Ying Yang Gear

Tao Ex Machina

The Way from a machine

Project blog by Tim Heath

I rarely end up where I was intending to go,
but often I end up somewhere I needed to be.
-Dirk Gently


Not invented here

Two big questions to ask as you begin any journey are: "Where do you want to be?" and "How are you going to get there." Before even starting a project, it's good to know what it's going to look like when you're finished, and what tools are you going to use make it. I have a vision of what I want my web site to look like, but a daunting number of tools to choose from.

Wordpress, Twitter Bootstrap, Django, 960 Grid, Wikimedia, just to name a few. They all would give me a powerful set of tools and features. If I use one of these frameworks, and bend it to my will, I can claim some flexibility and proficiency in learning to use a new tool.

However, even though many of these frameworks are, in some ways, just a collection of pre-made CSS and Java Scripts, it still has it's own conventions. A language of their own. Many of these frameworks are like this. "oh great, ANOTHER thing to learn before doing this." It's also easy to see some frameworks as rather bloated for my little blog, if I'm not using half the features.

If I re-invent the wheel, I'm being "stubborn", or maybe even projecting that I "don't play well with others." However, I also show that I am able to build a wheel. I like to learn and explore systems back to first principles. I've enjoyed learning bits of Latin and German, and seeing how they apply to the English that I speak. Some people overlook it, but I think that a high-level programmer should understand at least some of the Assembly code underlying their computer systems. In this way, I'm already eagerly teaching myself HTML5, CSS3, MySql, and PHP for building and serving web sites.

I'm still a bit undecided on this subject. Perhaps the best part about running this site myself, is I can change my mind later. Tao Ex Machina went live (as it were) with just some static HTML and CSS. I'm currently expeimenting with providing some back-end features with PHP. In another year, who can say?