Angel Piscola

Hello World!


It is with great excitement that I publish this post! I've finally done it - I've finally released my new website, and with it my personal rebranding has begun!

My old website was written back when I was an intern, and the design choices and technologies used definitely reflected that. And while they reflected my humble origins and from whence my career began, there came a point when it stopped being a true representation of what I was as a professional, as a developer, and as a person. A few months ago I scrolled down the page, and seeing the parallax images, quirky dictionary entry-styled sections, and huge social media icons gave me a tickle of nostalgia, but moreso made me cringe at how I was representing myself online. I knew it was time for an upgrade.

I went into the new website with just one thought in mind, one idea of what I wanted to do - I wanted to make it with React. Armed with this desire I went out and looked at my options.

At first I considered hosting on DigitalOcean or Vultr, as I had been playing around with AWS in the past and I wanted to get more into the server administration side of things (I used AWS to set up S3 and Cloudfront for the old website). However, I soon dropped that idea for a variety of reasons.

I ended up deciding to host on Netlify, which I was already doing. Making a client side react application on Netlify meant the back end would have to be something like Firebase. Or, it would have to be static. I didn't want to just work on plain html files and whatnot. I wanted it to be a "real" app. I started looking into create-react-app but decided that I didn't want it to all be client side, due to SEO reasons. Not that my page would be likely to get many organic traffic from Google, but eh. I could dream. Probably not valid anymore? I wrote this a while ago.

Finally I stumbled upon GatsbyJS after browsing through Kyle Mathews' Github account. He was a contributor on a small react component I was using for work, and I had seen his name around the Twittersphere. Looking into gatsby, I figured that this was the framework I would use. Gatsby is a javascript framework which allows you to take a react.js app and turn it into a static site, complete with pre-rendered pages, SPA navigation, graphql, and a load of other goodies. It afforded me the perfect blend of React goodness that I wanted with the speed and ease of deployment that I needed.

Once I settled on Gatsby, I had to figure out how I was going to source my data. Would I use Markdown files? Would I use Wordpress? Contentful? There were many different options available, but none of them really piqued my interest. Then I thought to myself, "In my pages I'm using graphql to get the data from the gatsby store. Why can't I use graphql to get the data into the store itself?" And thus the idea for gatsby-source-graphcms came into being. I won't go into any detail about that here, it's written up in a post on the GraphCMS blog.

My job was starting to keep me quite busy, and my free time dwindled. This caused work on my personal site to stagnate. Some great folks helped pick up the gatsby-source-graphcms project and with everyone's effort we managed to release v0.0.1. This burst of productivity and encouragement from the open source community spurred me on to complete the rework of my website, and so here we are.

I'll be posting technical blog posts every so often (I might make one detailing my thought processes behind the first drafts of the gatsby-source-graphcms in the coming weeks), and I'll be posting my poetry and other creative writing exercises as well. I hope to make my website a place where people can learn more about me, what I'm capable of, and who I am as a developer and as a human being. I want to leave my mark upon the web, and this is the first step.

Hello World, I'm Angel Piscola.