Emily Kauffman

Back to projects

Intrepidem

Intrepidem is a lame term I came up with in undergrad for a fun website name for a class project. It's composed of the word "intrepid", meaning fearless, and my name, "Em". It seemed incredibly cool at the time and managed to stick around for the past 5 years, so here we are!

Intrepidem has, and always will be, my playground for trying out new stuff. The first version was only HTML and CSS, as I attempted to learn the basics of web development. I was on a trip out west over a summer between semesters. I took my camping gear, my car, some snacks, and a giant XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP for Dummies book. I was a little ambitious... Using that giant yellow book, I was able to create my first website in a tent at Mesa Verde National Park. Ever since, then I've been hooked. I started out as an art major and when I switched to CIS, I still found myself trying to find ways of combining the two. Without a doubt, my first site looked like absolute shit, but I still remember the feeling of elation of completing it.

Over the years, I've revised designs, learned new technologies, and moved toward Full Stack JavaScript development. I completed a MS in Information Science at Pitt and worked at various companies as an application developer. The one thing that has remained the same is that my website has always reflected my current interests and served as a way for me to try things, break things, and show off the cool stuff I've gotten to work on over the years.

In this current iteration, I'm using GatsbyJS. According to their website, "Gatsby is a free and open source framework based on React that helps developers build blazing fast websites and apps". For me, this was a way to break into learning more about JAMStack, and more specifically, GraphQL. I also wanted to start a blog so that I could start writing more about what I've been doing, and also help out some beginner devs with information that I wish I had had when I first started. Gatsby made this easy by allowing me to write all of my posts in Markdown. Another thing I like about Gatsby is what's set up for you out of the box. There is a huge ecosystem of developers writing plugins for everything imaginable. On the projects page of Intrepidem, you can see a list of my recent Github projects. These are being pulled directly from Github via GraphQL.

As for CSS, this is also my first time using styled components. Honestly, I don't know how I feel about them yet (I'm more of an IT-BEM person myself), but at least I can be a part of the conversation now. I felt myself retyping a lot of the CSS between components, so my next step here will be to figure out a way to componetize this.

When it comes to deployment, I usually use DigitalOcean or AWS for this. In this case, I decided to try out Netlify because it's the cool kid on the block currently. And after having done so, I understand why. In about an hour, I had set up a seamless pipeline between my Github branch and Netlify, including a form handler for the contact form! All you do is add the attribute "netlify" to your form, and when Netlify is building your project, it automatically sets up a handler. The minute that my site was live, the contact form was ready to record responses. My next step here will be seeing if there's a way to automatically send an email to myself when I have a new submission, similar to what I do with SES/SNS in AWS. Altogether, the developer experience was amazing with Netlify and I will use it again.

Another new change is that now the entire site will be served with HTTPS. I had set up certificates in other sites before, but for some reason, my own personal site was lacking, so I decided to practice what I preach (this is in progress).

Finally, the big change was the switch from intrepidem.com to emilykauffman.com. Although I will always feel a connection to that goofy name, I thought that using emilykauffman.com would tie my content more closely to me and allow others to find me easier.

As far as the design goes, I've been struggling this past year for many reasons to come up with a new design. Some of it was busyness between school and work, but a lot of it was with how bored I am with minimalist design! I understand why it's important to only have the content that a user needs without any of the "other stuff", but honestly it has made design boring. This is an attempt to satiate my need for bold colors and fonts. I had a blast doing it, too. I also would like to update the design to have some custom imagery, as opposed to free stock star backgrounds found on Google... Secondly, I plan to add subtle (and maybe some not-so-subtle) animations. This is my fun, code lab, and I'm excited to work on it in real-time with all of you. Due to the transient nature of this website, you might see things changing as I have new ideas! If you have feedback, or see anything that looks incorrect, feel free to use the Contact form to let me know!