The Second Post Has Been a Long Time Coming

I wrote my first blog post back in 2014. Ugh - that was a while ago.

At the time, there was a loose intention to write 1 post a week or month or something like that, I don’t recall the specifics. Clearly, that fell by the wayside and never happened.

Starting a regular blog has been something on my radar for a while. Back when I was at Microsoft (2000-2007) and blogging started to become a thing, my peers, my manager and customers were constantly prodding me to stat a blog. It was never a priority for me, so it never happened.

These days people often ask me for advice around starting a company, choosing technology or any other number of random topics I might be somewhat well-versed on. I'd respond, sometimes with a copious amount of detail as to what I thought and why, and they'd say something to the effect of "you should make this into a blog post". So here we are.

First order of business - selecting a platform. As a technologist, before I choose a technology, I like to investigate it, play around with it, kick the tires a bit. Then select what I think is the best tool for the job. Over the years I've spun up many websites for myself and for various businesses, both my own and others. I've tried Wordpress either hosting it myself (on various platforms like GoDaddy or Azure) or the hosted version, Squarespace, various other pieces of open source blogging software, and rolling my own.

After considering all of these options for this site, I decided to go with Squarespace. It was a pretty easy decision. Last year I re-built FastBar's public facing website using Squarespace. It was a pretty good experience, it's simple and easy to use, templates look good and most importantly it means I don’t have to worry about things like backup, upgrading the underlying software and plugins, renewing my SSL certificates etc…

There are some pitfalls, but overall, I think the pros, primarily convenience, outweigh the cons, namely things missing basic features like version control, less flexibility compared to self-hosted Wordpress and the fact that I could find a cheaper hosting solution myself.

Troy Hunt says it well:

Hosting websites is like having kids; they’re continually attacked by nasty things, they need ongoing care and as good an idea as they may seem at the time, they end up costing you a heap more than you planned. And no, I don’t care that [whatever your favourite is] only costs 3 cents a month because that’s not what matters; time is the commodity that’s most valuable to me now. It’s not just time in terms of hours actually spent, it’s needing to be ready to patch any nasties, managing (and testing) backups, installing updates so you can leverage new features and so on and so forth. Let’s be overly optimistic about it and say all that only takes 2 hours a month - what’s that worth to you? Go on, put a dollar figure on it and consider what you could charge for the time plus what it’s worth to simply not have to think about it

So, for now, here we are. Squarespace, please take my $12 a month and make it so I never again have to create and manage my own backups, renew my SSL certificates and update my own plugins - for this site as least.

Let's see how long this blogging thing lasts…