Historically, I’ve greatly disliked web development. I’ve always loved the internet in general, but I’ve always seen developing for the web in a deeply negative light. Most of my disdain for webdev comes from the tooling around it - HTML1 & CSS2 are the backbones of webpages, yet I’ve always found them incredibly cumbersome to use, and JavaScript is no better

Despite this, I previously had a WordPress blog (although I was only 9 at the time so I didn’t do any actual web development for it) which I willingly volunteered to resurrect recently. This eventually led to me creating this site, slowly indoctrinating me into the cult of web development.

Slip n Slide

So, what changed?

In short, nothing. In long…

I volunteered myself to restore my old blog entirely because I needed something to do (okay, maybe not entirely; there was some nostalgia involved). I needed something to do because I decided to do the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award, which involves an hour of volunteering per week for 3 months, among other - currently unimportant - things. I assumed that bringing back a nearly-a-decade-old site would take a good while, & the alternative was taking over my dad’s admin tasks, which would mostly have been copy-pasting things for a whole hour every week (and it was gonna be done at some point anyways, so I might as well say I played my part).

The task was a lot easier (and faster) than I had thought it’d be. This finally brings me to an answer as to why I was set down this path of webdev indoctrination. WordPress isn’t really web development. I don’t mean this in a superiority complex kinda way, I mean it has almost literally nothing to do with what I hate about webdev. I’m allowed to pretty much just pretend that HTML, CSS, & JavaScript don’t exist, completely invalidating all of my problems. It also helped that I wasn’t actually developing anything, just restoring what had already been developed & near perfectly preserved years ago, but it made me realise something that I hadn’t before actually I had but the superiority complex blocked it out: I could just ignore the parts of webdev that I didn’t like & suddenly it felt amazing. Bringing back the old site reminded me of the rush I got from one of my dad’s friends/co-workers some random stranger finding my site & leaving comments of encouragement on a story by a child still in the single-digit ages. I’d missed that feeling.

Falling Further

It was at this point that I realised that I once again needed something to do, what with my original filler having been completed so quickly, and I wanted to do more WordPress development. It just so happened that my brother had begun to get into writing just as I had when I was 9, and I had an ingenious idea. What if I made my site, but again? So, I made a fresh site in the same style as my restored old one, popped it on a subdomain, & gave him a login so he could start using it. That site is linked in the navbar for this one (and here), so go check it out if you have some free time; he’s bound to use it eventually.

Through this saga of working with WordPress, I began thinking of making a new website of my own using it. But alas, this dream was halted by my pride. I couldn’t possibly use a fake development platform to make my website, I’m a real developer! So, I began looking for alternatives; something with the same ability to sidestep what I dislike about web development as WordPress, but that felt more like “real” webdev.

Finding Ground

I scoured the internet looking for a solution. First, I looked at Yew, a Rust web framework, but I didn’t vibe with it so it was dropped pretty quickly for the 50th time. After some more scouring, I figured out that what I was looking for was a static site generator. They have WP’s ease of use but are just techy enough that using one wouldn’t wound my pride.

Now that I actually knew what the hell I was looking for, finding it was a breeze. I quickly found Hugo, went through the quick start guide on its website & enjoyed using it. Mission success - I knew what I was gonna use for my website, so, the next step would be to figure out what should be on it. Definitely not at all due to nostalgia, I decided to make a blog, just like old times. Using Hugo to actually make a site has been just as pleasant as it was to learn it, and I’d definitely recommend at least giving it a shot to anyone as averse to web development as I was; even if it doesn’t change your mind, it’s good to be aware of the options that exist. And who knows, maybe trying Hugo will lead to you discovering the webdev technology that fits you.

From the Bottom

This site is still in its very early days, so there are still things to iron out & improve. Perhaps someday I’ll move on from Hugo, who knows, but what’s certain pretty likely is that I’ll keep maintaining the site for a good while longer. I’m not gonna have any kind of schedule for these posts, that’s a bit too much of a commitment for the time being, but I’ll try to not leave too big of a gap with nothing happening here & I’ll keep improving the site whenever I think of something to add/change/fix. Something I know will eventually happen is moving away from this domain. The name Colourann is a relic of a bygone era, so I’d rather it stuck around only to archive the old site - like a taxidermized wild animal put on display.

Hopefully my rambling wasn’t too incoherent (or at least made for a mildly entertaining 5 minutes); hope to see you around, fellow dweller of the smart rock cosmos.

  1. HyperText Markup Language, the basis of a page’s layout ↩︎

  2. Cascading Style Sheets, the stuff that makes a webpage look not shit ↩︎