garden monorepo

June 26, 2023

moving tooling into a centralized repo and rethinking architecture

In the past, I've worked on a few tools to solve issues I've had or streamline workflows for working on this blog:

  • next-mdx-relations: a utility for generating relations between static markdown files
  • if-sf: a theme token generator and component library -- something which became far more complicated than I had initially anticipated
  • a boilerplate site to help people spin up digital gardens of their own

Like many open source side projects, these were developed at various points in my own development career when I did and didn't have the expertise to actually support them. To take if-sf as one example: building out a component library is an enormous task in an exceedingly crowded space where many have already figured out optimized and opinionated solutions to many of the problems I was trying to work through. Was I really going to provide an alternative? Providing support to these projects has also been a task in and of itself., for example, required both dependency bumps as well as architectural changes to handle the shifting NextJS landscape. Finally, because of the limited support I was providing to these libraries/tools, I felt like I had outgrown the approaches I had initially taken -- I don't think I would write if-sf the same way today as I had started many years ago.

Recently, when I went to update next-mdx-relations to work with NextJS's new app directory, I decided to rewrite much of the underlying logic and rethink the typescript bindings. This lead me down a rabbithole thinking about moving the tooling around next-mdx-relations into a monorepo with an explicit docs site, which, of course, tumbled into something larger,1 namely that the docs site would need typography, a token system, components, and the list just went on.

I thought now would be as good a time as ever to centralize and develop some of these tools (for what they're worth) in public rather than working on them quietly alone. I've started working on what I'm just calling garden, which can be found in my garden-monorepo. So far, the repo is just bootstrapped with a readme as I work on embroidery, a tiny utility made to generate typography for css-in-js libraries. You can find me writing about working on both garden and embroidery here as well as in the log section of the repo.

  1. There's a question I'm starting to work through about tooling for tooling, and how and when we start to build that for ourselves. It's a question related to tinkering, but also might be something related to the iroic process of simplification through complication.