I’ve been meaning to create a personal website for years. Finally with some spare time on my hands, I decided to give it a go. I’d done web design years ago, so I knew the basics - HTML / JS / CSS / PHP / SQL. But nowadays there’s all kinds of frameworks and tools out there and I’d not kept up with the latest trends.
Well it seems the latest trend is to recommend site builders like Wordpress / Squarespace / Wix.
…Yeah no thanks.
Call me old fashioned, but I like to see some CODE when I’m building a website. There’s a level of precision that you just can’t achieve with a ‘click and get rolling’ website, and whilst I’m not a web dev guru by any means, it’s nice to know that I won’t be limited now or in the future. A good old web server with some files to deploy for me please!
My cousin Viknesh recommended Adobe Muse. He’s a pretty good graphic designer so I gave it a go. Sadly it didn’t meet my expectations; I found it rather clunky and again, lacking in precision (but at least it spits out raw HTML / CSS / JS files which you can technically edit yourself, so thats a plus).
I asked my good friend Jayen, and he recommended Jekyll. There’s a bit of a learning curve and I wouldn’t call it beginner friendly, but so far I’m impressed! You write a few YAML, Ruby and HTML files that act as templates, and actual content as plain text files. Jekyll then merges the two together to generate the site. Combined with some open source themes, you can get a website rolled out pretty quickly but with the added advantage of it being fine controlled.
So yep, I’ll be using Jekyll + Sublime Text for the time being and probably in any future websites I create. Considering there’s nothing particularly unique about this site, I’m sure I could have just used a site builder, but… fine control. Or maybe I just like to edit files directly because it reminds me of the early 2000s, when I used to use Notepad for site building 😂