This Site's Next Level

December 12, 2019

tl;dr learned a ton of stuff by building my personal site new from the ground up

Well, you know me. I did it again. From time to time, I'm getting bored with things. This also holds for my personal site. In 2019, I did a lot less than I have imagined at the start of the year. But that's another story. On a rainy, autumn day, I finally sat down and looked at my site... and you know what? I've decided to redo it! But this time, entirely from scratch! The past stack was build on a static site using Jekyll as a generator. Hosting was done via Github Pages. It was pretty straightforward actually. I had first built this setup in May 2017. From there, I've done several iterations over the design, and as you can imagine it... this place has grown a bit out of control. Additionally, my technological focus shifted from the plain HTML and CSS things with a tiny bit of Ruby more towards fully-fledged Javascript and React as a Frontend Framework. So, on said rainy day this autumn I've decided... let's get the hands dirty!

As a vision, I've wanted to keep the design really clean and minimalistic. The focus should be mainly on my little Blog entries for now. But additionally, I've wanted to provide more information about the stuff I'm digging... books, music, my podcast and so on. For that, I've got a massive inspiration from the personal site of Brian Lovin, who's codebase was a brilliant sparring partner for the initial design and development. So the design and concept was clear... but what about the tech stack?

Because this place is also some kind of playground for me, I've wanted to try something out. I've decided to go full Javascript and build the site entirely with Nextjs, a server-side rendering React Framework. You have to know... my React Skills to that point in time were pretty okayish, but nothing special. That's why I have learned a ton of stuff, but also went down some rabbit holes.

For the upcoming weekends, my new personal site has been my little Sunday project (when there was nothing else to do with university stuff). I've learned a ton of things about component composition, styling with CSS in JS, new JS features, and so many things more! By far, the most tedious part was to migrate all of my blog posts to the new place and get the Markdown to render correctly. That has cost me some days... All in all, I'm now in a position where I'm happy to launch this baby finally! But it's not over yet! Of course, I really want to write more again. Maybe also longer posts or a bit more content with some images or code snippets. And of course, there are a ton of features to be implemented yet! Dynamic dark mode, a headless CMS integration, code cleanup, testing with cypress, adding typescript and on and on and on. I think I have a reliable place and I'm happy to see this place growing!

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