Changing Landscape and Interests
In January of this year, I spent sometime revamping my blog and thinking about topics that I’m interested in writing about. Funny thing is that I have written and talked about this topics extensively but didn’t bother to publish it online for all the reasons - some of it just that I forgot to share it.
Also with the increased sophisticated of ChatGPT and other generative/ assistive tools, it’s a whole new world in some interesting ways that can be viewed negatively, but also can be extremely powerful in composing thoughts and faciliating story lines.
In addition to the above, I realize that I often fall into the tooling trap when it comes to online writing. I spent more time on setting up, revamping, and all the things except for actually doing and publishing the writing.
So one of my goals this year is writing, but also learning to avoid the build trap with no-code/ low-code solutions.
Enter No-Code and Low Code
Earlier this year, I dove deep into carrd.io for setting up simple websites that increasing became complex. One of the things that I loved about carrd was that it was inexpensive and came with a variety of solid website templates that looked great, were easy to modify, setup analytics, and then point that to a domain.
Using carrd.io and Chatgpt, I would be able to come up with a good looking website with landing page and a solid pieces of content in a few hours over the weekend. Definitely a winning stack!
One of the things that I did realize was it was hard to add multiple pages and generally manage things like navbars, footers, and other things that you generally get for free with a regular CMS. I loved carrd.io and will continue to use it in the future - but need something more powerful and that was less click-click-clicky for customizing.
Wordpress, Wagtail, Ghost, or Another CMS?
Simply, I’ve decided to dive into a more powerful solution for doing interesting projects online that center intially around content and need some extensibility.
As I’ve worked with django/ python for years, the decision to go with Wagtail/ Django seems like it would make a lot of sense right? In the end, I did go this way but had some deep considerations on it.
Primarily, I’ve learned that I fall into the tooling/ build trap where I spend more time learning tech tools than actually doing what I intended to do. I don’t want to rabbit hole on some minor optimization instead of doing something valuable.
A managed platform like Ghost would have solved the build trap habit for me, but when I looked at it - it seemed expensive and it was hard to get a sense of all the functionality available on it. Was it overkill or would I be annoyed by lack of customizations.
Next, I considered a managed Wordpress instance since it’s sort of the writing tool of choice and has a ton of additional functionality for build products and other related things. In the past, when I’ve worked with Wordpress and it’s ecosystem of plugins, I recalled that it was a bit of a blackbox and if something wasn’t working - I’d spend hours trying to debug and figure things out. Definitely a candidate for the build trap.
Looking Wagtail, I was intially skeptical since I recalled there being a bit of a learning curve and would require a bit of customization. I had rabbit holed on it before. This time when looking at it, I recalled a set of extensions for Wagtail called CodeRed from Pycon a few years ago. When I looked into (CodeRed)[https://www.coderedcorp.com/cms/] I realized that most all of the customizations that I wanted to do are nicely packaged up in this. Sold!
Right now, I have just setup a Wagtail/Codered app configured for multi-site (multiple domains) on Heroku pointing with Google domains for hosting non-trivial projects that carrd.io isn’t meant to handle.
Maybe I’ll writing about this process in the future and which tools that I use for doing it.