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August Month In Review

Published: 08/30/2019 | Time To Read:5mins

Welcome to the first installment of what I'm going to call my month in review segment where I'd like to just take the time to talk about things that have happened both on my website and in life whether hobbies or otherwise. Let's not wait and dig in shall we?

First I'd like to talk about the status of my website, where I'm at with it, what I'm working on etc. Over the past month, progress slowed down drastically as an end-user visiting my website as I've taken some time to sit and dig into this awesome thing called TypeScript. I'm sure if you do any javascript development you know all about this one!

Typescript? What's that?

When NextJS updated to version 9.x they introduced TypeScript at the core and well, I decided I wanted on that bandwagon, but I was, to be frank, half-assing it. The site compiled, everything worked, but it wasn't truly doing any type-checking. Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time recently staring at a white screen on my laptop while I was debugging and solving all the issues that arose from doing it wrong and working through how it should be done properly.

The result to say the least once I reached that compiling point again and seeing my site live was a relief, but I had to stop and wonder if it was really worth it, I mean its just me and my personal site right? Wrong!

Once everything was working and I turned back to development mode again I started getting lots of IntelliSense popups giving me the exact things expected by each component whether ones that I made or from other packages, without having to dig into the docs. I could even right-click to peek at the definition and dig around further without having to leave VSCode.

Another key benefit was I found I was starting to write a lot better and more robust code as well, with less compile-time errors so that I could keep on working on what I wanted to and not spend time debugging.

React Hooks! OMG!

Next up on the block was the fact that apollo released new version of apollo one of the big key features was the addition of hooks, something I'd been looking forward to since the announcement as it just cleans up code and makes it so much more readable without crazy amounts of nesting. Being able to delete lines of code entirely because of that was such a good feeling!

Make all the Components!

Next up on my agenda and the biggest thing going forward for me right now is quite a substantial refactoring of all my site into components. Not having any sort of design document to build my site off of has been quite a hinderance but one thing I've not done well is have consistency. Every page even if containing some of the same elements had redefined each thing, with probably inconsistent styles from a previous page, but not the same.

The process of refactoring into common components hasn't been easy as I'm trying to find the best suited visually things on pages and trying to split them into their own entity, while keeping in mind how they need to interact with and fit onto each page, something thats proving to be more fun than I thought but I'm making progress. You can't see it but it's looking pretty sweet on dev!

CSS Variables, oh my!

Another thing I've been trying to do while in the process of refactoring is to start using some CSS variables if no other reason than to show clients down the road that I'm serious about supporting newest techniques, but I also love that I can pop open the deve tools and just play with variables to see how they affect the overall site, from color to font-family to font-size etc.

One idea I've been tossing around in my head is using a cookie to perhaps store a variable so that users can manipulate and play with the theme colors just as a hey look at that, cause why not!

It's coming?!!??!

So what's on the to-do list?

First up is the component factor, thats the biggest one. From there I'm thinking its time to get user auth system in place as I'd like to start offering customized experiences for users of my site. Believe it or not, there are things that need some authentication to keep prying eyes from seeing and so that I can get front end editors in place. If I get the authentication piece into place I'd like to spend time refactoring existing pages to add functionality.

Smaller pieces of the puzzle on the list to do? Well, I'd like to setup toast notifications somehow. I haven't planned out in my head yet where or how those will look, Also need a scroll to the top for longer pages just for accessibility. Many more things on the Trello board but those are for later!

Personal Life

So whats going on personally you might ask, especially want to share?! Well nothing too much, plugging away at some models, you can always check those out at the link in the sidebar, always some cool new one is done.

I've also been trying to get out and do more photography, airshows, nature, people as its something I've taken more interest in over the years, but sadly my DSLR is getting a little long in the tooth and is in need of replacement. I've eyed a new one (Canon 90D) but just have to get the funds for it. soon enough though it'll be mine!

Stay tuned next month, hope to see you around!

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