The front page of my technical documentation site looks very different from Dec 2, 2022, to yesterday, Mar 25, 2023, but there aren’t that many new pages, and the old pages have only had their text altered a little. It is interesting how much a different presentation makes.
The most noticeable difference, of course, is that this site (https://www.danielfdickinson.ca/) is no longer just a redirect to my technical documentation site (Wild Tech ‘Garden’), but is back to being a separate site with different content. In addition to moving the technical blog part of wildtechgarden and the page about me (and having the wildtechgarden ‘About’ page be about that site), I have converted my resume to a web page, as you can see above.
At the same time, all my sites (https://www.wildtechgarden.ca/, https://www.princesandmadmen.ca, and https://www.danielfdickinson.ca have an entirely different look than when the sites were using my Dananke theme, which was a fork of The New Dynamic’s Ananke theme. That is because the current theme for all my sites is DFD-Zen which is a customized version of the Zen theme for Hugo.
I like the look of the base Zen theme much better than I liked the Ananke theme, and I find the Zen theme (which the author describes as a base theme, which is expected to be customised) much more amenable to the features and templates I have added.
The Zen theme also uses what I consider ‘proper CSS’ rather than libraries like Tachyons.io (which the Ananke theme uses). The problem with Tachyons, from my point of view, is that it defeats the point of having classes and styles that are separate from the HTML elements.
For example, Tachyons is entirely classes like
pv2 (top margin
of zero, and vertical padding of size ‘2’) rather than semantically
oriented classes like
sidebar, such as one sees
with the Zen theme’s CSS (generated using SASS/SCSS). Some classes like that
make sense, but it shouldn’t be the main use of CSS (in my no so humble
opinion, that is).
My Dananke version of the Ananke theme replaced Tachyons with ‘real’ CSS, but Fredrik Jonsson (the author of the Zen theme for Hugo) writes much better CSS than I do.
I’m very happy with the result, and hope to contribute at least some of my changes (as Fredrick finds interesting and/or useful) back to the Zen theme.
In the end I find the Netlify worklow I wrote about on wildtechgarden much faster, and easier to deal with, than the various other methods of building and deploying my sites. It also saves me time by avoiding the need to manage self-hosting and/or custom GitHub actions and so on. I have therefore returned building, deploying, and hosting my websites to be through Netlify.
I still have not sold my soul in so doing. As much as I enjoy using Linux as my desktop and the control self-hosting my own groupware gave me, the latter represents a huge time sink, and the former is not compatible enough with my likely near-future career path (see below). I still use Linux and develop my themes as Open Source, but I no longer feel obligated to be an Open Source purist. I toyed with that briefly, including trying out Sourcehut for my Git repositories, and switching to Alpine Linux for a while.
In the ended I decided against the ‘purist’ open source / code snob approach because I felt it was feeding more negative and intolerant aspects of my psychology rather than being a positive thing. It’s not that I do not continue to strive to be accurate and precise, nor that no others can fit into that milieu without remaining positive and welcoming, but for me it does not work.
I am, however, sticking with OVHcloud for my domains and DNS, and will likely use other services of theirs should I need to host ‘microservices’ or other backend web apps in a public cloud.
I wasn’t unhappy with how OVHcloud was working for me, this time around, but I found the amount of time it was taking to develop a self-hosted solution I was happy with1 to be excessive. I guess that goes back to the problem, for me, of open source ‘purism’.
My professional life has not yet gone through the same degree of transformation, but it is about to do so. I have been (mostly) approved for training (and more importantly the certification exams) for Microsoft’s PowerPlatform, as well as the CompTIA A+ certification. (There are some final details they should be settled in the next few weeks). If you have looked at my resume you may wonder why I am doing this.
The answer is that I am looking for local opportunties to use my skills, rather than remote ones. Sadly those are few and far between in Midland, Ontario and surrounding communities. With one exception the options most like what I hope to find, involve working with Microsoft’s PowerPlatform. Therefore, I’m working on those skills. (I call it cross-skilling rather than up-skilling, because in terms of skill set this is at most a lateral move).
As a result of this cross-skilling (most of the training itself is free via https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/ but the exams are a significant expense for someone who has been in receipt of only a disability pension, and is looking to get back into the work/business world) and my extensive community involvement, I already have a highly probable (depending on funding source(s) coming through) contract which will use a combination of these new skills (and ones I’ve been using since the beginning of my career, which started before I graduated from university).
Even though it means my personal projects probably won’t get as much attention as I’d like to give them, especially now that I am feeling better, I am excited to be well enough to be ‘getting my game back’.
I realize there are projects that are designed for the same purpose, but for the ones I found, I was either not confident in the project, or didn’t like some of the project’s choices. If I’m going to be less than happy with a solution, I’d rather it be something I don’t have to also spend much effort with, in place of what I really want to be doing. ↩︎