maxrchung

Last edited: 22 April 2016, 1:06PM

Info

This is my personal website now rewritten in Rails. My old site was basically just a set of static pages, and after spending a few weeks playing around with Rails, this is now its formal replacement. The format is pretty much the same as my old one, split up into Home/Blog/Projects/About tabs. I'll be using this site mainly as a host for my resume and projects. Since it's a lot easier now for me to make posts, I'll also be able to contribute more to a blog and share my thoughts on things. All the assets, coding, and styling are done by myself.

Background

I guess to expand on some background more, this site was my first foray into web programming and development. After finishing Tatami Galaxies over the summer between my sophomore and junior year, I had about two weeks left before school started. I wanted to keep a log of all the projects and things I've worked on and also take a jab at web development, so I decided to get started.

I did a very tiny bit of web stuff in the past for class, with node.js for a project course. Unfortunately, by the end of it, I don't think I picked up much knowledge-wise. When I started this site, I was pretty much at step zero. But even just starting programming wasn't the start of my problem. Nevermind writing html and css, I had no experience with hosting, logging into servers, or setting one up.

On a whim, I remembered that one of my past team members on SLicense to Dye used Digital Ocean to host our game website, so I started with there. Thankfully, they had a very thorough guide to help me out with the process. Using that, I got a good head start.

It took me a very long time tinkering around to figure out html and css. I used codeacademy to help me get started, but I don't really think I learned much from the tutorials. Most of how I learn is through doing things myself, and that applied to making websites too. Now, I'm a lot more comfortable using the two now, especially after remaking everything on this new site from scratch. I'm still, I would say, pretty, inexperienced with JavaScript and jQuery and the likes, but since this is a simple enough site, there isn't too much of that was necessary.

With just learning html and css, I was basically able to fashion my entire site from static pages. Even the blogs I made in the past were just separate pages with a copied head section and modified body parts. It was very tedious to make changes because I wanted to make permalinks and have a pinned post on the front page. Very easy to lose track of what was going on and make small mistakes. Changing anything was also impossible too since I would have to recopy everything back everywhere again. At the very least, it was functional, so I was fairly happy with it.

After that, my next project was osu! UCI's website. In the winter quarter of my junior year I started up a club on UCI campus dedicated to playing osu!. In the break between winter and spring, I decided to help promote the club by writing a website for it. This site was also setup in the same way of my previous static sites, but I did play around a little more styling everything and adding art assets to make it more appealing. If I'm still using the osu! background on this site at the moment, it's from there.

In the summer between junior and senior year, I was able to get an internship at Blizzard doing web development. That was my first time using MVC with MVC ASP.NET, which was very different from everything I knew previously. I learned a much... better way of web development process, and it got me wanting to remake my site when I had a chance.

Unfortunately, Digital Ocean does not support ASP.NET (without I think some pretty serious hacks) because it supports mainly Linux distributions. And because my site currently is on Ubuntu, if I recall correctly, I looked to use something else. There was Python that I considered, and to be honest, I'm not so sure why I didn't use Django or Flask, because I did have a little bit of Flask experience that I wanted to look further into. I suppose it was mainly because I wanted to learn something new, so I chose to pick up learning Ruby and Rails.

That's pretty much back to present day. It took a pretty difficult amount of time refiguring out some CSS funky business and really just putting in enough time, effort, and motivation to make this site. The process took a lot longer than I expected, but I'm satisfied with the status so far. The other major thing I did for this site was setting up mobile CSS properly. I started out with mobile-first styling, and things seem to look fine now.

It turned out everything with my mobile css was fairly okay, except for forgetting one line in the head: meta name=viewport content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1". Once that was figured out, things snapped a lot more properly on mobile screens, and everything was pretty much smooth sailing. It's really weird because with styling changes you don't really get any error messages or anything when something doesn't look right, so it's a lot of just googling and trying random stuff until a solution is found.

That's that. I would've liked to fit some nice pictures in middle of this pretty long post, but I don't really have too many pictures or relevant pictures on my new computer, so I'll just jam something at the end here. Thanks for reading. :^)

Basically me and the site