About This Site
Most of my client work has been in WordPress, but my personal website has always been a safe platform to test out new web technologies. This latest incarnation is built using some really epic modern tools and techniques to create the fastest website experience I’ve ever built, hosted entirely for free. I’m excited to apply this approach to future client projects, particularly artists and hobbyists who want an easy interface without the ongoing costs of almost every platform out there.
Yep, it’s kind of barren.
A lot of the web has gotten to be crowded and loud. Sometime’s it feels like walking downtown at night with neon signs glaring. This website doesn’t need to be that. You’re here for info, not stock photos.
My Web Stack
The principles I’m using are nothing new and I certainly didn’t invent them, I just found a combination that I think is undervalued right now:
Jekyll, for building static sites
To host websites for free, you have to cut server-side processing out of the equation. That means no Wordpress, no PHP or node.js, and no database. Some compromises have to be made, and static sites aren’t right for every project, but the benefits are incredible. Jekyll enables me to build kickass static websites quickly and easily, and host them for free or dirt cheap. There are a lot of other tools out there for this, but Jekyll has the biggest community, having been used on huge projects like Barrack Obama’s presidential campaign websites, and after trying a few others I found it to be my favorite.
Forestry.io, easy editing for muggles
Here’s the thing about Jekyll: you have to write everything in markdown and store it in the right folder. You probably don’t know what the heck markdown is, nor do you want to learn it and deal with all of this. Good news, you don’t have to, and neither do I once a site is built - forestry.io steps in with some fairy dust backed by Git, the most trusted version control system. All you’ll see is an admin panel with the few buttons and fields that you’d ever need, accessible whenever and wherever you need it.
GitHub, bulletproof versioning and security
Did I mention all of this is hosted for free by GitHub, the largest host of source code in the world? Thanks GitHub!
Other Neat Tools
Developing a website would be a monolithic project if every time you had to write every bit of code from scratch. I create great websites quickly by leaning on the abundance of well crafted open source projects in the world, plus a few enterprise licenses for closed source projects that all my clients can benefit from.
FontAwesome Pro, a delightful & expansive icon set
Exactly what it says on the tin, an awesome icon font set, with an icon for just about anything, from daffodils to shish-kebabs . FontAwesome Pro’s 5000+ icons (!!) can be a bit much to load though, that’s why I use a custom method to load only the icons used in the site.
Barba.js, near-instant page transitions
This site is the first time I’ve used barba.js. In the past I’ve coded this type of functionality by hand, but it was quite a headache. I had considered making myself a library or plugin, but I think barba.js has beat me to the punch and I thank them for that.