I’ve been reflecting a bit on the future of KnowProSE.com. Part of this was because of seeing my friend’s work on Miles By Motorcycle, part of it is the root of a lot of ideas I’ve had over time, and a lot of it has come with understanding what I was trying to do, what I actually did and what I wanted to do, as well as the tools that helped me along the way.
I’ve had the domain ‘KnowProSE.com’ for decades now. I think it was since the late 1990s, but I’ll go with just calling it two decades, which translates to me being 2 decades younger, as well as Content Management System Technology being in a fledgling stage. The first sites I had were either hand built by HTML in the 1990s, some of which I still find here and there, and later I went to blogging when I started getting paid for writing – when blogging was about the blogosphere, and when voices unheard of previously defined themselves as social media to challenge more formal media. It was a fun time for most of us who were both writers and technology savvy. If you remember this period, don’t forget to schedule your colonoscopy.
Drupal was the core of KnowProSE.com for some time, and for a while it grew with Drupal in step. But then Drupal became a pain in the ass. I’d want to log in to do one thing but ended up spending a lot of time doing updates, which was not as clean as it was when I later stopped using Drupal (to Drupal’s credit). Drupal was a contender for me at the time because I could, without a whole lot of overhead on relatively cheap hosting, do some pretty great things and I could imagine with the technology available. There was space for that. As Drupal evolved, I updated accordingly and things simply became more and more of a pain. I had grown. Drupal had grown. We grew apart. So when Bluehost.com lost my site and had no backup, and I had failed to backup recently, I just started over.
I eventually got tired of dealing with Drupal altogether – I was working with Drupal to pay the bills, Drupal broke things with every release, and my client base got a bit tired of Drupal. They weren’t wrong. On Twitter, the Drupal fans have been trying to tell me how awesome it is now, but honestly, I used to be one of the people who said that, so…
What I wanted was to simply be able to log in and write without all the Drupal chores. There are two parts of me – the technical side and the creative side, and they rarely get the chance to work together. To pay bills, you don’t get to play as much unless you’re a unicorn developer who farts rainbows. You end up doing the equivalent of, “Hello world” sort of stuff when you have enough time behind you. It gets boring, and I don’t like being bored almost as much as I don’t like having to deal with a bunch of updates when I want to focus on writing.
Is it all about me? For my websites, YES, it is all about me, because if I don’t like doing it I just ain’t going to do it. So I switched to WordPress.com, and I can now focus on the writing more for personal reasons – and RealityFragments is becoming that aspect of things for me, despite all this block nonsense they’ve hoisted on me. I just need a simple site for the writing.
But there is a part of me that wants to fiddle with those ideas that have survived the decades, and I just don’t want the Drupal overhead with all the layers of crap it comes with to be everything for the enterprise. I’m not the enterprise. I don’t want all of that.
This is what happens with technology as we grow. It either keeps pace with us and evolves with us or the disparate evolution happens, where we and the tech grow apart. With Drupal, it was also about paying the bills, but it just became too much of a pain to do that. Even now, a decade since I have looked at Drupal code, headhunters are pinging me about dealing with Drupal websites. What happened to them? Likely they hired some developers, got poor documentation, some kludgey code and when the developers left, suddenly they want someone to come in and fix the problems. That’s like paying me to stick my fingers on a door frame and slamming the door against my hand for a few bucks.
And so, having peeked and poked around a bit, I’m thinking of building my own CMS in Python for KnowProSE.com, which either means starting with the Django framework or not. I know Python, and this is an opportunity not just to get better at Python, but also to finally be able to get back to some of the big ideas I had behind KnowProSE.com – not necessarily good, but it’s my site and I can do what I want – and maybe keep the KnowProse.com CMS from evolving separately from what I want to do with the site.