Building a New (Online) Home

For years I used to used to host my personal homepage on a site called Flavors. It was pretty much all I wanted from a homepage, a simple one page site that I could point people to that just listed all of my social media profiles in one place. The digital equivalent of a business card pretty much. Flavors had a nice little feature where it would pull in (via API calls) information from your social media accounts into the page itself. I wrote a few years back about my issue with being trapped in eco systems, and this also extends to internet presence too. Most content is locked away in different silos and Flavors had the apporach of aggregating all that content from disparate pages back into a central location. It's the reverse approach to what the indie web crowd describe as POSSE; Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. For the most part, this worked well for me. It was low effort. I just hooked everything up once and then whenever I posted something somewhere, it made it back to my central site.

But then, things went wrong. Flavors eventually got purchased by Moo.com, a business card company. There was the usual email that went out to subscribers, promising that nothing will change and everything will stay the same. They were correct, nothing did change, everything did stay the same, and that was bad. There were no updates to the service, no fixes, no new features, the service was just left to rot for years. I carried on with my subscription though, my site worked and I was too lazy to find an alternative.

Then came the day I was dreading, an email from Flavors saying that they were going to discontinue the service and I had to pack my bags and leave. Subscribers were given until 18th May 2017 to find an alternative.

To be honest, it was a good thing, it certainly was the kick up the bum I needed to actually work on a new homepage. So I had a look at my options. They suggested Squarespace, but I wanted something a little simpler. After much looking around, I settled on coding a one page HTML site myself and hosting it via Github Pages. It was the slightly harder, more technical route, but it was because I wanted to fulfil some objectives at the same time, namely:

  • Learning to code HTML and CSS (properly)
  • Learning how to use Git
  • Hosting the page for free
A few weeks of diving into HTML tutorials, learning my way around Git and getting really familiar with the command line, I finally got the page out at http://kaif.me

This took a lot of tweaking to get working properly!

It's very basic, but I certainly learnt a lot from it. There's definitely a few things I want to change, like implementing web mentions and other geeky bits and bobs, but that's for another time. Also, it means I don't have to pay for hosting any more, result!