Need More Leather

November 15, 2018

2 minute read

This is my personal blog to embrace learning in public as inspired by Swyx. It's also the final step in a virtuous cycle of learning, building, and teaching. The idea behind learning in public is that you learn more effectively by digesting concepts and explaining them in your own words. This blog is a way for me to digest my own learning and teach it.

That's right: you're in my brain's stomach!


All the Tools++

This is my first post, and it has been such a large bootstrapping effort that I think we're going to need more leather. Seriously, the digital equivalent of this set of tools were just used:

Set of leather working tools Todd Quackenbush via Unsplash

This site was built from traversing the amazing Gatsby tutorial.

Props to them (ouch, I know, sorry! Prepare yourself for bad jokes ) for their outstanding work teaching the basics of an impressive set of technologies through an easy to read, well written set of lessons. Their tutorial includes an introduction to:

  • Node and NPM
  • React and JSX
  • CSS Modules
  • GraphQL

All of which add up to the building blocks of Gatsby.

I have been through a number of different React tutorials, including an all day in-person workshop, and this tutorial is the first one that has helped me truly wrap my head around React and components.

Why is this such a big problem for me?

Tyrannosaurus Rex Image by Fausto GarcĂ­a via Unsplash

I'm a Dinosaur

I learned HTML and CSS in the 90's, when Notepad was the weapon of choice. I was shocked to recently hear about the demise of the bold tag. I can't even conceive of a world where dogs (markup/HTML) and cats (logic/JavaScript) live in the same file, in natural harmony.

And before the Gatsby tutorial, this Notepad T-Rex could never hope to understand:

import React from "react"
import { css } from "react-emotion"
import { Link, graphql } from "gatsby"
import Layout from "../components/layout"

export default ({ data }) => { 
  const post = data.markdownRemark
  return (
        <h1>{ post.frontmatter.title }</h1>
        <h2>{ }</h2>
        <p> { post.timeToRead } </p>
        <div dangerouslySetInnerHTML={{ __html: post.html }} />
        <div className={css`margin-top: 2em;`}>
          <Link to="/">Return</Link>

export const query = graphql`
  query {
    markdownRemark {
      frontmatter {

This is the template powering this page, which I implemented myself (yay, go me!). Now I'm still learning and I want to break down how it works in a future post. Before I do that though, here's what this blog is all about:

  • Tracing my personal journey with code
  • Capturing important concepts I've learned along the way
  • Showcasing the projects I've built that solidify my understanding
  • Teaching back to the wider universe these lessons

So, stay a while and listen.

(And prepare yourself for the throwbacks! )