Sommer Panage

iOS Engineer | Accessibility Specialist | Manager

Hello New Website!

tech learning

I’ve been wanting to update my website for a long time. Not for any particular reason; the old one was fine and did the job. I just felt the urge to tinker!

I’m not much of a web dev. Though my early programming years were spent dabbling in HTML and CSS, that was long forgotten after oscillating between between a chemical engineering major, a music major, and, finally, a psych major. When I stumbled back into code, I found myself drawn to lower-level programming for no reason I can explain, so I ended up studying mostly C during my masters program. After that, it was just the steady progression onto Objective-C and finally Swift with a bit of Java along the way.

A few years back, I cobbled together some simple HTML and CSS to create my previous website. While it served its purpose, it was a pain to update, and it was not a simple task to add new sections. A few months ago, I recalled seeing @Shantinix on Twitter asking folks about building a static site, and the topic of static site generators came up. I’d never even heard of them, but they seemed to do exactly what I wanted: help me build a slightly more robust, still static, website that I could more easily update and extend thanks to the handy-dandy tooling. It meant not trying to write my CSS from scratch but still being able to tinker and have fun.

Now, fast-forward 3 months from that tweet, and here we are on my shiny new site! I’ve even added a blog to gather a couple posts from my days of yore online + add some more long-form content to in the future!

Here are the basics of how I pulled this off, in case you’re in the same boat as me:

  1. I decided to use Hugo for site gen. After looking at a few different options like Gatsby and Jekyll, Hugo felt the most straight forward to me and needed the fewest pre-reqs on my system. Gatsby also required some JavaScript, React and GraphQL know-how, and I didn’t feel like messing with my system’s Ruby for Jekyll.
  2. Once I decided on Hugo, I looked thru their vast theme gallery for something similar to what my old site had. And something simple.
  3. I ran thru the Hugo quick start tutorial with my theme of choice, smol. I found that it wasn’t quite perfect, so I decided to fork the theme and make some edits. Most of the changes were in the CSS, but I also got to tinker with Go Templates, which I didn’t even know about until today.
  4. I added a couple old Medium posts, built my about page, and got it up and running on Fastmail (where I’ve served my website for as long as I’ve had one.)

In the end, I probably spent one whole afternoon on the project, and far too much of that time was spent trying to hone in on my “color scheme,” if you can call it that.

I’ve always been someone that learns by doing and this little, encapsulated day project felt like an awesome way to spend a sleepy Sunday, learning something new and having something shiny at the end!

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