About me

I'm originally from South Africa and grew up on a dairy farm in a very beautiful part of the country. I now live in West Sussex, England with my family and build websites for a living.

Before I ever touched a computer, my life revolved around teasing cows, off-road motorbiking, hiking and wild camping in the mountains, staring up at the stars, canoeing, fishing and sport. That certainly feels like quite some time ago now!

My wife and I moved to the UK at the tail end of 1995 — initially for one year — but as you’ve probably gathered… we never left. We have 3 children. 2 sons and a daughter.

I write now and then – and have written a few posts, jotted down some notes, and bookmarked links to articles I’ve enjoyed and found interesting. Hopefully some of them will resonate with you.

What I do #

I build websites and have been doing so for around two decades.

I specialise in the “front-of-the-front-end”. The somewhat broad and fuzzy intersection between design and back-end engineering. I find I’m well suited to and enjoy roles that balance the user & developer experiences, empowering teams to write great code in a way that feels right to them while ensuring a positive user experience.

I’m quite good at picking up new skills and programming languages, as well as problem solving. My skill set is fairly diverse, encompassing HTML, CSS, JavaScript, responsive & device-agnostic web design, themeable design system configuration, Progressive Web Apps (PWA), Static Site Generation (SSG), web performance optimisation, and web accessibility.

From time to time, you’ll also find me with my hands in the “back-of-the-front-end” utilising Node.js, configuring an API, optimising a JavaScript bundler, as well as streamlining build and deployment processes to help improve frontend development efficiency.

I try my best to build web solutions that are resilient, usable and as future-friendly as possible. For this reason I prefer a vanilla approach and tend to be fairly tech-agnostic. Choosing the right tool for the job seems to be a better approach than using a framework for the sake of it.

Don’t get me wrong, JavaScript frameworks certainly have their place and I think they can be wonderfully powerful tools when we keep the end user in mind — rather than only prioritising the developer experience. At the moment I’m not sure we’re getting that balance quite right.

Webby stuff I’m enjoying #

Eleventy, Astro, Svelte, Preact, Vite, Netlify, Netlify CMS, Fractal, SVG animation using GreenSock, and Web Components are proving really enjoyable to work with and have restored some of the magic of building websites again.

Hobbies & other interests #

I enjoy taking photos and reading whenever I can and am a fairly decent drummer. However, now that I’ve sold my drumkit, I am considering picking up the bass guitar.

Fly fishing for trout is something I grew up doing and continue to do. I head to the beautiful Lakedown Trout Fishery as often as I can. A gorgeous and tranquil spot away from all the noise.

I absolutely adore flying and hope that one day I’ll be able to either get my PPL or GPL.

About this website #

This website has been the home of my personal blog for a fair few years. Everything written here represents my opinions and perspectives on various things. It doesn’t reflect or represent the views of anyone I work for or with.

I also use it as a platform for experimenting with newer frontend web technologies & techniques — so there’s every chance it may look a little ‘wonky’ now and then. Please forgive me if something doesn’t look quite right or work properly on your screen at the moment.

I resonate with Ethan when he says, let a website be a worry stone.

If you have any issues, questions or spot any spelling mistakes(!), I’d appreciate it if you could let me know by submitting a GitHub issue, or by emailing me directly.

I’ve also written about my decision to redesign & develop my website in the open which has both been fun and scary. Not least because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and doing it this way has helped wean me off the need to have things completely polished before showing them.

Crawlers & tracking #

Even though it’s more than likely too late & doesn’t work anyway, I’ve attempted to opt brootaylor.com out of its content being used to train AI models. Known web crawlers used for training AI models are disallowed in my robots.txt file.

I’ve also set up a machine-readable ai.txt file, using Spawning.ai’s proposed format. There’s no real evidence that it has any traction in the land-of-the-web yet — but I thought why not.

More information about the technology used to make this website is available in this humans.txt file.

It’s probably worth mentioning that I don’t use any tracking technologies — (home-grown or third-party) — to collect information about what you read or click on this website.

The last production build was on: 04 December 2023 @ 11:22 AM GMT