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The gist of my gists

On April 1st of all days, I hereby launch my new gists section. This will be brief articles, snippets, opinions and answers to questions. Mostly about React and closely related things, occasionally some other technologies like Node.js. Maybe at some point I'll throw in some gists about my hobbies as well.

Why gists?

I have tried writing long-form articles for a very long time, but the scope of them is preventing me from ever finishing them. Much like I do all the time in software development, I realized I had to break down the work into smaller deliverables. Gists are that. I've been writing gists forever, like when I respond to discussions on Reddit or issues on GitHub. Writing those never took me anywhere nearly as long as articles did.

Most worthwhile topics already have lengthy articles dedicated to them. There's no point repeating them. Instead, I can try to give you the gist of my take, and link to these excellent articles as a sort of drilldown.

I also had the idea that these gists could end up becoming sort of like my knowledge base. A collection of common discussions, questions and answers. In a similar vein, I can hop on Stack Overflow, pick out questions to answer and use those questions as inspiration to dive further into topics (or tangents).

The first gist I wrote was about using switch statements when rendering in React which came from the Stack Overflow question The components are getting unmounted and mounted again if we use switch case, Why?. (Update 1 month later:) I unlisted the gist since I realized I want this blog to be focussed on more advanced subjects and basics would distract and detract from that. I still think discussions on Reddit are a great way to collect things to write about, and I can use comments as a way to test some of my ideas.

This approach will achieve at least two of my goals:

Why write at all?

I have many reasons to want to write;

  • To generate backlinks to my portfolio site and increase my Google ranking
  • To have reference links to share in discussions with more info
  • To get better at in-person discussions
  • To think about subjects more deeply
  • To collect great links to other sources
  • To share my excitement about certain technologies
  • To share my frustration about web patterns (and hopefully get you to avoid them)
  • To become a better writer
  • To get feedback on my ideas and believes

I'm not sure if it was smart to list the backlinks reason as the first item, but I want to be honest and transparent with you. I'm a freelancer. I find fun jobs more easily if my site ranks higher on Google. This is how I justify spending time on this. The other reasons would not be enough.

I'm not looking for internet fame or points.

Some other subjects

Some other subjects I want to get the gist down about;

Some of these are probably too big ideas to even get finished.

The initial setup

I quickly threw some code together to get started and test whether this was a good idea. The current setup on my site is basically the gist of what might come.

If you read all this, I thank you for your time. I didn't expect anyone to be this interested in this particular gist, I just wanted there to be some kind of kick-off.

Let's go.

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