The TechSangam blog turned nine on March 11, 2020. The milestone passed with nary a fuss because, truth be told, the prolificacy of the early years had morphed into a slow death march towards dormancy. The dormancy was arrested in late 2016 with a brief flurry but 2020 heralds great promise for a full-fledged resurrection. Nine posts in 8 months is a fresh start and Covid-19 has provided a renewed impetus to the blog’s original muse — the role of social enterprises (and non-profits) in addressing the widening economic inequality.
Until July 2020, the blog was hosted on Dreamhost and powered by that granddaddy of blog publishing platforms - Wordpress. A chance conversation with the talented Rajeev Singh (of Callicoder fame) clued me on to the fact that I was doing it all wrong. Wrong as in “hopelessly outdated”. What was the point of plonking down money for a shared hosting plan (which also meant slow page loads) when I could have a vastly faster site loading at zero cost. It wasn’t just advice dispensing. Rajeev actually did all the hard work - migrating the Wordpress content, setting up the new site on Netlify, and helping me iron out DNS issues in the migration process.
Gatsby meets Netlify
Gatsby is a React-based open source framework for creating websites and apps. For engineers reading this, it’s worth mentioning that the Gatsby framework creates a Git repository for the website (or app) — the repo is inclusive of both the source code to run the website (React code, stylesheets, etc) and the content (blog posts, image assets, etc). The content is authored in “markdown” format which you can think of as a vastly simplified version of HTML. I’m writing this particular post using the vim editor (previously I was using VSCode). This is a pretty drastic departure from the WYSIWYG interface of Wordpress that I’ve been using for the past 12 years.
What else am I getting used? Publishing new posts involves building and deploying the entire website. It might sound like an overkill but the tradeoff is totally worth it — would you want a sub-minute publishing process with a sub-par page loading experience or a 10 minute publishing cycle with a blazingly fast website?
The other change I made? Migrating from Google’s Feedburner to Mailchimp for email subscriptions.
Hope you like the new fast loading website. Stay tuned for more frequent updates. Regular programming will resume.