The Dansite

Dansite logo. A cartoony image of Dan's face.


I started building this website (the one you are currently reading!) in late August 2023, after realizing that I really needed some kind of digital portfolio for my gamedev and software projects. At that time, I was working at Amazon on the Prime Gaming Fulfillment team. Amazon had announced a "return to office" policy back in February, and in the summer, it was announced that this policy would also affect virtual employees like myself. My options were to relocate to Seattle, transfer to another Amazon role close by, or resign. I took the internal transfer option, but could sense a change in the winds coming, so I started applying to other companies, and began this portfolio site to make myself more attractive to gamedev studios. This was a good call, as my role was later eliminated in November 2023 during a round of layoffs across Prime Gaming.

Technical Details

The initial codebase for the "Dansite" was copied from the Derploid® Entertainment site that I built in 2022. This included:

This setup has worked very well, but Jekyll is unfortunately a pretty out-dated tool without a clear future. As of this writing in January 2024, I am strongly considering shifting to Next.js, a static site generator that is very actively maintained and would give me more practice with React.

Some other little engineering details that I'm proud of include:

  • Inclusion of embedded slides and recordings for most of my talks. This content is hosted for free on OneDrive, and adds more interactivity/professionalism to those project pages.
  • The talk recordings also forced me to learn a lot more about video editing and transcoding to make sure they were correctly formatted for the web.
  • The little "Dan cartoon" avatar that I use all over this site was created by my good friend and Derploid® business partner, Matt Samardge.
  • Creating HTTP redirects to get, .net, and .org (with or without www.) all redirecting to the same home page
  • Using appropriate SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records to the site's DNS records to prevent abuse by scammers
  • Using AWS CloudWatch alarms to monitor the website's DNSSEC and HTTP health
  • Defining devcontainers for developing the CDK app and Jekyll content