I’ve learnt so much in the past few weeks while trying to build this website. Here’s some nuggets.

Things I’ve learnt about myself

I don’t have a lot of time to work on a website.

My resolve to get it working before getting it looking nice has not held as strongly as I imagined.

Despite not having a lot of time, I still allow myself to get distracted on things that don’t nearly matter as much and don’t move the project forward (font selection, anyone?)

My own advice seems to be the hardest for me to heed.

Things I’ve learnt about web development

Things that simplify are difficult

Tools and frameworks are only easy to use if there is the time to get to know them intimately:

  • I understand how 11ty works, but it’s nowhere close to second nature and I doubt it would be unless I was working with it every day for a month.
  • I still use Sass at a very basic level.
  • I couldn’t work out how to get my Gulp flow working properly with Netlify (my website hosts) and it took many hours to troubleshoot it.

It’s better to start simple

I learnt 11ty from Andy Bell’s well-designed Learn Eleventy From Scratch course. I really loved the opportunity this particular static site generator gives me to have control over the HTML that is rendered and lean heavily into web standards.

But the course uses Andy’s “Gorko” Sass class generator pretty heavily and that’s some complicated back-end to start with. That’s further complicated by wanting to use Dart Sass to be moving with the latest tech. “Gorko” uses Node Sass syntax, which means it doesn’t compile properly and requires a lot of tinkering to get it to work.

I probably lost a day doing that before realising that I should just start with some really simple CSS (as per my original intention).

It’s a skill that needs to be exercised

My last seven or so years, I’ve hardly touched any code. I’m out of practice.

It’s not just about knowing the syntax, but how to structure my files and just think about what’s happening inside the computers that are making my website happen.