Weekly Swift articles, podcasts and tips by John Sundell.

Welcome to Swift by Sundell 2.0

Published on 03 Sep 2019

When I published my very first article about Swift on Medium in February 2017, I had absolutely no clue where this adventure would end up taking me. What started as a simple challenge to myself — to see for how long I could write a new article about Swift every single week — has both grown beyond my wildest dreams, and at the same time, it still feels like I’m just getting started.

Today marks a major milestone on this ongoing journey. When I started writing articles, I used Medium for publishing, simply because it was — by far — the easiest and quickest way for me to get my writing online, without having to worry about domain names, DNS configurations, or servers.

However, after just a few months, I realized that Medium — while convenient — did come with a substantial amount of downsides. Not only was I unable to customize things like fonts, layout, and what syntax highlighting to use for code — I also felt that my Medium profile wasn’t really mine. It sort of felt like a rented space, something temporary, that could go away at any time.

So I moved to Squarespace, which proved to be a huge upgrade over Medium in terms of flexibility, while still letting me post new content just as easily. There were still no servers to manage, but unlike Medium, everything was hosted under my very own domain name — swiftbysundell.com.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2019, and my decision to take a “leap of faith” and make this site, my podcast, and my open source work my full-time job. While I was, and still am, very happy with most aspects of Squarespace — I again was in a position where I felt that the platform I was publishing on was limiting both my creativity and the scope of my plans. It was time to not only go independent in terms of my work — but in terms of my web tech stack as well.

I decided quite early on that I wanted this new site to be something brand new. While Swift by Sundell originally started as a standard weekly blog, where a new article would appear every Sunday, by the beginning of 2019 it had already started to become something much wider in scope — with podcast episodes, hundreds of Swift tips, Basics articles, and a newsletter. In my mind, it was starting to feel less like a blog, and more like an online publication.

I realize that can sound a bit pretentious, and I don’t mean that there’s anything wrong with running a blog — not at all — but I felt that the ambitions that I had for Swift by Sundell didn’t quite fit within the traditional blog format.

My goal with this site was to create a reading experience that, if successful, would almost feel like flipping through your very own physical Swift magazine. To achieve that, I knew that I had to make this site fast. Like, really fast. As close to “paper fast” as I possibly could. That meant that I had to make sure that my site wouldn’t contain any of the things that normally make the web so slow these days — JavaScript UI frameworks, analytics packages, ad trackers, and so on.

I also needed this site to be very cache-friendly, so that for the most part, you’d be loading pages directly from the CDN (Content Delivery Network), rather than hitting my server. The answer to that was quite simply to only serve static assets — no dynamic HTML, no server-side code — the same content for everyone. Basically, I had to go back in time, and build websites just like we did back in the late 90s.

As it turns out, if you build a website using pure HTML + CSS, without any client-side logic, no cookies, no popup banners, no dynamically inserted ads, and none of the modern “innovations” that we’ve seen the web adopt over the years — with 2019 internet speeds — such a website can be incredibly fast.

While speed was definitely one of my core goals, I also wanted to add a lot of new content and features as well. Every article, tip, and podcast episode now has tags — which means that you can easily browse all of this site’s content by category or topic. There’s a lightning-fast new search feature. This site automatically adapts to both Light and Dark Mode depending on your system setting. It’s easier than ever to subscribe to the podcast using your favorite podcast player, and there’s a brand new start page, which gives you a quick overview of what’s new on this site — with beautiful icons designed by my friend Lenart Puselja.

However, while I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve built, and I couldn’t be happier to finally launch this site after months of really hard work — this is still just the beginning. My next goal is to open source almost all of the tooling that I’ve built to make this site happen — from my Swift static site generator, to my publishing tools, to my HTML DSL — so that anyone will be able to build their very own site the same way I did.

Whether or not I succeeded in creating a modern, fast, online Swift magazine is of course ultimately up to you. I hope you’ll like it, and that you’ll join me in my continued adventures into Swift — whether it’s by reading this site’s weekly articles, browsing its many Swift tips, or by listening to the podcast.

Thanks so much for reading, and welcome to Swift by Sundell 2.0! 🚀