of Jun 2017, 23:24

So, here it is, after more than 7 years in the making: my portfolio website. Not, that it took me 7 full years to make it, of course... it was just... well, I was busy, you know? 7 years of on and off: working a bit on it, letting it sit for half a year, picking it up again, getting distracted for another... and so on. I have to admit, my priorities were more on doing my work than presenting it, hence, that is why, instead of working on making this website, I focused on doing the content that would eventually be presented here.

Luckily, all things come to an end and here it is... and I am proud of how it turned out! It is my own creation and by that I mean, I own everything and made almost all the stuff here myself. Because, not only should the content by displayed on a shiny background, but the display itself should also be something I would want my profile to demonstrate. You see, as a programmer, I wanted not only to show I can find and use existing libraries, but I wanted to take the opportunity during my free time to understand how these processes work.

Pretty much everything here is coded by myself. Specifically no template was used. I wanted to build and do my own thing, my own layout, my own ideas. Being a Python fan I chose to dive into Django and develop my own backend – and I love it! On the frontend, I really got into using jQuery and HTML5. Originally, I started out doing plain JavaScript, but over time I got convinced of the benefits of jQuery both for coding and for performance. The graphics, even though there are only a few, are handmade. Almost all the scripts come from my own forge: the animations, the pjax, the audio player, the preview generator and picture gallery. The avid programmer might lift his finger and may want to instruct that one should never re-invent the wheel, but if all we do is use them, perhaps we will forget how to make one if we ever need to? Besides, nothing out there really fits into my layout choices – my style – and heavily modifying code that is just too overkill to fit every possible need would most likely take just as long as doing a simple thing from scratch.

Layout Reasoning

Let's talk about the layout choices I made. You might have noticed that this website is quite slim and perhaps this might seem strange to you. Unlike many other websites and blogs these days, this layout was deliberately chosen not just to try and be something different, but also because a slim layout makes reading easier on the eye (see Typographie by Emil Ruder or click here). I have to admit, I took inspiration of how newspapers and magazines are traditionally organized in slim columns. The layout of this website should have little over 50 characters per line: a reference at the lower end of the spectrum. The relatively small font is a personal choice and, admittedly, might seem contradictory to the readability. But simply using a larger font did not match my design and, to be frank, I find its size quite comfortable, so there is that...

Not much color has been used, because the website should function as a clean slate, or blackboard, on which anything may be written or drawn. Even though no layout can be 100% neutral, at least black and white has a certain elegance to it and I could simply not justify any arbitrary choice of color. Besides, I do believe any color would taint your impression of the things presented here. Let the music, texts and pictures speak for themselves! But, of course, this could also appear boring, so here is the kicker: while you are reading this first entry, graphics most likely have started to appear in the background. This is my humble approach to not just making this site a blackboard to write on, but a canvas for algorithmic art. I am thinking of adding new algorithms to the background and make this a little art project of its own: little subtleties that do not distract, but once you notice them, you should hopefully be pleasantly surprised.

This website has been optimized to be used with Google Chrome, but should work fine on all major web browsers; tests have been done on most of them! Apologies for any inconvenience if the browser you are using might be displaying elements oddly. Future endeavors might include a special mobile design and I need to clean some of the JavaScript and HTML code to be better backwards compatible. No promises can be made, but whenever time and motivation become available, special versions of this website for other browsers might be made.

Website Reasoning

So why does this webpage exist in the first place? First and foremost, I want to present my work in a space owned, made and designed entirely by myself. Giving my creations to companies like Soundcloud, Instagram or – in my eyes, even worse – Facebook is not in my best interest. I do understand the benefits of using these platforms, like the communities, security, time saver, but owning instead of renting is just such a better feeling. Also, I will continue to use other platforms as I deem them viable and valuable to my interests respectively. You should not put all your eggs in basket, is what they say...

Over time, this website will be populated with my music, my projects and my research. I want to present my compositions, give explanations to them and allow previews for the interested. For my research, I want to publish summaries of the books and topics I am reading or have read over the years. Through the essays that will be published here, I want to try and provide an entry for other researchers and the interested into some German literature that might not exist as a translation out there. Moreover, writing these essays will motivate me to accelerate my own research and finish my PhD! Of course, I recommend using my texts only as an aid and remember that what I publish here is not necessarily peer reviewed.

Furthermore, I have accumulated many scripts and code that I longed to share with the world for some time now. Especially audio algorithms and patches written in Max/MSP have piled up on my hard drive and I am sure some of them could be very helpful for others. But I also want to publish and write about other algorithms, also related to this website: how to create animations like the one in the background, or how to automatically generate thumbnails that are cropped out of the original.

This website should primarily present my work as a professional researcher, programmer and musician. But, additionally, I want to present photos and other hobbies. This website is going to be my little space with my little creations for the big world to see. If you have any questions or comments, you may contact me and get in touch whenever you want.

Thanks for dropping by...

So, welcome to my portfolio! I hope you like what you see and hear and I hope this opens doors to get in touch with more people of similar interests. If this website and my work inspire just a single person to do something greater, I can count myself a lucky person.