Why this blog is so plain

Simple things are good, plain websites are wonderfull. In this post I contemplate about current state of world wide web, my attitude towards content creation (blogging) and use words “lean” and “good” in one sentence (probably for the first time ever).

I (still) love writing

I love writing. From the day 0 (developers start counting from 0, just so that you know) when I learned how to write. As I was telling in my radio interview, along with listening to crime reports I used to write down car numbers in my pre-school childhood.

Years later digital journey began when I was introduced to computers. It took some time, but before finishing High school I was writing articles to local magazine “Kompiuterija”, later working as freelance journalist to another IT magazine “Naujoji komunikacija”.

WordPress journey

While I had my first website back in 2002 and custom-made content management system powered blog in 2005, four years later I switched to WordPress – the most popular content platform to date. As it started from blogs, now WordPress is way beyond that – plethora of online shops run WooCommerce (me as well), there is entire ecosystem and businesses working on creating themes and plugins to satisfy whatever function you could imagine on a website.

WordPress, but...

So as most websites, WordPress became clunky. Backend is written in PHP which is not bad by itself, but frontend is getting huge. While initially (and still) relying on jQuery, WordPress chooses to power revolutionary components like Gutenberg with Facebook's React – something you can reason having multicore processor and hardware acceleration just to run the browser.

So the more load you push to client side, the more need you have for native apps. Which in the end of the day turns into initiatives such as headless WordPress where you interact with WordPress API and have (preferably) native client to draw the whole picture to you. Because browser, well, is no longer capable (unless you run it on state-of-the-art device).

Is that the web we really want?

I do have many ideas and to-dos for content to publish: posts, podcasts, videos... But you know, it's getting difficult to motivate myself to start. Why? When I was writing a post introducing fediverse in Lithuanian on my WordPress-powered blog I constantly heard my gaming laptop fans spinning in maximum speed. The hell? Just to run the browser?

Lightweight blog

Along with starting my journey in fediverse one system caught my eye in particular: lightweight, using minimalistic looks, backend written in Go – WriteFreely seriously positioned itself as “distraction free writing experience”. And you know, it is.

And this blog is powered by WriteFreely. In fact, I liked this system so much I also contributed (and hope to continue).

Lean

Ok, you might have came to this page following a teaser in the beginning.

There is a lot of fuss in the professional market making everything “lean”: lean processes and methods, lean staregies, even lean coffee. Why “lean” is such a buzzword?

Back in the 30s Toyota created operating model known as Toyota Production System which was later defined as “lean manufacturing” or “lean production”. In a nutshell, it is supposed to increase efficiency and “do more with less and less”.

Because my mother tongue is Lithuanian, I tend to look words in a dictionary before deciding if they are used in right context.

Adjective “lean” is defined as “lacking richness, sufficiency, or productiveness”, as well as “deficient in an essential or important quality or ingredient” by Merriam Webster.

As I'm very interested in automotive diagnostics, there is also a particular OBD-II trouble code followed by Check Engine light: P0171 System Too Lean – indicating that air to fuel mixture level is wrong with too much air.

So how can “lean” be “good”?

If website is “lean of” JavaScript, large images, compressed but still massive embeds – it is good.

WriteFreely has tiny amounts of CSS and just some JavaScript where totally necessary. Also content is written in Markdown – developers love it. Why? Because Markdown is nicely viewed even in editing mode, can be efficiently historized in Git repository and provide “lean and clean” experience.

So in the end I can write post (just like this one) in my favourite text editor (Atom), commit to personal code repository and either automate or manually paste to WriteFreely. This is where “lean” appears in positive context.

Agree? Disagree? Mention me on Mastodon @gytis@mastodon.lt or write an email to comment.


My name is Gytis Repečka, I am Data Engineer currently working with PostgreSQL and Linux infrastructure on AWS cloud. Writing code in SQL, Go and Bash. Experienced data professional (Teradata, Informatica) with focus on Inmon's data warehousing architecture (10 years). I enjoy using, promoting and contributing to open source software and love communicating about tech to both advanced and non-tech people. Mention me @gytis@mastodon.lt on Mastodon.