A New Site and an Experiment with Studying in Public

It has been quite a while since I hand-crafted a site for myself. The last time was when I built A Drip of JavaScript way back in 2015. I've been doing front-end coding non-stop since then, but exclusively for my day job.

My goals for the site were:


For authoring, I chose Eleventy. I had heard good things about how it was easy to use and also easy to customize. I found these to be mostly true. The one thing that tripped me up was figuring out which templating language to use. Because Eleventy supports several templating languages out of the box, it took me some time to settle on one which I found intuitive (Nunjucks).

Once I was past that, the docs and the occasional Google search were more than sufficient for me to work through everything else quickly. Caveat: Someone new to front-end development could easily get lost in all the options.


For publishing, I went with Netlify. Their reputation for ease of use was great. And it wasn't an exaggeration. After creating an account and connecting it with my domain name and GitHub repository, Netlify automatically detected that I was using Eleventy and suggest default publishing options, which I accepted. About one minute later, the first version of the site was live. ffffadflajadflkajf


I used Tufte CSS as the basis for the visual design, but customized it pretty extensively.

The most obvious customization is in the typography. The font size is substantially smaller to provide better information density. And rather than using Tufte CSS's very traditional serif fonts, I opted to use Mozilla's Open Source Fira Sans, augmented by Fira Code.

The result, I hope, is a design that balances appearing both very traditonal and very modern.

Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity

Plato — Republic, Book 3

Studying in Public

My final goal was to make it easier for me to share the results of my studies. I'm constantly reading and studying, but haven't done much sharing in a while.

I have done it in the past with blog posts and the Drip of JavaScript newsletter. But it takes a huge amount of effort that to convert the raw materials of my studies into something polished enough to present as a cohesive article.

So instead, I'm doing something new. I'm taking the things I'm learning and writing them down in a Foam notebook. My notes are rough, unfinished, and probably wrong occasionally. But I can publish them without thinking too hard. And I suspect that's the most important thing.

I hope that others find it helpful, but I also know that I'm going to enjoy having an easy place to find my notes on the go.

Here's to a new site and to trying new things!