They Say the First Step Is the Hardest...
I’ve been a web developer for many years now, and during that time I’ve never really had a site of my own. It always struck me as odd that for someone whose daily routine consisted of making websites, I couldn’t even make one for myself. The sites I made were for a purpose – they provided a service or a piece of information – and I couldn’t figure out what the purpose of a personal site would be. Last year I made a single page site as a portfolio, and I was immediately disgusted with it. I’m a developer, not a designer. The representation of myself as an artist instead of a problem solver just didn’t feel right. So I deleted it and returned to having nothing to say “This is me”.
Over the past year I’ve more firmly integrated myself into the open source world. I started heavily using github, and began to collaborate with others. As a part of this process, I found many interesting programmers who were much smarter than me. They all had one thing in common, they had a blog. A few days ago, I found a blog post saying that “comments are a facade fooling people into thinking they have a voice. They don’t. You only have a voice if you have a blog.” While perhaps a bit extreme of a claim, it made me realize that comments are much like posting anonymously: It’s very unlikely that people will use it to build an image of you. Your comments are spread over many websites, sometimes with different usernames. It’s hard for people to build them into a complete picture of you, unless they are the NSA. A blog, on the other hand, is a monolithic compendium of who you are. If somebody reads your blog, they can build an image of the kind of person you are. Perhaps a flawed and incomplete image, but an image nonetheless.
And there I had my answer. A portfolio is silly, I can just link you to what I’ve made. After all, they are websites. A blog is the way for me to actually share the struggles I have, what I learn from them, and hopefully I can teach you something as well. And just maybe, it’ll lead to me being a better programmer. I look forward to seeing what comes of it.