Hi there!

Introducing my new website.

published on December 9, 2020

Hi, I'm Patrick. Welcome to my website :)

This year I quit my job and decided to do a longer break to travel, take the time to learn new things, and recharge energy before starting something new. Well, my travel plans got canceled - thanks 2020 - but at least there's lots of time for the learning part. I also decided to create a new website with a blog, to write about the things I'm learning (and hopefully don't stop after one post again 😅)

Releasing This Website

There are multiple reasons for my decision to create this website and start blogging "again", this time for real.

Also for why it took me so long to finally launch it. After all, it's already 5 months since I'm funemployed.

But let's first have a look at what my reasons and expectations are.

Motivation

When I still worked for BlueYonder, a huge part of my job was creating architecture designs. Those did not only help to explain upcoming challenges to my teammates. They also helped me to get a clearer picture of them which of course is necessary when having to explain them to others.

“The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.” - Mortimer Adler

So I want to use this blog to make things I learn and do better stick. If the articles are then also helpful to you - even better 🙂

But that's not the only reason. I also want to write to improve my writing and the ability to communicate different topics clearly.

Oh and not to forget: I also want this website to serve as a collection of "problems solved". Do you know the situation to face a problem that you know you already solved months or even years ago but now can't remember it in detail? I do 🙈

It's Never Good Enough

Like already said, it's already more than 5 months since my last workday. So why am I releasing this website only now?

For one I was fighting annoying headaches for multiple months. Sitting in front of a computer and doing work was very hard, sometimes impossible. I had multiple doctor's appointments, even an MRI, but nothing was found. What got my hopes up was a visit to the eye doctor. It turned out that I need glasses. But even after I got them the headaches didn't vanish.

At some point, it got better, and eventually I was completely fine, but I still don't know what caused the headaches. My only assumption is that it might have been some kind of stress.

Even after I was able to work normally again, I didn't directly start developing this website. I worked on multiple things, things I will probably write about in the next weeks and months: to recap and make them stick.

The last thing that delayed this release was probably also the hardest to overcome: not being happy with the design of the website.

I don't know how often I changed the design of the page. Sometimes I started with an idea and spent a whole day with tools like Figma, ending up with something I was actually happy with, just to wake up the next morning and...well...don't like it anymore at all.

Other times I thought about something but was not able to translate my ideas to actual code.

At some point, I finally decided to simply release what I have now, start creating content and rework the website some other time. Until then I hope that I'm also more capable of implementing my ideas. Getting better with CSS and animations is one of the topics of my learning list anyway...

Too Many Things To Learn

Speaking of my list with topics to learn: The nice and the bad thing is - there are so many interesting things. One of my biggest issues with learning in my free time is that I usually want to do too many things at once. This results in jumping between topics or thinking about what to start with often ending up not doing any of those. 🙈

To avoid this I planned to mainly focus on two things for the next months:

  • Improving my ability to create frontend applications and
  • finally continue learning Elixir

I would also like to learn Spanish, but I'm still waiting for the necessary motivation, especially since I would prefer to learn it in Spain (or another Spanish speaking country).

Improving My Frontend Skills

While working for BlueYonder I mainly wrote backend code with Python but was also interested in creating the full end-to-end experience of features. In my free time, I started to play around with React and later Vue.

Because of that interest, I ended up in the team responsible for creating the customer facing UIs, where I was responsible for the end-to-end architecture design and technical decisions. In theory, I had the possibility to contribute to the JavaScript part of the applications, but we had people that were better suited for that job and I had lots of other responsibilities.

At least I was able to prototype things end-to-end on my own, which was nice, but that's also all they were - untested, not very pretty looking prototypes. Nothing you could call production-ready.

That's what I want to improve:

  • getting better at CSS and - with the help of frameworks - be able to create frontends that look nice
  • make them even more fun with css/svg animations
  • writing tests for my frontend code, from unit to e2e

You might think that this is still a pretty broad topic with all those different frameworks out there, and you are right. So another thing I'm doing is focus on a limited Stack and not try to do those things with every framework out there. For example I will focus on Vue/Nuxt with Vuetify and/or TailwindCSS.

In the last months I already made progress on the testing front and a post about how that went will follow soon.

Learning Elixir

The other topic on my list. Elixir is a programming language I played around with again and again, but I never took the time to get really comfortable with it.

Building on top of Erlang and the BEAM virtual machine, with Elixir it's possible to create very scalable systems with high availability.

Additionally, frameworks like Phoenix give developers a huge productivity boost for creating web applications. Even more so with the development of LiveView providing the possibility to create interactive, real-time applications without the need to write JavaScript.

What's Next?

If you stuck around and continued reading until here, thank you. I hope you got an idea of what to expect from this blog. The next posts will probably be less wall of text and more interesting 😀

Some of the upcoming articles will be about

  • designing APIs with OpenAPI and generate code from the API definition
  • my journey about getting started with setting up frontend tests (Jest, Pupeteer, maybe a switch from Pupeteer to Cypress)
  • setting up Python with FastAPI for the backend and Nuxt for the frontend including deployment to Heroku and Netlify

Thanks again for reading!