I recently decided I should get over my learned helplessness at web design. I thought my personal website was a good guinea pig, since I had about zero chance of making it look worse and it does have a little bit of an actual use case.1 According to my roommate, the secret is “you just have to be obsessive”, so I spent a few chunks of this week obsessing (not too difficult for me) and this is the result.

I decided to write the site myself, partially because it would be a learning experience but mostly just because I wanted complete control over it and this was faster than learning all the ins and outs of theming one of the complete “solutions” out there. The Django web framework made it pretty easy. I think the whole thing is under 200 lines, including an RSS feed and stuff. The rewrite took me maybe 10 hours, of which maybe 5-7 were fiddling with CSS.2

I’m actually pretty happy with it. I learned a lot and I’m reasonably sure I made an improvement, although it’s hard to tell. I welcome any feedback though!

  1. My secret ulterior motive was to add a use case other than “recruiters somehow find my email and send it to everyone they know”. I don’t know what possessed me to put a resume on the old site. Never again. ↩︎

  2. I still have no idea how CSS actually works. Pretty sure the layout model is some sort of sorcery. ↩︎


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