This article was originally posted on my digital garden at garden.richardhaines.dev
So here we are, the likely hood is that you are reading this on said new digital garden. You've viewed the wacky home page, seen the silly cartoons references and navigated your way to this post. Or you just clicked on the link I posted on social media, either way you are here. So welcome!
I had taken a long time slowly adding features to my main site richardhaines.dev, I had wanted it to be a home base for everything that I created and wanted to share with the world. I'm still happy with it, it serves it's purpose rather well. I got to practice some GSAP animations, had my blog stationed there and also made a cool copy/paste page where I laid out a lot of the things I find myself copying over and over again.
The decision to move my digital garden over to a new subdomain came about through a want to create something silly, something in my own image. A place where I could not only house my writings but also experiment with designs, layout and animations without worrying about upsetting the flow of my main site. The thing is, when you take so long to build something you eventually become attached to it, be that a good or bad thing, and every change you make to that thing becomes smaller and smaller as time goes by. Upset that you might destroy the thing you worked so hard on to get to it's current stage.
I'd been interested in trying out NEXTJS for a while, I had dabbled rather briefly for a post I made that introduced Theme-ui into the mix but hadn't really made something. Dom Clark who I know through the Party Corgi discord had created a new project that combines NEXTJS and MDX which at it's core is a set of templates that aim to get the user up and running with an NEXTJS and MDX site as quickly as possible. I decided that this was a good opportunity to do a test run and see how easy it would be to get a site up and running using my current MDX files (which make up my digital garden).
Turns out it's super easy. The whole repo is geared up to get you writing and publishing content from the off. I literally just had to import my MDX files into a certain folder and BOOM it worked.
Seeing as it was so easy to get up and running I began experimenting with some ideas I had had previously but been too afraid to implement. And the result is this glorious explosion of colour and fun. This site is a playground for me to do whatever I want, safe in the knowledge that I've made it that way, for that reason. It will forever be WIP and that's the point. You never finish tending to your garden, you nurture it and watch it blossom into whatever form it takes.