My new website

Rebuilding my site in Eleventy, all new everything

What is lockdown for if not the opportunity to completely revamp my site?

Because I'm lazy, my site was previously running on Wordpress, a platform I haven't really worked with in years. Maintaining it was nightmareish. All the other sites I maintain had been moved to Jekyll. I really liked Jekyll.

I did try running a local Wordpress development server for a while, and it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I followed this guide on local installation which was actually really helpful and made it very easy in figuring out exactly what tools I needed to replace a hosted one-click installation. I really liked working with underscores, a Wordpress 'starter theme' that purported to cut over 1,000 hours of development from every site. I can't say it was that good, but it certainly did a decent job of keeping me developing for wordpress a while longer.

The straw that broke my Wordpress camel's back was the endless additions to the functions.php file I had to make to undo decisions the WP team had (foolishly, I believe) made. For instance almost none of my sites ever use emojis, and yet every single WP site, by default, ships with a handful of lines of code on every single page instructing the browser on how to deal with them - and to prevent the wordpress server from doing so requires yet more code that is loaded with every page, etc. It wasn't good, but this isn't the place to explain why I don't think Wordpress is the answer to most problems.

So I moved to Jekyll, which as I said, I loved. Jekyll, however, wasn't so keen on me. It took its time to build, had a fairly complicated ruby-based ecosystem, and didn't seem to be going anywhere. This would be an opportunity to switch to Eleventy.

I'd seen Eleventy advertised as a super-simple, ultra-simple static site generator. It was Jekyll's simplicity that got me hooked on static sites in the first place, and 11ty really gave the feeling of being Jekyll's spiritual successor. Where one used outdated Ruby, the other bet on futuristic Javascript. I'm not much good at the latter, but I hardly know anything at all at Ruby.

The 11ty sales pitch was not quite accurate however. In terms of simplicity, 11ty is waaaaaaaay less simple out-of-the-box or fun than Jekyll. I have spent so much time fighting defaults (partly my own fault for not configuring them properly in the first place and being lazy). But, I now have a noticeably more powerful configuration.

I preferred Jekyll, but 11ty really feels like the future, so I'm sticking to it. As part of my move to JS-based systems, I'm also moving all my tasting notes from OneNote to Airtable. This should make them exportable as a JSON, and fully 100% integrated into a site, with them all being computer-readable.

Along with moving all my blog posts over (I preferred to start from scratch with no 'easy' imports), this is taking time. Please be patient. (and also please be patient with the colour scheme and general UI/UX - it's an experimental work in progress)