Yet another new web site

Posted: 12 Aug 2020

Author: Richard

Yes, it's that time again. Or rather, I never actually finished last time, so now I'm doing it again. Why?

Turns out that maintaining servers is a pain in the backside, and I can't be bothered with all that. The new site design uses a combination of a static site generator (takes a bunch of source files and creates the site) with a content management system based on git.

Also turns out that actually creating all this was an interesting learning experience, so I guess that makes it a win all-round.

So, what do we have this time around?

  • A static site generator, in this case Eleventy. Eleventy takes a bunch of source files (like this post), does some processing and spits out all the HTML files.
  • A static host. We're using Netlify, which is an amazing service that can connect to a source control system and automatically deploy when changes are committed. Netlify also takes care of thinks like provisioning SSL certificates from Let's Encrypt.
  • Following on, we need a source control system. We're using good ol' GitHub. This lets me develop and test locally, and then commit approved changes to source control, which in turn tells Netlify to jump into action.
  • An option piece, but nice: NetlifyCMS provides a nice GUI front-end to manage the blog posts, using the existing GitHub repo as the place to store the files.

As ever, it's a work-in-progress:

  • One of the things I'd done with the Wordpress site was to use IFTTT to automatically create a blog post when I posted something to Instagram. I've grabbed all these posts and shuffled them over to this site. That was an interesting exercise, involving knocking up some code to take an Instagram export file and process the JSON data to create a bunch of individual posts.
  • I still have a bunch of older content to move over.
  • I'm going to take this opportunity to re-work how and where photos are hosted for easy posting. I haven't quite worked that part out yet...

Keep checking back, more stuff will be coming over all the time!