About the Guestbook

This is outdated! There's no better time for learning and growing than the present. I don't stand by this post anymore—my beliefs have changed, or I've stopped doing it this way, or I realized it's just flat out wrong. I've kept it up for historical purposes, but just know that I give this one the side-eye today.

Adding the guestbook to my site was really fun: it was the kind of project that seemed easy at first, but had a lot of complexity under the hood. I kept thinking I was done, then realizing there was some edge case I hadn’t quite thought of. I wanted to write down some of those edge cases and subtle challenges I faced, mostly to show that features that seem simple on the outset might actually take a while to put together.

Some notes: during the course of development, I decided to optimize for cost first, then speed, then safety, then availability in that order.

The frontend was, shockingly, even more challenging.

I was very surprised that “the page should record entries from this form and display them on the bottom of the page” turned into a week-long project in which I had to grapple with all these challenges!

If you haven’t yet, go write something in the guestbook, if for no other reason than so I don’t look silly.

Who am I?
I'm James Little, a software engineer and design enthusiast based in Boston, MA. I work at Stripe on the Docs team, and I build a search web tool called Stork Search.

Come say hello!
If you liked this post, come say so by signing my guestbook!

Made by James Little between 2016 and 2022.