Roma’s Unpolished Posts

My LiveJournal Anniversary

Published on:
Personal 10
Current music:
The Album Leaf — Eastern Glow
Current drink:
Sencha tea

Twenty years ago, I created an account on LiveJournal. As I did write in my Personal Site Anniversary & History post, plenty of things did bloom from this. Highly likely, without LiveJournal I won’t be here as a web developer. Without it, I won’t be as good with CSS.

From the start, LiveJournal had an ability to add custom overrides for your journal. In the S1” system, you were able to add custom HTML snippets into a few places of the page, which, thanks to absolute positioning, unlocked almost unlimited styling possibilities. In the S2” system that ability to add custom HTML was absent (unless you did pay and get an ability to do much more complicated things with S2), but there were built-in themes which were done without using tables for layouts! All CSS! And that made it possible to override them much easier.

Maybe one day I’ll go through my archives, and try to gather all the styles I wrote for my and my friends’ journals. It was fun, and I did learn so much, even though, occasionally, there were very wild hacks that we had to use to achieve various effects.

In 2009, I joined the company that bought LiveJournal as a front-end developer. Vadim Makeev, who is now working as a technical writer in MDN, was the person who hired me.

Eventually, social networks overshadowed LiveJournal, but I still treasure the memories I made when I was using it, and working on it.

Social networks, with all their convenience, were not the same outlet for creativity as LiveJournal. No ability to provide custom anything outside a few pictures here and there, and maybe a color scheme.

I hope, one day, there’ll be something that could fit the same niche as LiveJournal, where regular users could experiment with CSS freely. Some IndieWeb and Fediverse progress could make this possible, though it is less on the protocols, and more on the authors of software like Mastodon to provide all the tools we, as users, could need to unleash our creativity.

Imagine having a custom CSS field for your Mastodon profile?

With the recent advancements in CSS like custom cascade layers and scopes, with more strict ways of handling style encapsulation via Shadow DOM, especially with the Declarative Shadow DOM in the future, alongside some other tools, an implementation of custom styles fields was never as close and as effortless. Maybe, one day…

Finally, as a present for myself, and as a way to bring something back from the times I was using LiveJournal (there were so many things that are yet to be back in the modern social networks and blogging platforms!), I’ve decided to do one thing: bring back the “current” fields to my blog. You might’ve noticed them at the top of this page!

For some time, I was adding some metadata alongside a lot of the posts here, and now is a good time to just start showing them on every page. I’ve done it via adding a <dl> at the top of each page — not sure if that’s the best tag for the job, but I’m open to suggestions! As with almost anything else in this blog, this is a place that could benefit from improvements.

I’m not using my journal anymore, and there is no point to linking to it, but 20 years, huh.

Please share your thoughts about this on Mastodon!