Welcome to the new, modernized, mobile-friendly aaronwest.net. I’ve been writing on the Internet for nearly 20 years in one form or another. My journey started in the early 2000s when I set up a virtual Linux server and blogged at trajiklyhip.com. After a few years, I acquired aaronwest.net and switched everything to the new domain and new blogging software. I still ran my own Linux server where I managed an Apache webserver, ColdFusion application server, and MySQL database backend. It was quite a bit of work managing the full stack of software but I loved it. Writing software was not only my day job but something I cared so deeply about I spoke at developer conferences, led hands-on software engineering workshops, and eventually moved into technical leadership roles.
Fast-forward to 2015 where most of my time was spent working on getting a new startup off the ground. Building a company from scratch is super hard work. Not to mention I was having kids during this time as well. Finding the time to keep my personal servers and websites updated was difficult but I still had the desire to write about what I was doing. I decided to try setting up a static website, one that wouldn’t require me to manage servers and back-end processes. I wrote about my thoughts and intentions with creating notebook.aaronwest.net and overall I was happy with the results.
After a while, however, I began to be bothered by having two different websites hosting my content. Plus, my aaronwest.net site had not aged well, was not mobile-friendly in any way, and I was no longer paying attention to back-end server and application updates. Google wasn’t doing me any favors either, sending me frequent reminders about the site design not being mobile device friendly and not being compatible with modern search engine optimization.
To combat all these issues, I decided to dedicate time to migrate all the content I’d written online into a brand new modern website replacing the content on aaronwest.net. I began the project in December 2020 and had no idea what I was getting into. There are over 600 blog posts, projects, tutorials, presentations, downloads, and more to migrate. Since I started collecting stats on the blog it’s amassed over 6 million views. From December to today I have combined all the content from notebook.aaronwest.net with the 2012-2018 content from aaronwest.net. And I still have a long way to go to get through material dating back to 2002. I’m guessing it will take another couple of months.
In the meantime, I feel great about having a modern, responsive design website that looks good on huge monitors as well as smartphones. The static content is managed using a tool called Hugo with the code hosted on GitHub and CI/CD workflows to make building, reviewing, and deploying the website a breeze. Plus, based on my hosting choice I was able to get free Lets Encrypt SSL certs, something I’ve never had on this website.
In the future, I may write a post that details the mechanics behind the site and more about the tools I’m using. If you want to drop me a line and let me know what you think, you can do so in the comments below.