Goodbye Gatsby; Hello Eleventy!

Hello there. It’s been a good while since anything new content has appeared on this website, and while I’ve tinkered with the splash page on occasion, it’s not displayed anything more than my name in a <h1>.

Some thoughts on ‘v3’:

  • I’ve gotten rid of Gatsby. It wasn’t long after I upgraded to v2 that I noticed the site no longer rendered if JS was disabled; something I had appreciated in v1.
  • The site now runs on Eleventy, and uses Andy Bell’s Hylia Starter Kit to get me going. I expect to be hacking away at it over the next week.
  • I wanted to place to display my photos. Yes, I know there’s only a single photo being displayed. It’s a shot of the Molino Stucky in Venice. I’m using Cloudinary to host the image and apply transforms based on device DPI, orientation, and screen width.
  • I want the site to feel fast. It’s preconnecting to third-party origins (Cloudinary, Google Fonts, Speedcurve), and preloading the most important assets. I’m inlining the first blast of CSS, then loading the rest asynchronously. Benchmarking the site on Web Page Test, it surprised me how much slower the site performed when this wasn’t done.
  • Speedcurve was mentioned above. Thought I’d have a play and see how the site performs over time. Additionally, I only just found out that one doesn’t need to use Chrome to play with Lighthouse: Jeremy Keith put together a bookmarklet to send the current document over to the Lighthouse viewer. In the same vein, Lighthouse Metrics seems a neat way to keep tabs on performance.
  • I want to begin publishing accessibility audits of some of my favourite sites. At Talis, I’ve been spending a good chunk of time reviewing and improving the accessibility of our products ahead of September’s PSBAR deadline. While I’ve been championing accessibility internally since I started, it has felt like a struggle to get cross-functional buy-in until recently.
  • When not working on improving our accessibility, the recent focus has been on relaunching our website. I am extremely grateful for Timber, which made working with WordPress a much more pleasurable experience. Something that irks me is that I tried hard to keep the site snappy, but as third-party plugins have been enabled to support desired functionality - “buy, don’t build” is the mantra - more and more external resources get pulled in. Even the WordPress core functionality dumps a load of crap in, which has to be manually disabled via the theme’s functions.php. Le sigh.