Focusing on Long-Term Value

I've been a Stack Overflow user for over 2 years. I love Stack Overflow because it's optimized for long-term value. Last year, I attended a seminar by Jeff Atwood, co-founder of Stack Exchange. A particular point he mentioned is to maximize signal and minimize noise at design level. That's the reason why Stack Overflow doesn't become a developer forum, why the content is always of high quality and free from trolling, and why you can always find the right answer to your problems.

I'm not an active user, but every time I think I can contribute a better answer, I do. Most of my answers are late to the original question. Nevertheless they get up-voted. It's always a joy for me to receive a notification that my answer gets up-voted.

Time isn't a big matter if your site is optimized for the long term.

I started this blog two and a half years ago. In Why Blog? (in Chinese), one of the initial posts, focusing on long-term value is one of the goals I set for this blog. Till now, I wrote 18 posts. From Google Analytics, I see people come to my site for particular technical problems. A few days ago, I even discovered that 2 answers on Stack Overflow refer to a blog post on this blog.

These facts show that this blog is building the long-term value. This makes me proud.

Two days ago, I switched the blog engine from nico to Jekyll. What you are looking at is version 4.0 of my blog. I made this transition for two major reasons:

Reason 1: I'm not satisfied with the previous design. I always care about the reading experience. I admire blogs with optimized reading experience: no distractive elements, content only and beautiful font. I believe that if your blog lacks great reading experience, the value of it discounts.

I designed the previous theme with speed in mind: no JavaScript, minimal CSS, no external resources. As a result, each page loads blazingly fast. However, I gradually realized that I didn't get it right. Given the blog is a static web site, it will still be fast enough even if a few external CSS or scripts are loaded. To humans, there's probably no conceptual difference between 100ms and 300ms. Speed should be a goal, but not the primary goal.

As a result, a new design of the blog has been hovering in my head for a long time. Luckily, Jekyll comes with a clean, responsive theme, which is a great starting point. With a few tweaks, I have a blog optimized for reading experience (and still fast thanks to CDN).

Reason 2: Jekyll fits my needs for a static site generator better. With the recent release of 2.0, Jekyll has builtin Sass and CoffeeScript support and I love both Sass and CoffeeScript. With data files, data and presentation are decoupled, which gives new possibilities. Liquid template is reminds me of Django so it's already familiar to me.

As a programmer, I believe every tool you use should be programmable. The best part is that besides all the builtin features, Jekyll is fully customizable and extensible, with excellent documentation. Using Jekyll also helps me learn Ruby.

I still love nico's simplicity and flexibility but have to admit it requires more tweaking. @lepture is always helpful when I run into problems. Thank you!

A blog can never be great without great content. With the right toolset provided by Jekyll, my blogging experience would be more enjoyable.

As always, this transition doesn't break URL. Full-text RSS output and Twitter card support are enabled as well.

Hope you like the new design.