About the Guestbook

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 Stripe Terminal, and I build a search web tool called Stork Search.

Made by James Little between 2016 and 2022.