Software Engineering with Attitude

It has to start somewhere

I turned 30 this year. Quite a milestone for a human, right? Another milestone I'm having during this abnormally warm autumn months is 20 years of me writing code. That makes it 2/3 of my life spent in reading books, solving puzzles, thinking in abstract terms, trying to perfect Hello World. And I still enjoy doing it like I did in the very beginning.

For a long time I wanted to step up my programming journey by making a personal blog about it. You know, like cool kids do. Never really felt like I have something to write about though. Often thought that to make a blog is to be able to write those evergreen articles that inspire, bring new knowledge, articles that are useful.

The challenging part about finding those useful evergreen bits of knowledge is the fact the only constant thing in the industry is change. Tools, technologies, practices are getting obsolete, replaced, abandoned, falling out of fashion. My feelings towards those things may suddenly change as I keep learning something new. One day I'm willing to die on the functional programming hill. A year later I cringe about that past affection of mine.

There are plenty of amazing blogs I enjoy reading over the years: Code Simplicity, Red Blob Games, some particular essays I occasionally revisit like Programming Sucks, some essays that are the work of art like anything that Bartosz Ciechanowski writes. And many more of those blogs that keep my RSS feed far away from zero inbox. I have a lot of respect for those authors, their dedication and skill. But it is still hard for me to realize that they were not this good from the very beginning. They had their own starting point.

Not long ago I started making some pieces of software for my own convenience. Not libraries, not some cool puzzles either. But more practical things, some time one-off scripts. I got my own Hacker News client, because I wanted to better mobile experience and fewer distracting details. I wrote some Playwright scripts to automate some personal needs: mass blocking of assholes on Twitter, scraping IMAX seats for Oppenheimer, etc.

I got a lot better at getting these kind of things to some usable state, and not just leaving out at the idea stage. In part due to higher skills and better tooling, but also thanks to acknowledging that these things don't need to be universal or perfected. They just need to provide the least required convenience for myself only. I have become my own and only target audience.

After years of half-forgotten drafts and random notes on abandoned platforms, I think I understand what I can write about. I'd like to share some parts of my journeys that I find exciting at those moments, captured in details. Those details may remain disconnected and incomplete, but the least they need to do is to share just a bit more of my passion and attitude toward the thing I love doing the most. I hope here you will find something that we share passion about.

It has to start somewhere
It has to start sometime
What better place than here
What better time than now?
Zack de la Rocha