Home

layout: post

title: Marcus Quinn: Ecommerce Designer & Developer

author: Marcus Quinn

abstract: |

Ecommerce website designer & developer with interests in software, music, video, science, sailing, surfing & volunteering.

keywords: [Personal Website, Work, Ecommerce, Social Media, Links, Software, Hosting, Marketing, Communications, Copywriting, Technical Writing, Services, Preferences, Audio, Music, Video, Markdown, Plain Text, Links]


Introduction

Hello!

I’m guessing you’re here to learn more about me, or find something I use or recommended, so here we go…

My life’s work, as instilled by my ever thoughtful mother, is simply to; leave things better than I find them.

The majority of my work is in ecommerce web design and development — creating and using a variety of software.

My focus is on creative communications and efficiency systems, designed to achieve more with less.

It seems fitting to make my home page a collection of useful links to all the places I share my experience, tutorials, published articles, templates, resources, and the tools I like working with.

I hope my ongoing research & development can help you to find in minutes what took me years to refine.

And, if you want to make a simple and free page like this too, there's a step-by-step guide and source-files below.

Thank you for your interest. If I can help in any way, that’s the good karma I live by — and if I already have, please do subscribe & share.

Marcus


My online world & link tree

Latest work

Most recent first:

Personal links

My preferred method of personal introduction is by email to: [email protected]

All personal links are for reference if we already know each other. If we don’t, please start with a follow on Twitter or another platform, so I can learn a little about you too.

Bookings

Hobby links


Experience & Preferences

If you want to do some or all of the things I do — or you need me or my good friends to help you — this is what we know and use…

Operating Systems

In order of experience:

  1. Mac
  2. WebApps
  3. Windows
  4. Linux,* Ubuntu* & Pop!_OS*
  5. ChromeOS
  6. iOS
  7. Android

*Free (as-in freedom) Open Source Software (FOSS)1

Software & Services

In approximate order of usage and recommendation:

Communications

Productivity

Security

Accounts

Design

Development

Hosting

Marketing

Analysis & Reporting

Domains & Network Management

Payment Processing

Banking

Music & Audio

Video

Utilities

News

Federated Publishing


How this page was made

This was all written in Ulysses with Markdown, exported to HTML using Ulysses Styles, and published to GitLab Pages hosting with Cloudflare domain security — all for free :)

Plain Text & Markdown

First a campaign for making plain-text writing your default — so your focus is on your content, and it is never restricted for portability by proprietary software, like Word and Google Docs, where it never looks quite the same on two different computers or applications.

Markdown

If there is just one thing I can recommend to you, and highly recommend that everyone can and should learn easily, it is writing in plain-text with the simplest possible formatting using Markdown!

Markdown variations

More advanced or industry-specific variations, include; MultiMarkdown (academic writing), asciidoc (code developers), LaTeX (maths & science), fountain (screenplays), ABC notation & VexTab (musical melody), Tablature (fretted instruments), Drum Tabs (percussion), jTab (guitar), &c.

Focused writing

It’s also nice to write Markdown with a fixed-width font like Courier, for the added bonus of feeling like a good old-fashioned typewriter — putting you in the mood, as an enthused wordsmith, for the craft of writing.

Mostly, you will only ever need plain & simple standard Markdown, as used to write this web page.

It truly is the best investment you can make in organising your notes, thoughts and publishing to be simple and transportable.

It is already commonplace in academic, programatic and creative writing. It has a written digital-literacy expectation, and necessity, for anyone working with subject-standardised information formatting to work with and share.

If you work with information, it will help you. If you have knowledge to share, it will quickly broaden your horizons and potential audience. It returns your focus to the quality, insight and value of your content to your audience.

Once you have a habit using Markdown, you will find your writing is faster — and your communication will be structured, with respect to the needs of your reader.

All you need and nothing you don’t!

It really isn’t techie or complicated either. Actually, it is less complicated than the infinite ways that you can use traditional word processing software — where the complexity of formatting and design options can distract from the quality and purpose of the content itself.

Markdown is just a few additional characters within normal writing, in a plain-text file format, that all plain-text editors can open, edit and save.

You may already use 1. numbered lists, * bullet points, *emphasis*, **importance**, #hashtags, :emojis: and @mentions, so you’re half-way there.

There are an increasing number of applications and industries now preferring or insisting on Markdown text, because of this portability and reliability — so if you aren’t already, I hope this page gives you a good starting point.

Then you can as easily export to PDF, ePub, Mobi, Kindle, DocX, Static HTML and publish to CMS Blogs like Wordpress & Medium, or your own web page like this, with styling appropriate to your medium and audience.

You already type in so many ways, and on various devices, so make Markdown your default. It’s never been easier to share your knowledge, publish your ideas and build your profile as an authority on your favourite subjects!


Text editors

This is an areas that you might not have know you needed until you try.

Once you adjust to this way of looking at text, with a focus on the value and effectiveness of your communications, you can see how word processors can over-complicate writing, with more time spent on formatting.

Plain-text returns your focus to the successful communication of your knowledge, thoughts and creations.

If you aren’t already a convert to plain-text writing and Markdown formatting, then I hope my research into many dozens of applications, to then recommend just a few of the best for you to try, will show you by example — because their specialist subject is in offering a self-explanatory application.

