As you may have noticed, I've taken a minimalist approach for my website. There are three possible influences for this:

  • living in a country with a reputation for sparingly functional design
  • as a software developer I instinctively try to keep things as simple as possible (the less elements and styles, the less maintenance and the less to be cross-browser compliant)
  • a penchant for simplicity

In fact, it's probably a combination of all three. Either way, the point is that I strived to keep it as stripped back as possible and this approach means that I won't be adorning the site with various add-ons. Yes, I have linked to my LinkedIn account and Zerply (this site's purpose is by and large a web-based business card), and I'm more than aware that I've also implemented ShortMail's plugin for many-to-one contact, but I draw the line at pulling in a Twitter feed, displaying my LastFM playlist, FourSquare badges, anything to do with Facebook or my StackOverflow score.

As I've already written, this website is a glorified business card - a web developer should have some degree of web presence; this website is not intended to be a demonstration of my capabilities as a web developer. There are two reason for this:

  1. Anyone with a small degree of website-building knowledge can visit, say, the Twitter developers pages, copy-and-paste a script and insert their Twitter username, upload it to their hosting server and voila! Easy content to fill your page. I would question what this really adds to a personal website. On most sites (not all, granted) the pulled-in Twitter feed usually contains, say, 5 tweets which have been written with a frequency of once per month. Another problem with Tweets is that if you're only going to display those from one person then you're only presenting one side of a discussion and consequently the feed contains disjointed information. Also, Twitter feeds from people who aren't in prominent or influential positions in society invariably contain little in the way of real content.

What does your website gain by including a LastFM playlist? Would you post a notice in your window telling passers-by what song you were listening to at that moment? If not, then why feel that it's necessary to post it to a website?

And as for Facebook, that site itself does a very good job of presenting data and making it available to all and sundry. Plus, I'm probably the only web-connected person in the western world without a Facebook account.

My impression is that most people who build personal websites using the aforementioned services are simply looking for content to build a site around. Unsurprisingly as they build for the web everyday, most developers probably have an idea what they want their personal site to look like, how they want to express their identity through the medium of one or more webpages; they then build this out and find themselves wondering what to fill it up with. Quite naturally, the easy answer is to reach out for some content you've produced elsewhere.

  • I'm a software developer who happens to specialise in the web.

    To be more specific, I write a combination of code (C# and occasionally VB.NET), javascript, CSS, HTML, XML, XSLT, etc. in order to build a website in the best way I can conceive of given my experience and knowledge. For me, the most enjoyable and challenging aspect is writing the code, and this is what I spend most of my working time doing. So when I say that I'm a Web Developer, I consider myself to be a programmer first, and then someone who builds webpages second. I've read more about C# than jQuery, and more about SQL than HTML5. I'm not saying that I have no interest in jQuery or HTML5 - quite the contrary, in fact - but I consider those parts of my job to be the decoration which sits on top of all the good back-end work.

So it's for those reasons that I don't feel the need to fill my site with lots of fancy jQuery or emerging, browser-specific HTML5.