Advent of Bloggers 2021: Day 18
Written by James. Published on under the Advent of Bloggers (Series) category.
I am writing a blog post every day from December 1st to December 24th, 2021, about a blogger whose writing or site I follow. My aim for this series is to help you discover new blogs and to help get the word out about content creators whose blogs I appreciate. You can read more about this series in the inaugural Day 1 post.
Parimal Satyal's Blog
I came across @neustadt.fr's blog, available at neustadt.fr, when I was starting to research the history of the web. Parimal website caught my eye before I even got the chance to read an article. Each web page has been carefully crafted to use a retro theme. Every web page has its own unique background. The backgrounds on blog posts suit the subject matter of the post. The main content on each page is clearly distinguished from the background so it's easy to read the words on Parimal's blog.
There are two articles on Parimal's blog that helped me deepen my understanding of web history and reaffirm that the web is a playground for creativity. Social networks may restrict your ability to create content outside of their themes but you can always start a personal website to share your thoughts. You can craft a home for yourself on the internet and design it how you want. While I knew this was possible, Parimal's articulate writing helped me build a better understanding of what the web was and what it can really be.
In his essay "Rediscovering the Small Web", Parimal talks about his website design and makes reference to many artefacts of internet history. I first read this essay back when I was just learning about web history. There were so many interesting screenshots of old websites and web assets, from the Geocities Neighbourhoods home page to Netscape Navigator logos. Sites like Geocities helped enable anyone to build their own website with code. Those sites were grouped using a directory structure to make them easy to navigate. In its time, Geocities was a big player in enabling creative expression on the web. Parimal went on to share how the web is not fundamentally controlled by gatekeepers. You can opt out and make fan sites or personal websites if you want to do so.
The second essay of Parimal's that helped inform my views on what the web can be was "Against an Increasingly User-Hostile Web". This essay talks about the state of the web today, making reference to trackers and the extent to which web services are centralised. The essay is not a compliant. It moves onto action. Parimal makes a profound statement that I want to restate here:
"the web wasn't meant to be a gated community"
Indeed, the web is built on open protocols that anyone can read. Those protocols are implemented across countless servers around the world. Anyone can start a website and as the years pass it is becoming increasingly easy to do so. There is nothing about the design of the web that says you cannot start your own web site and share content from that site. Parimal ends this essay with some recommendations about what you can do to preserve your privacy, what web professionals can do to improve the web, and acts as a reminder of the openness inherent in the web.
Outside of those essays, there are many other resources to explore on Parimal's site. There is a guestbook to which you can add your name and leave a message to Parimal. There are some retro links and resources on a "Retro Stuff" page. There are more essays to read. There are pieces of music written by Parimal that you can download. Every web page ends with a delightfully retro llist of facts about the website, including when it was last updated and how the site was hosted.
Parimal's site reminds me that your site is really your internet home. You can style it in your own way. Parimal's site is built by hand. Every page is hand coded. HTML and CSS is powerful on its own without using additional technologies. Indeed, there are ways to enhance the processes one goes through to build a website but HTML and CSS on their own can get you a long way. You can get creative and use GIFs and different images and your own fonts and styles and layouts on your own web page. What you do with your own site is up to you, as Parimal eloquently conveys in the aforementioned essays.
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Check out the other posts I have written related to this article.
- Advent of Bloggers 2021: Day 2
- Advent of Bloggers 2021: Day 3
- Advent of Bloggers 2021: Day 5
- Advent of Bloggers 2021: Day 6
- Advent of Bloggers 2021: Day 7
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