Powered by Metalsmith (and Github, TravisCI, Myth, npm...)

And here is another version of this blog! As usual, it's a good opportunity to experiment recent or interesting technologies and to apply new good practices in a different context than at my daily job at eZ Systems.

The fundamental change this time is that it is now statically generated. To do that, I use a tool called Metalsmith. I've already used Metalsmith to publish my mountain bike website and I still find it brillant. It is at the same time super simple and powerful thanks to its plugins. By the way, the full source code is on Github, each and every new version of this website is made with less and less code, it seems like I'm getting lazier with time. Also, the build process is run by Travis-CI with the great benefit of not having to maintain an up to date environment for that on the hosting server :-)

As a matter of fact, I also did various choices at different levels when rebuilding this website:

  • no external dependencies in the pages like custom fonts, social widgets and so on... Even no Google Analytics. I've came to the conclusion that the price for the reader does not worth it. So the main font is the good old Arial and to share a post on the main social networks (feel free to do it ;-)) you have good old hypertext links. And as a result, you won't see here the stupid cookie warning...
  • it seems like font icons are not that good so this website is font icons free, the few icons were replaced by inline SVG coming from Simple icons.
  • npm as the only package manager and as the tasks runner so no bower, grunt or gulp. Again, given the simplicity of this project, it's more than enough and it's a good way to limit the maintenance to a minimum.
  • no CSS pre-processor: I don't like pre-processors like Sass or Less and I much prefer to write future proof CSS and post-process it to get a working CSS in current browsers. PostCSS is clearly the tool in this area right now but on the other hand Myth has been there for a while, it is much more simple and there's already a plugin for Metalsmith, so for now the winner is... Myth :-)
  • on the CSS side: flexbox all the things and CSS custom properties (variables) for the win. Those 2 new CSS features change everything when it comes to write the stylesheets. And again given the simplicity of this project, there is no need for a grid framework.

As you can see, this new version is focused on the Less is more mantra. Actually, for quite some time now, I try to apply the following quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in my developments:

It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove.

And as far as I can tell, this has worked quite well so far and the current website is a direct result of that.