11ty is pretty slick!
For a little while before Lockdown, I'd been toying with jumping back into web development. I used to really enjoy building for the web before I got burnt out pretty bad.
So last month I wrote a post about procrastination, anxiety and all that fun stuff. Imposter Syndrome was stopping me from posting anything, coding anything or even trying anything. But the creative part of my brain kept pecking away and I couldn't shake the urge to start playing.
The first step was to start writing. Writing about what I was doing, writing about why I was doing whatever and how I was learning.
To do this, I wanted something that wouldn't distract me from writing, was able to publish stuff easily, and was fairly simple to jump in to. Let's not forget that I had been out of the loop for a few years at this point.
My old site was built on Perch but I didn't really get on with it. I can't put my finger on what the issue was with Perch, but I didn't truly understand how perch worked.
Maybe it was procrastination again but I began looking for an alternative solution to manage my site. I've worked with WordPress many times before and was tempted to use it again on my own site but a few friends suggested I try 11ty.
11ty had a few things going for it: -
- Static Site generator meaning I write a file and save it, and the system does everything it needs to!
- Quick & easy to set up using a few instructions on the command line.
- Simple HTML & CSS instead of being bogged down in themes which meant I could be writing almost straight away.
- File driven instead of database driven providing an almost nostalgic view of building for the web. No server side code or databases to go wrong. Just plain ol' HTML.
It seemed to tick many of the boxes that I was looking for in a new system and writing everything in markdown seemed like fun!
So 11ty it is.
I've already written about getting 11ty setup and configuring various bits & pieces in other posts over the last few months so I won't go into it all again here. I have however added a list at the bottom of this page which links to all my 11ty posts.
So how's it going?
I've been using 11ty for a few months now and my thoughts are as follows:
- It's lightning quick to publish content. Once 11ty is running on the command line on my laptop, it compiles on file saves so it's ready to go almost instantly.
- The layout system is super easy to pick up! I like Nunjucks but can be a bit confusing when looking for help online, incorrectly following Liquid layout steps and getting frustrated because it wasn't working... or so I heard.
- I find the ease and speed at which I can post is slower than a CMS with a WYSIWYG editor but writing markdown files provides a ton more control of content & layouts.
- The speed at which sites run because of the lack of server processing faaar surpasses the minor hassle when writing & uploading posts.
The only con I've come across is that there must be an easier way to publish content. I wonder if I can do some command line tomfoolery to push edited files to my server through SSH when I push to github? Having to be near a laptop or desktop to publish something can be a bit of a hinderance. I'd like to tap something out on my phone during a train journey and publish directly.
Maybe that's one of the compromises I need to accept.
All in all though, I'm going to use 11ty a lot more going forward. For sites that don't need the complexity of databases, searching etc. then 11ty is the ideal tool.
All 11ty Posts
Because this post is all about 11ty, here's a list of all my 11ty posts that I've written about so far.
- 11ty is pretty slick!
- Day 8 - Custom URL slugs in 11ty
- Day 7 - Escaping code in 11ty
- Day 6 - Building the archive
- Day 5 - Fleshing out the index
- Day 5 again - Making dates readable in 11ty with Luxon.
- Day 4 - Losing track of days
- Day 3 - Getting responsive
- Day 2 - setting up and tweaks
- Day 1 - Getting started with 11ty