Michael Brunton-Spall     About     Archive     Feed

Building a personal website

2009-10-09 23:18:57 +0000

One of the requested articles on this site was a comprehensive diary of what went into building this website, and why I did so.  Since for shits and giggles wasn't exactly the answer you wanted, I thought I'd elucidate on why I built this and how I went about it.

Essentially this site is here to serve my vanity, to give me a project I can work on with some cool technologies, and to enable me an outlet for some of the articles and opinions that i've built up over time.

I used to have a mibgames blog but since I'm no longer gainfully working on my own indepentent games I've decided to gracefully retire it.  I've also started to shift away from an online presence based around the mibgames persona and instead concentrate on the bruntonspall name.  This is because I've been talking at more conferences around web 2.0 and web development, and I'm often asked why I have the twitter name mibgames.  A better "brand" for me is the bruntonspall name, since it's more personally identifiable, and in a way slightly more professional.

So anyway, whats the story behind this website, and the planned features?  Well I covered a bit about the story behind the website in my first post, but here's a bit more back information.

I work at guardian.co.uk as a web developer.  Part of that work involves working on new web functionality, and often involves using new technologies and so forth.  But the guardian website is not the sort of site you can just play around with.  Adding something like facebook connect, or openid is not the sort of technology one can decide on a whim to play with.  So the need to have somewhere to play came up, and I tried making a few toy projects, but my heart was never in it, I knew this wasn't a real project, and so I couldn't really be bothered.

So with the upcoming 30th birthday, the need for a real project, and the decision to start shifting my online presence I decided I needed a new brunton-spall website.  The old one was shockingly bad after all!  This gave me the necessary impetus to decide to try out some new web technologies and try some stuff i've never done before.

Because of it's existence as a test bed for technologies this site is unlikely to be entirely stable at all times.  It was never meant to be, and things might shift around, features might get added or removed.  I'm going to try my best to not lose any data, and to obey the rules of the web, so addressed content should stay there if at all possible, but we'll see how this goes.  As the website gets bigger and more popular I'll think about moving it onto a more permanant host, and creating a beta site, that has mirror content but with less stable technologies.

So how about the future?  Well I'm gonna keep some of that under my hat still, mostly because it's not all laid out or planned very well just yet.  You can be sure however that my first thing to develop is some method of bi-directional communication.  This website isn't just for me to put even more stuff into the world, but a way for you people to comment back.  I'm undecided right now whether to add the comment system via Disqus, or Facebook Connect.  If you hae an opinion, then twitter me at @bruntonspall