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This website is very much a work in progress. As time permits and as I get better at responsive web-design, I’ll be adding new sections and functionality.
Currently, this website is built with Jekyll, a static website generator. More specifically, I am using Jekyll Foundation. It provides easy access to Foundation 6 Sass mixins. The site lives in an AWS S3 bucket. This allows me to extend the site’s functionality beyond what would be possible if I were using GitHub’s free hosting. I am using AWS’ Cloudfront CDN, primarily because it gives me access to free SSL certificates for my domain and its subdomains.
Why use Jekyll?
To explain why I chose to build my website with Jekyll, I should give some background information about the history of this website. If you visited this domain from 2015 through the end of 2016, what you saw was based on a premium Weebly template. It worked pretty well. Unlike Wordpress, which I had used for other websites, Weebly’s load times were pretty fast. It lacked some of the customizability of Wordpress, however. It wouldn’t even let me add alt-tags to images. As someone concerned with accessibility, that was a problem. Also, if memory serves, it cost me about $120 per year. I figured that, if given enough time, I probably knew enough about HTML and CSS to build a similar looking website myself.
For the sake of speed (both of load times and of building my website), I decided to go static and to use a static site generator. Picking Jekyll, specifically, came down to its very active community (for when I inevitably need help with something) and the multitude of plugins available. I would have liked to use something Python-based (I prefer Jinja2 to Liquid), but Jekyll seemed like a safer bet.
Why use Foundation?
At its core, Foundation is a grid system (like Bootstrap). A lot of the built-in functionality I normally rely on becomes redundant when using Jekyll (e.g., Sass support, partials, templating plugins like Handlebars JS). Unlike Bootstrap, however, Foundation lets me add grid classes semantically via Sass, which makes my HTML files easier to read. It also gives me more granular control over HTML elements, while still requiring less coding (on my part) than building a website without a grid framework. Most importantly, however, it’s named after Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, which automatically makes it cooler than Bootstrap. (Also - another peripheral detail that shouldn’t matter but swayed me anyway - its mascot is a yeti!)
What’s done and what’s left to do?
At this time, I’m considering this website complete enough to publish. There are still some important changes I’d like to make, though.
- Make collections for the individual projects that will be displayed in the gÜber Mods portfolio gallery
- Add lightbox-like functionality for images, perhaps with PhotoSwipe
- Add next and previous navigation button to image pages within portfolio galleries
- Add some blog posts
- Add social-media sharing buttons
- Add meta-tags for better Twitter and Facebook sharing
- Make a better "Page not found" page
- Add some kind of search functionality for blog posts and project updates
- Add pagination for my blog and projects pages
- Add Disqus