patrickbyrne.net

patrickbyrne.net

Technologies: Jekyll, HTML5, Liquid, Markdown, Sass

PatrickByrne.net is my personal site, which you’re looking at right now.

Note: This article is out of date. Check out my latest posting about the rebuilt Patrickbyrne.net.

Why Did I Make This?

I needed a website, which I wanted to manage entirely on my own (so no hosted platforms like Tumblr or Squarespace). I also wanted an excuse to practice some SMACSS on a small project, to understand its principles.

The old version of this site was running on an ancient TextPattern installation. I liked it well enough, but I simply wasn’t maintaining the blog. Long-form writing is not a natural act for me, and it was leading to stress as I watched my latest article get older and older, so I knew the new site wouldn’t have a blog. I also didn’t like that all the changes were performed through web forms, saved immediately to the database, without version control.

I was drawn to Jekyll because it builds your site from text files, which I can version-control and treat like code. As Tom Preston-Werner put it, “blog like a hacker”.

What Did I Learn?

Primarily, I learned to just ship it. I’d been working on this design for months, keeping it on the back burner because I was afraid to commit. I pared down all the features to the bare minimum to get out the door, and put everything else on the list of things to do afterward. I continue to improve and tweak the site (and have a healthy list of projects to add from my GitHub page), but that didn’t need to be done for me to release this.

Additionally, I learned how to set up a site in Jekyll. I got a chance to play briefly with some new HTML5 elements like article and aside.

I also got to use, and thus understand, the principles in SMACSS for finding the right mixture of CSS classes and specificity. I fully intend to take this knowledge forward to larger projects at TST Media.

I fully intended to implement my first responsive design, but the simplicity (sparseness? bareness?) of the design didn’t lend itself to a more-complex design for desktop browsers. Currently, everyone gets the single-column mobile layout, with only a max-width and min-width the only part that makes them differ.


Posted 2011-12-20 in Projects.