Why is this written via email?

Andrew Fontaine <andrew@afontaine.ca>

An excellent question! When trying to figure out my migration away from my static site and towards a dynamic site, I wanted to keep the one thing I truly loved from the static site: an excellent writing and editing experience.

As it so happens, at some point I decided to try out mu4e as a mail client and found that it makes dealing with email so much easier by eliminating the hassle of the bad web UI presented by anything that wasn’t Inbox (which, even then, still had its issues). The major caveat being that I had to actually make use of custom filters and folders to stay organized as well. Looking back, GMail’s automatic categorization was holding me back from actually putting the work in to make my email the way I wanted it to be.

I’ve recently been making small to GitLab’s email UX as well, and I’m slowly working towards opening the floodgates and setting my notification level to “watching” for the main project in an effort to dogfood our email workflows.

All this to say: mu4e has fundamentally changed how I interact with email. It has turned it from an annoying, slow click-based web app to an amazingly quick, keyboard-based tool essential to my day-to-day.

Part of that all means that the authoring of these posts can happen in the same place all my other writing happens! After all, why leave emacs when you don’t have to? All the customization around how I write code now applies directly to how I write these blog posts. Now that the core editing experience has been salvaged from the static site, the rest can tumble from there.

Other Options

I did, of course, consider some other options before settling on emails.

  1. A git-based CRM

    This didn’t work out because I fundamentally misunderstood how it worked. What I wanted was a service that would take a git repository of posts and publish them over an API. Instead, these seem to be tools around writing and editing posts that save directly to a git repository.

  2. Pushing a git repository to my blog

    If the above didn’t work out, maybe I could just push my posts directly to the blog and have the blog read them on disk! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much in terms of libgit bindings for elixir, and did not want to be the change I wanted to see in the world on this (i.e. write them myself). This is a path that leads to burning out on the project and not getting anything up, so that was out.

  3. Give up

    I’ll be honest, it was tempting… but here we are!

In the end, there’s also a casual nature to writing an email I just didn’t have when writing for the old blog. It’s also faster to publish a post, with a quick check to ensure I have the markdown formatting correct.

So… yeah. That’s “why email”. Email feels personal, and it works, so why not?

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