crew at Ghost have made this setup. They have excellent guides and a very user-friendly* Ghost-CLI to manage the installation.
* I understand this assumes some familiarity with text-based command line programs. But not a lot, it genuinely is quite easy to understand.
As for the custom domain, all I had to do was setup the DNS in such a way that this domain name points to the IP address of my server. I'm not going to go into detail about how to do it on this article, but a quick Google search will yield plenty of results depending on your service provider. The Ghost-CLI asks you for the address for your website, and it will configure certificates and the web server for you. No manual setup required there!
I wanted to have a theme for this site which would adapt well to potential future photography posts so I went with the free Edge theme. It didn't quite work as-is for my needs, so I just went ahead and customized it a little. Therefore the version you can find from that link is ever so slightly different than the one running on my site. I can release the code if people are curious, but to make my life easier I've done some decisions in the code that will probably not work with you.
Customizing themes for Ghost is really easy though, so if you ever feel like a theme is almost perfect and would only need some minor tweaks, don't be afraid to have a look in to the official documentation for some tips on how to do just that! For example, in the official Edge theme there are some social links and an RSS link in the top right, which I didn't feel fits my vision for the site. All it took were few pieces of software and a code editor to remove them from the theme and it's now perfect.
This post has discussed the site on a surface level but I will probably write more technical posts in the future. I'm hoping to share anything cool I might learn, even if nobody reads them - I recommend anyone else to do the same! We've all been in that situation where we're stuck with a problem, furiously Googling for results when we come across some unknown person's website where they've presented their solution. This could be me one day, and it could be you. I hope I can write up something that will help you one day.
Oh, and if you're wondering about how you can comment on my posts - I've made a very deliberate decision on not to include that on my site. If you wish to discuss a topic with me or present your ideas, I'd love to hear them! I will gladly amend my articles if I'm blatantly wrong about something. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or approach me via LinkedIn or Twitter. I read the latter less frequently, but I'm there!
Thanks for reading!