I made this website

An expression of self

Read the code

As noted in my thought New-New-New-Blog, this is the third incarnation of my blog / portfolio space and I've never been more pleased with it. It does justice to everything I hold dear about the web.

Well, that's not quite true. This website, despite its simplicity, houses a slew of compromises. As such, it's my mission to continue to test the assumptions on which I base my decisions.

The most notable and unusual decision I made while building this site was to avoid a build step. My first site was built with Jekyll, my second with Astro and, while both of these served their purpose well, I found myself getting tangled up in the weeds of settings, continually tweaking things just for the sake of tweaking.

There are a couple of downsides to having no build step, or more accurately no templating engine. First, any change to page structure has to be copy and pasted to every file – what horror. Second, I have to write my RSS feed by hand – slightly more horror.

However, the biggest change for me is that I'm writing pure HTML, not Markdown. Whilst writing with Markdown I felt more restricted, probably because I like coding, not writing (but I'm not a psychologist so who really knows). Plus, I ended up reaching for HTML in half my posts anyway. For me, HTML is expressive and flows naturally with how I think of my writing.

The second most notable decision is the styling. I think of myself as a proficient web developer – I care about HTML, I care about CSS, JavaScript is here too – and so it may seem odd that I wouldn't want to show off my skills. However, I'd argue that I am showing off. I've created an experience that showcases the content I'm creating and no more. Restraint is a skill.

This approach has been more than successful: I've found myself writing in my spare time just for the joy of it and have already surpassed the writings on both my previous sites. There's a long way to go before I reach perfection, but for now I'm happy with the path I'm on.