Hi, my name is

Marc Santos

I'm a senior software engineer working remotely in Christchurch, New Zealand, for Provoke Solutions.
Designed and developed by Marc Santos.
This website is a work in progress made with .
© 2011 - 2021. All Rights Reserved. Hikari v0.2.21.

A trip down memory lane

May 10, 2020

Photo by Patrick Lindenberg
5 min read

So what's the point in all of this?

Well, nothing really. I just wanted my own personalized @ email address, and this website just so happens to be a side effect of it. Though looking back at about a decade of changes I've done here, it's hard to argue the experience I got out of developing it was for naught.

The wayback machine.1

The Internet Archive runs a service called the wayback machine. In a nutshell, it crawls the web and takes snapshots of websites like this one. These snapshots are a semi complete copy of the website, containing most of its dependencies such as CSS and JS files.

For simplicity, I took screenshots of the snapshots taken by the wayback machine. Unfortunately, some of the dependencies I've used were not included in the archive. This omission made the previous versions of this website look worse than it would have been otherwise. 😂

  • Oct. 2010. Registered the primary domain2. Unfortunately, I don't recall what it looked like back then. All I know was that the website got crawled by the wayback machine about 3 years after the fact.

    Sometime between this and the next screenshot was when I registered for a Google Apps3 account. This got me my own personalized Google services such as Gmail, Drive, and Docs to name a few.

  • Oct. 2013. I started out with Blogger. And despite the entry date, my use of it predates the snapshot by a couple of years. My only gripe with it was the lack of file access to the server. But despite that, I think I can say I did pretty well for myself; working with the publishing tools, customizing the page templates, and understanding the limitations4 of the platform still got me the look and feel to almost where I envisioned them to be.

    Snapshot as of October 2013

    Not pictured was the default landing page, a beautiful image carousel displaying a selection of the photographs I've taken, spanning the viewport of the browser.

  • Oct. 2016. Around this time, I pivoted this website from a blogging configuration to a single page, informational website. It kind of defeats the purpose of the Blogger platform, but then again, I was using it as a free web host anyway. This was also when I started poking around in AWS5, which in this instance, using Elastic Beanstalk to manage the virtual machines that hosts my server side (PHP) code.

    Snapshot as of October 2016

    I guess I've been using my tagline for quite a while now; "to lead and work closely with experienced Software Developers, on a variety of challenging projects". I originally penned it on my CV out of college. Mind you, my context of challenging at the time was new or greenfield projects. But so far, all it meant to me was having to maintain legacy systems, not that I'm complaining.

  • Aug. 2018. I have fully migrated this website to AWS at this point. This gave me more control over the servers I hosted on, as well as open up the possiblities of branching out to other web technologies in the wild. At least that's what I thought, until the service fees arrived. Though to be fair, it wasn't that bad, but bear in mind that I went from not having to pay for anything, to paying for something. 💸

    On the plus side, not being limited to HTML and having to inline my CSS and JS code was a breath of fresh air. I now had the environment to publish the work I've done, using technologies such as AngularJS, Handlebars, and Node.js among others. Of course, all of this was possible locally, but that setup didn't quite motivated me as much.

    Snapshot as of August 2018

    I remember having the above photo taken before attending my friend's wedding. It was quite rare for me wear a suit, so I figured I might as well. 🤵

  • Sept. 2018. The current iteration of this website. Developed in GatsbyJS, I've configured my setup such that the code repository, CI/CD pipeline, and hosting were all handled through GitLab. This allowed me to publish a new version in a single step by simply pushing changes to my remote repository.

    Now I don't know for how long I'm going to keep this setup, but I'm liking how it has turned out so far.

Moving forward.

And there you have it. The journey developing my personal website that started about a decade ago. There are no others like this, because this one is mine.

Throughout all of this, I've been working full-time as a software developer. And although the technology stacks between my personal projects and work differ, these are what keeps me interested in trying out new things.

That said, I plan on using this website to document my technological exploits, the issues I've come across, and the solutions or alternatives that came after. I may not necessarily be the first on any of these, but it doesn't matter anyway. Right? 🤔

Author's note: For brevity, not all snapshots were included in this article.

  1. This is a service provided by the Internet Archive that allows people to visit archived versions of websites. Note that not all websites are archived, and that the frequencies between archives vary. https://archive.org/web

  2. The original primary domain was my full name. It made sense at the time, but was a bit of a pain to write and read aloud in the long run. https://marcangelosantos.com

  3. Now called G Suite with pricing that starts at $6 USD per user/month as of this writing. Luckily, I registered before the free tier was discontinued, so I am still able to make use of this service for free. https://gsuite.google.com

  4. I've inlined custom CSS and JS on the template, made use of CDNs for common web libraries, as well as use an image hosting service provider called Picasa. Picasa was where I uploaded image assets used on the Blogger version of this website. I chose this service because it was free, and hotlinking from there was a relatively pain free experience. Note that this service was discontinued and have been replaced by Google Photos. https://picasa.google.com

  5. Also known as Amazon Web Services. Unlike the services I've used in the past, my AWS account is still alive and kicking billing. https://aws.amazon.com