My First Blog

As part of my job, I googled for answers like we all do. As I did that, I found some amazing personal blogs, such as this one by Dan Abarmov. These blogs inspired me to create my own. I wanted to be able to express jargon filled technical content in an easily consumable manner.

Since it's my first time building a blog, I first decided the technologies I wanted to use. My only constraint was it has to be built with a stack I was not entirely comfortable with. The stack I decided upon was:-

  • Use TypeScript - According to the StackOverflow 2019 Survey TypeScript is one of the most loved languages. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.
  • Use Statically / Server rendered React - We use React at work, and wanted to explore features that I had not used yet.
  • Use Styled-Components - Wanted to learn this so that I could use it at work
  • Deploy this is a serverless manner.

Whatever you want to do, it's almost always solved

In the case of Statically / Server generated react, there are two main competitors, Next and Gatsby. A quick google search will show you the pros and cons of each. I went with Next.js primarily because of it's integration with I achieved serverless deployments and server rendered react in one go. An especially impressive feature of Next is Automatic Static Optimization It automatically emits a hydrated React application if you don't use the getInitialProps function. Plus, it helps that it uses PHP like pages directory!

Having decided to use Next.js, I looked for prior art. I found Juan Olvera's blog and through that Max Stoiber's blog. Serendipitously, Max Stoiber is one of the co-founder's of Styled-Components! So I used their code bases as *ahem* inspiration, and made my own. A shoutout to both of them, I would not have a website without their blogs.

Things I learned while building this website

TypeScript and Rebass

TypeScript is worth it, but in larger, ever changing code bases. Recently, at work I had to use a component I had written just a couple of months ago. I could not remember what props I had to pass and what types they were! TypeScript in such situations is amazing.

On a small blog app however, types were an hinderance. Quite frequently, I found the compilation errors next to useless and hard to debug. But this disenchantment could just be due to the fact that I'm learning the language as I build. I also could not use it on the NodeJS code. At least, not easily. Next.js, TypeScript and Node.js seemed to require conflicting JavaScript module systems, which I had learned about just because of this. TypeScript does not support the require syntax, while Node.js demands it. Facing all these issues, I reverted to JavaScript for the get-blog-posts.js helper module. If any one could point me in the correct direction to overcome this, I would love to learn!

Another thing to note is that rebass v4.0+ has moved to use Theme-UI, so to use styled-components with rebass, you have to import it like so:

import { Box } from "rebass/styled-components";
import styled from "styled-components";
// Use Box now and style it as you wish
const StyledBox = styled(Box)`

Also, to use it with TypeScript, you will have to edit your tsconfig.json file and add the following:

"baseUrl": ".",
"paths": {
"rebass/styled-components": ["node_modules/@types/rebass"]

CSS and Design is still hard

If you look at my website closely (well, you don't really need to look at it closely) you'll find that in terms of styling it's a mix of the two blogs I've previously mentioned. Styling and design is really hard. I hope to rebuild this blog soon. Will need to learn how to design a web page first though!

Features yet to be built

As I was working on this website, I realized there are somethings that still have to be built to get a proper blog.

  • A commenting system. I'll probably have a look at webmentions or some other component that can be used.
  • A RSS Feed

I'll be adding these as and when I have time, but my primary focus will be on writing some blog posts!


It's been a couple of months since this blog post, and some updates since:-

  • Next.js has become even more awesome. They have new data fetching methods so that your site is much faster!
  • I used one of them for getStaticProps and got rid of the get-blog-posts.js file.
  • I redid the CSS of the entire website.