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The oldest library in America (and building websites)

In the state of Massachusetts (where I live), there’s a town called Franklin that’s named after Benjamin Franklin.

It’s home to the oldest library in America, which was started with the town’s namesake sent them a collection of books.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, and it’s a truly magical library. Over the years, they’ve made several additions to the building. From inside, you can physically see where the original building ends, and the new one starts.

It’s four stories tall with many rooms. Just when you think you’ve gotten to the end of the library, you stumble upon another hallway or a staircase tucked away in some corner, and discover more rooms and more books.

I’ve started thinking about the web (and my own website) through this lens.

For years, I would spin up little standalone websites for every idea I had. Like many developers, I own an embarrassing number of domains.

A new website at a new domain generates a lot of initial excitement and buzz. It’s new, after all, and our industry just loves shiny new things.

But I’ve become disillusioned with this habit.

Once that initial buzz dies down, a separate website becomes another thing you have to pay for, host, and maintain forever. It becomes work.

I want my website to feel more like the Franklin Public Library. So, I’ve started pulling all of my standalone sites back under

The Vanilla JS Toolkit now lives at I closed down the Vanilla JS Academy, which now lives at My pocket guides will make there way over here eventually as well, but first I want to relocate the Vanilla JS Podcast.

This has three major benefits…

  1. Selfishly, it’s much easier to maintain all of my content in one place. One theme, one deployment process, one repository with all of my content.
  2. It’s much easier to point people to where to find myself. Rather than rattling off half-a-dozen different domains, I can just tell them to visit That’s my site. That’s where everything is.
  3. I was able to build a robust multi-content search engine that lets you search articles, courses, tools, and eventually my podcasts in one place.

Sometime this week, I plan to write a bit more about how I built out my search setup.

But for now, I wanted to encourage you to think about your online home as just that: a home. An interesting place full of character and cobwebs, that grows and changes over time. A place you can explore and get lost in.

Let’s make the web weird again!