I have a problem with updating this website

Last night, I realized that my now page had become grossly out of date, and so decided to write a new version for it.

And then it turned into a whole ordeal.

I find it harder and harder to describe nowadays what I am up to. It seems to change so often, and I’m in a period of flux, where I’m working on some long-term projects (but not terribly seriously), and also trying to figure out what my next steps are. The tech industry is also in an…interesting period of change, and I’m grappling a bit with where I want to go from here.

It also has become a source of – guilt, almost? As it turns out, what I work on from month to month tends to shift rapidly, as my general working style has me rotate across a lot of projects. I look at the now page of five months ago, and it strikes me how much I haven’t worked on the projects I was working on then. Usually because of life changes, shifts in what I want to do, or just ‘I forgot and now I have more projects, oops’.

I think the baggage of always having the now page be a running document is getting to me. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that yet. I might retire the page, or create a running archive and make the now page anew each time.

For now, I’ve put in a monthly reminder to update it, and probably make a new now page. In some ways, that makes it a bit redundant with the rest of this ‘blog’, which I still have no good way of organizing. One of the problems of having made my own site generator is that there’s no search, and also really nothing resembling a good tagging system. I might think about that later, as things get a bit bigger.

Site Troubleshooting

Anyway, all that rambling later, I updated the now page…and then wanderer, the site generator, fell over. Hrm. Back to troubleshooting.

It turned out that at some point, the binary for graphicsmagick had stopped working on my computer (which is a relatively new Macbook, and I’m still struggling through some transition pains). I didn’t go too deep into diagnosing what happened; it was spawning endless new gm instances without actually finishing any processing, to the point that I had to restart the computer each time I tried to run it. The hack-and-forget-about-it solution was to replace it with imagemagick and go on my merry way. But that’s fragile.

The web feels fragile, as a whole. I created my own static site generator in hopes that as I wanted more features, I could add them to it more easily. The wider ecosystem of static site generators felt overwhelming, and new versions also bring with them new changes that I didn’t really want to have to bear the cost of thinking about. But even the few dependencies I have here can change on me. New versions of Node.JS meant that some of the APIs I used in wanderer got deprecated. The image pipeline blew up. I still have to, at some point, convert all the build tools to using ES6.

Things need to be maintained. And for me, considering I don’t really update this site more than a couple of times a year (trying to, and failing to change that) – it meant that every update usually came with it a whole slew of debugging. Which probably also made it harder to debug.

I don’t have a solution to this quite yet, and I don’t think I’m migrating off of wanderer anytime soon. The power of ‘oh I can just change whatever I don’t like anymore’ is still too good to give up, and in the 3 years I’ve maintained this version of the site I’ve seen so many static site generators pop up that my head spins. I enjoy some of the technology; if I can figure out how to add React support to wanderer without ballooning dependencies, I might! I quite like that ecosystem. But it also feels like too much to add to this little site and little generator. Maybe that’s a sign I’m getting older.

Anyway, a lot of words to say that nothing much has changed. This is a website update, that took a bit longer than I wanted to write.

Non-now page updates

  • Updated the games page with my newest project, SPACE LICH, which was made in November 2022 over 2 weeks for the Seattle Indies Jam.
  • New devlog for wanderer.