Welcome to bret.design

This page is a test-bed for my coding projects, with an attached blog and mind garden. What's a mind garden, you ask? Think of it like a personal wiki, designed to help individuals synthesize and build connections across ideas. It's connected to personal knowledge management (PKM) and the concept of the Zettelkasten. For more information, head over to the Notes section.

This site is built with Eleventy, a fantastic static site generator with a low barrier for setup and a lot of flexibility. It's hosted through Vercel, and I'll be working on a guide that walks through the setup of a similar site.

Wait, what is this?

In mid-April 2021, I started building onto my skills as a developer. I've known and worked with HTML and CSS for years (since frames were "cool"), but always in a hobbyist capacity. In April, after enduring a year of lockdown and struggling to find some new meaning through a creative project, something finally clicked in my brain with JavaScript and coding in general. That grew into an obsession with web development frameworks and even a desire to figure out what backend development entails—you know...mysteries like databases and APIs.

If those terms are still fuzzy to you, part of the purpose of this site is to help me grasp the concepts. I'm new, and while there's a lot to learn, I'm excited to write and learn "in public."

The Blog

The blog of this site will cover a variety of developer topics. I can't pretend that what I write will be shockingly different from other resources and guides out there. But, as a lecturer of writing in my day job, I know that learning and writing are initmately connected. There's a reason blogs feature in so many developers' processes. So if you're looking to become a developer, or just looking to understand the terminology, I'm going to try to make some accessible and simple overviews. The kinds of resources I wish I'd found earlier. I'll also point out some of the fantastic learning sites that have already been created by incredibly generous open-source advocates.

And yes, I know, I'm also going to have to ditch some of my academic tone. No one wants to read that.

Learning and Resources

I'm a firm believer in the free access to educational content. And that depends upon the generous contributors to open source education projects. I have a conflicted relationship with the state of education (university education, in particular), and that will likely come across in some of my articles. Education is intensely valuable, but like so much else, it's become commodified to an extent that is...depressing.

Let's go.