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blog of developer & bookworm benjamin read

On website longevity

When you build something, how long do you expect it to last? Whilst it might be easy to think about the things we create as our legacy to the world, that might not be the case when it comes to our online creations ...

When I was first experimenting with Gatsby, I built a site that I was really proud of. It was my first JAMStack project, and allowed me to publish content for a cause I wanted to support. However, only a few years later I found I could not continue to use it.

What had happened was that things had moved on. I had built it with an early alpha of Gatsby v1, and since then the project has continued to iterate, being supported by it's vast online community.

All of the dependencies that Gatsby uses under-the-hood had been updated too. React router had made way for reach router, there were new ways of handling many different things ... no doubt better ways, but ways that still left my little old website flaky after only about three years of uptime.

This isn't necessarily a problem. People can still view the content I posted there in all those years that I was able to use it. And I could still have run it locally ... had I not wiped my computer and started over with a new install of Nodejs, Gatsby cli, and everything else.

That last step seems to have rendered it challenging for me to even add a new locally-hosted Markdown blog page, and so I find I haven't updated the blog in quite a while now.

I have three young kids ... if you have kids, you know that means practically zero time out. So there's no time for me to even plan - let alone carry out - a rebuild of the site.

I guess what I'm saying is that these new tools are awesome, and I don't want to stop using them. I just wish they didn't result in things being quite so ... ephermeral.

After all, if I'd built the site out of custom HTML, CSS and JS, I have no doubt that a refactor wouldn't be necessary now at all.