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The Blog Is Back In Town

It's been well over a decade since I kept a blog here. That's a lifetime or two in software development, but I've missed writing and decided it's time to bring it back. So, this is the kick-off to incentivize me to write more. And it never hurts to have another new project to work on, and something with more web front-end work, that is developing a site with Eleventy, hosted on GitLab pages, optimizing the use of GitLab's tooling, and extensive use of automation with GitLab CI.

This blog will focus on the software world I live in today and my open source work, which includes:

  • Continuous integration, continuous delivery, continuous deployment, and automation
  • Leveraging GitLab and GitLab CI to optimize software development
  • Applications written in Node.js, sometimes Bash, and usually run in containers
  • Development of automation and automated test tools

Most of my open source projects are hosted in GitLab in the group GitLab CI Utils - a mix of GitLab CI jobs, containers, and Node.js tools/libraries. This blog's site lives at my GitLab.com profile, but there's not a lot else there (at least not public). Most of my projects are maintained in a separate group to facilitate participation in GitLab's Open Source Program, which provides free GitLab Ultimate licenses, and the additional capabilities that brings, to improve open source development.

I do also have a GitHub profile, but this is primarily forks of various open source projects that I contribute to. Many are one-off contributions, but I do make frequent contribution to Pa11y and Pa11y CI (automated web accessibility testing tools).

Blog history #

My last blog was written 13 - 15 years ago. At that point it was focused on web development with ASP.NET. So, for a little entertainment here are some stats on the state of web development at that time to show how far things have come since then.

Browsers #

  • Internet Explorer still had 50% of the browser market share, and even though Internet Explorer 9 was the latest release, most web applications were still written to support Internet Explorer 6/7/8 (that is, before the DOM was standardized).
  • Chrome v5 was the latest release, and it was still using WebKit (yes, that WebKit).

Web applications #

  • ASP.NET v4.0, using Web Forms, was just released. ASP.NET MVC was a release candidate and .Net Core was still 6 years away. Enterprises not using ASP.NET were probably using ColdFusion or Classic ASP.
  • There was no such thing as front-end, back-end, or full-stack web developers. We were just web developers, and we were all full-stack.
  • The terms multi-page app (MPA), server-side rendering (SSR), and file system based routing didn't exist because all web apps were server-side rendered multi-page apps using file system based routing (maybe with a little AJAX sprinkled in).
  • Many developers still expected HTML to evolve to some form of XHTML strict. The WHATWG had formed and created an initial HTML 5 draft spec, but it wouldn't be a candidate recommendation for 2 years, and no browser would fully support it for 3 years.
  • REST was just starting to get real adoption as a successor to SOAP for web services.

Front end #

  • It took some courage (and probably a lot of wasted time) to develop cross-platform or cross-browser web applications without jQuery.
  • Many designs (especially some older enterprise apps) still conformed to the "web safe color palette."
  • Responsive web design was just starting to be used, and Twitter had just released the Bootstrap framework to make it practical.
  • AngularJS came out late that year (that is v1, before v2 was re-named as Angular). The first release of Typescript was still 2 years away. The first release of React was 3 years away.