Creating Once

Over the past two years, of the twelve or so projects I've worked on, exactly one has been a website. The rest have been interactive installations, kiosks, and artworks. While I love this kind of work, I sometimes miss what attracted me to web development in the first place.

Web development draws its immense power from being part of a flexible, widely-available content distribution system. When you create something for the web, and create it well, that thing is instantly available to billions of people. They can use that creation on devices they already own, via a browser they already own, anywhere on the globe that they can find an internet connection.

The Create Once, Publish Everywhere paradigm has been inspiring and empowering to me through my time as a web developer. Taking content and making it available to anyone, in any form, is a beautiful goal, and it's easily in our power to do so. This involves using our tools not just towards democratic aims, but also in a democratic manner. Prizing accessibility, responsiveness, and small payloads helps us create things that can be used to maximum effect by the maximum number of people.

Installations work towards solving different problems — instead of dealing with a wide-ranging audience, they are focused on a small, specific one. They don't need to deal with asset downloads over LTE; they do need to deal with the position of the sun. They don't deal with different screen sizes, but with milking maximum power out of a specific machine. They have to worry about decals, traffic flow, and whether the floor is level.

While I love working with installations, they don't scratch that democratic itch that drew me into web development. When I found out about the 10k Apart — a challenge to make a site with an under-10k payload — I saw it as an opportunity to return to my roots and put together a beautiful, lightweight, future-facing website.

I took up and put down this project a couple of times, and I didn't end up submitting it to 10k Apart. Lately, however, I have more and more often wanted to write about specific things, only to find I didn't have a platform on which to write. I had to get this project out the door, if only to make way for future writings.

As a warm-up, I'll be writing a short series of posts on what went into making this blog. I hope that anyone blogging with Middleman, learning about accessibility, wondering about Atomic Design, or looking to publish with github pages will find them helpful.

I still have some items on my to-do list (<picture> elements, lazy-loading images, styling tweaks, etc.), but it was important to me to get a v1 of this blog out in the world. In the meantime, check out my payload! ~5k, as long as we're not counting font files 💥

Happy reading!