Hello World

March 23, 2021 • 2 min read

TL;DR: I built this blog from scratch, so I could control the technical constraints, the visual interactions and the content publication. It’ll offer a daily post about productivity, creative strategy, and communication skills.

Today’s writing platforms are great but attached to a generic free template. And that’s fine to be focused on content. But as a Product designer and Software developer, embracing those constraints behind a paywall awake my maker’s spirit to wireframe and code the things as I’d like.

For my blog, I wanted to write about my everyday work problems, ideas, solutions, resources and interesting people on the Product field. So I needed a place to publish very often, easy to manage, and own the reading experience. After using Medium, Substack, and several editing apps, I felt ready to build my own blogging platform.

Zensemaker is a blog about productivity, creative strategy, and communication skills.

Owning constraints and tech debt

An important part of any product is considering the technical and experience debt. To reduce that, I build the platform using the JAMstack.

  • Gatsby (ReactJS) for the front-end
  • GraphQL for data management
  • DatoCMS as the headless CMS
  • Markdown as the input for my writing
  • Gatsby Cloud to serve the CI/CD and hosting
  • Google Domains to connect a subdomain to jantonioavalos.com
  • Github to manage my code repository

So I’d write content in Markdown, pasting it at DatoCMS, to be deployed in Gatsby Cloud and refresh this Website. Besides, when redesigning the UI or upgrading features, I’d use ReactJS, then push changes to Github, later deployed with Gatsby Cloud and served to the Website.

Managing side-project as a product

I build this blog as a product so I’m managing a backlog of user stories and tasks grouped by epics. I’m using Notion for the project management, document my code and placeholder for my upcoming design system.

About the content publication, within the same Notion Space I built a table to queue articles and keep working on them, editing, producing media and publishing.

To come

I want to include some features to improve the reading and make of this space a place to come, share and discuss with the Product and UX communities. So, some features in the backlog are:

  • SEO strategy
  • Newsletters
  • Dark mode
  • Readable (typography) library
  • Tags and Category pages
  • Table of contents as navigational bar
  • Comments
  • Audio posts
  • Analytics setup
  • Twitter plugins

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A blog written by Productivity, strategy and communication skills for creatives.