The internet has made it more accessible than ever for folks to ask questions, share knowledge, and collaborate. And I've got to admit, without it, I wouldn't be where I am today doing the things I do. I figured it was due time I created a space to give back, even if it ends up with me just blabbering into the void πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™‚οΈ.

A bit of history

I designed and created this site about six years ago in 2014 (!), back when I was still a student and learning the ropes of software engineering. At the time, web development was really booming with some awesome tooling available built on Node.js like NPM and Gulp being all hip.. and I wanted in on that.

Instead of using a theme or a pre-built site, I stuck to a fairly simple design that primarily uses static HTML and CSS with Bootstrap's grid system and Sass for CSS preprocessing. I used Gulp as the task runner to watch files as I developed, trigger preprocessing, and compile the payload for hosting. Having a domain all ready to go, I published the site and hosted it through GitHub pages.

Now it's 2020. The world of web development has become even more diverse, and honestly, a bit overwhelming with all the options we have to getting yourself hosted on the net. I didn't want to complicate things just to have a space to write up a few words every now and then. So here we are; practically the same site with a blog hacked together nealty integrated on the side.

Why not just use insert hosted blogging solution here?

There's no doubt that I could be up and running in a couple of minutes to write on Medium, or just spin up a new Wordpress site (that's still a thing, right?), but I wanted something that could be integrated to my existing website and where I would own all my content and its publishing. I wasn't in the market for anything fancyβ€” just need something that can be statically generated and hosted, and plays well with the existing technology stack being used, i.e., Node.js/JavaScript. Plus, I'd say the design and styling still looks fairly modern for today, so why change that?

That's where 11ty comes in.


While on my search for a blogging solution I stumbled upon, a website that tracks popular static site generators on GitHub and highlights the respective languages and templating technologies used. Several options lined the top of that list: NextJS, GatsbyJS, and Hugo, however, these relied on technologies that I was not yet familiar with like React or Go. A couple of entries down on that list is where I found 11ty (pronounced Eleventy).

11ty is a static site generator built with JavaScript and supports a wide variety of templating languages including Markdown. It is able to simply generate HTML into a folder of your liking, which was just what I was looking for. Here are some of the resources I used in addition to the generator's documentation:

After a couple of weeks of relearning how to web, I was able to bring life back to the site, do a bit of refactoring, and set the blog up to publish my first post!

This makes me a professional blogger now, right?

Yeah, nah.

There's still a lot to improve under-the-hood, which I'll continue to work on over the next little while. For example, I'd like to modernize the development tooling being used (I really shouldn't need a Ruby dependency in 2020 to compile my CSS) and set up a blogging workflow that automates generation and publishing of posts. I think it'd be neat to have a GitHub Codespace set up where I can spin up my repo from any device, author a new post using a hosted VSCode instance, and have a GitHub Action take over to generate and publish on commit.

Even once I've got that all sorted out, I'm not setting any specific expectations or post cadence for this blog. I hope to share my ideas, perspectives, and learnings as they come, when I think they can be of value to others or simply as a means to document them for future reference.

Thanks for reading.