It will save you time, it can both save and make you money, and will open up possibilities for you in organising your research and ideas — to then publish and share your own unique knowledge and experience with those you wish to help.

If you hadn’t guessed already, I am so confident in the value of learning this, I personally promise you it will be one of the best investments you ever make in what you can do with a computer. Try it! And let me know.

I’ll start with the Mac & iOS apps I use, enjoy and recommend — in approximate order of usage…


Text editors for Mac

Ulysses (Mac & iOS)

Atom*

iA Writer (Mac, iOS, Windows & Android)

Scrivener (Mac, iOS, Windows & Android)

DEVONthink (Mac & iOS)

Deckset

Velum


Text WebApps

For a collaborative-writing experience, similar to Google Docs and Office 365 online, and for free:

HackMD & CodiMD (Web or Self-Hosted, Collaborate)

StackEdit (Web, Cloud Sync, Collaborate)

Hemingway App (Web & Mac)


Text editors for other platforms

Followed by similar Windows & Linux apps that do almost the same thing, with of course some minor differences in features:

Joplin (Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android)

Typora (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Zettlr (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Inspire Writer (Windows-only)

SmartEdit Writer

Compare Markdown Tools


There’s a lot of choice, and that's the whole point, you can work in any or many plain-text editors with the same transportable and simplest possible file-format.

Start with the first in the list for your platform and see how you get on, if there’s something missing, try another.

Let me know how you get on…


Make your own page like this

  1. Download a copy of my index.md page template from GitLab, or start with a blank text file called index.md. (In Ulysses type @:index on the top-line to set the file name.
  2. Choose your preferred text editor from those above. I’m using Ulysses, as you well-know by now.
  3. Write and refine all the things you think others might like to know about you and your unique experience.
  4. Export a copy as HTML called index.html, using any style template you like (the apps above have many, either built-in or add-ons). You can use one app to write and another to export, if you like the editor in one and publishing styles in another, that’s the point of Markdown being portable.
  5. Create a free GitLab.com** account. On your GitLab profile page click + to create a new project, this one is called marcusquinn.gitlab.io as the naming convention recognised as my user page. GitHub uses the same convention with their .io Pages domain, eg; marcusquinn.github.io.
  6. To the right of where it says Master, click + > New File, and upload your index.html file, css folder and css.css file, and images folder if you have images too.
  7. In your project repository, click Setup CI/CD > Apply a template > HTML > Commit changes. This deploys your files and page setup.
  8. It’s now live on your gitlab.io (or github.io) URL!
  9. Open the GitLab Pages instructions, where you can find details on what your gitlab.io link is (something like https://username.gitlab.io), the first part being your username and add the relevant /project-slug if you have other project pages to publish as well.
  10. In your GitLab project, go to Settings > Pages > New Domain to enter your domain name if you are using one, and follow their guide on how to setup your domain name.

That’s it, your 100% free, easy and secure home page to grow with your learning and audience.

The reason we do this with a static page .html, and not a data-base driven content-management system is simple; it requires zero maintenance for it to remain secure forever – simply because there’s nothing to hack when the pages and images you upload for public display are the only data on the host.

By using well-capitalised free services like GitLab, GitHub (and Namecheap Cloudflare if you want to use your own domain name), it can stay alive forever on the git***.io domain — and with no payments ever needed to keep the .io URL versions of the sites live for as long as the internet itself — you can make as many free sites & pages as you like!

It’s also a great way to make a free, and easy to maintain, link-tree page — to include in your social media profile, in a way that you own the data, and without any tracking, privacy issues, security worries or card details – ever.

You could make it multi-page too - but let’s keep it simple for now as it’s quite a nice format for that simple link-tree or a longer article on yourself and your interests.

And just add a Namecheap domain if you want to use your own domain name too, the git***.io domain will still work & live forever alongside, including if ever you stop renewing your own domain for any reason.

GitLab specifically also offers a succession planning feature too — should you wish someone to inherit your work — which is a subject for a longer post another day!

**Why GitLab in preference over GitHub?

One word: ethics. Its my primary guide to all decision-making. Open-source and transparency is simply more secure and efficient.

I do use GitHub and other closed-source products too — but always keep an awareness of open-source alternatives, and aim to keep my content created and stored in open-formats with transparent-terms, to stay transportable between systems and platforms as they may evolve.


Thank you

If you made it this far, maybe you found something new?

Let me know how you get on, and if there’s anything I can help with!

Source & Downloads

This page is just over 3,000 words, 2-days of writing and maybe 1-week refining. What will you share now you can easily publish your notes too?

  1. Free (as-in freedom) Open-Source Software (FOSS) – is an ethical way to provide software services for; transparency, security, freedom, privacy, data-ownership, collaboration, developer credit & promotion – and simply good online citizen karma in return for the countless community projects you already benefit from that form the foundations a free and inclusive internet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_open-source_software ↩︎
  2. Zettelkasten is German for “box of notes”, and has become a synonym for the guiding principles in gathering, organising, digesting and using notes in writing, with interesting further reading on the subject at: https://zettelkasten.de ↩︎