Ten Years

Ten years ago today, on February 27, 2010, I registered the domain name andersnoren.se.

I was 18 years old, and a couple of months away from finishing high school. Blogging had entered the Swedish mainstream in a big way, and I had caught the bug. I had blogged for about two years at that point on a different domain, but I figured it would make sense to publish the stuff I wrote on a site bearing my own name, so I registered andersnoren.se. I wrote about tech, video games, and my own side projects: small websites with very unprofitable AdSense ads. Some of them are still around. I won’t tell you about them.

I will however show you how this website looked back then, and that’s embarrassing enough. Enter the time machine with me as we journey back to August 2010. (Earlier Wayback Machine snapshots don’t include the CSS.)

Those were the days. The theme is “Mostly Text Anyway” by Christian Davén.

This site was entirely in Swedish back then, which means most of you can’t read the text in the screenshot or link above. You’re lucky. I was an unbearable 18-year-old.

Two and a half years later, I was a slightly less unbearable media and communications student at Umeå University, earning extra money by doing some freelance web development on the side. I figured it would be fun to try and release a theme on WordPress.org. In September 2012, Lingonberry was available for download. More free themes soon followed. I had some half baked plans to release premium themes as well, but nothing came of it. Was I scared of asking people for money? Yes. Did I have a lot of fun releasing themes for free and seeing what people did with them? Yes.

Also, designing and developing WordPress themes was just a hobby. It wasn’t like I was going to do it for a living or anything.

Three years later, in 2015, I was designing and developing WordPress themes for a living. I spent most of my time building themes – for clients at work, for the WordPress.org theme directory at home – and very little time writing blog posts. Recently, whenever I dust off the the blog section of this site to add something, it’s usually either about a) me getting a new job, b) this site getting a redesign, or c) a new theme being released.

This post is about two of the above.

New Job

The person who convinced me to do this web thing full time was Thord D. Hedengren, who hired me as a developer at the web agency Odd Alice. I did my first day on August 1, 2015. Those were fun times. So much fun that I decided to move from Umeå to Stockholm in January 2017, to be where the action was happening. When Odd Alice was acquired by another agency in August 2017, I followed along. Those were less fun times. Thord thought so too, and when he decided to jump ship and create a new agency together with Helena Waern a year later, I was eager to join them. That agency is Divide & Conquer. It’s the first time I’ve been part of building an agency from the ground-up, and the past year and a half have been a hell of a ride.

On paper, I’ve worked for three different companies during my five years in this weird business, but to me, it’s all been part of a single chapter. Many of the people have come and gone, as have the clients, but I’ve mostly been doing the same things, in the same ways. I don’t have any major regrets about the last five years – or the last ten, for that matter – but after a difficult 2019, the start of a new decade seems like a good opportunity to turn the page. It’s time for something new.

What’s that ”something”, you ask? I’m not sure, but I’m going to take some time this year to try and figure it out. I’ve always been curious about working as a freelancer, so I’ll be giving that a try until I think of something else. If you have something interesting you need help with, design and/or development, send me an email.

Freelancers websites’ must have logo grids. It’s the law.

Site Redesign

I’ve been itching to do a redesign of this site for quite a while, and when I noticed that this domain name celebrates its tenth birthday on February 27, I knew I had my deadline. I trashed all of my existing semi-finished attempts and started from a empty artboard. It’s always much easier to get stuff done when you have a date to hit.

The new version of the site is designed to be simple and built to be fast, and I think it ended up pretty good on both counts. Most pages weigh in at 200-300 K, with font files taking up the lion’s share of the page size. The typeface is the lovely Söhne, by Kris Sowersby of Klim Type Foundry. It’s worth every byte.

This is the first version of this site to use CSS variables, which made it blissfully easy to implement support for Dark Mode, pictured below.

Embrace the darkness.

This is the media query that turns off the lights when you have Dark Mode activated in your system settings.

@media ( prefers-color-scheme: dark ) {
    :root {
	--text: rgba( 255, 255, 255, 1 );
	--text-light: rgba( 255, 255, 255, .5 );
	--text-lightest: rgba( 255, 255, 255, .25 );
	--border-dark: rgba( 255, 255, 255, .3 );
	--border: rgba( 255, 255, 255, .15 );
	--bg-light: rgba( 255, 255, 255, .1 );
	--bg: rgba( 0, 0, 0, 1 );

11 lines of code. CSS variables, I could kiss you.

The use of CSS variables also means that the site looks like absolute garbage in Internet Explorer 11, and that’s fine by me. I don’t want to spend another decade trying to smooth talk IE 11:s rendering engine. At least not on my own site.

Edit: I ended up extending an olive branch to IE 11 users with the css-vars-ponyfill solution, which transforms CSS variables to static values for legacy browsers.

New Theme

Nothing on that front just yet. I do have a design done, and I’m curious about trying out the new experimental features for full-site editing in Gutenberg, so I’m hoping to get into that sometime this spring or summer. I see some more free WordPress themes in my next ten years as well. Maybe not 20 more, though.

Here’s to another decade.