Scott Smith


I've developed for WordPress for a long time, nearly as long as I have been a web developer. As a CMS, it has grown into something a lot more powerful beyond it's blogging roots. Between Gutenberg, the Rest API, and plugins like Advanced Custom Fields, there's a lot of flexibility for a developer to work with.

That being said, WordPress also feels like overkill for a small site like this. My portfolio site doesn't really need a lot: a few pages and a set of chronologically ordered posts.

I think like a lot of web developers with personal sites, there is a desire to use your site to tinker with different design and development approaches that your employer may not be using. It's part curiosity and part self-education. This has led me to check out what's going on in the JAMstack world.

I looked into a few different static site frameworks: VuePress, Gridsome, Gatsby, and Eleventy. Everyone of these are based in the same idea of taking a folder of markdown files and processing it using templates into static HTML files. The first two are based on Vue, which is my preferred Javascript reactive framework. Gatsby has been gaining in popularity for JAMstack sites as the go-to for React developers. These first three are all very useful, but again feel like more than I need for this site. This brings us to Eleventy.

Eleventy, developed by Zach Leatherman, takes this concept even simpler. There are a variety of templating languages to choose from, which gives developers complete control over how the HTML pages are being generated. There's no extra javascript added to the built product: just plain, flat, boring HTML files.

After a several periods of working on and off on building the Eleventy version of this site, I've moved everything over without changing anything visual on the site. It is now hosted on Netlify and managed through the Netlify CMS.

Instead of more, often what we consider to be the “best” app is the one that actually ends up doing less. Less, but better. The best app is often the one that allows you to easily do what you came for, then releases you to get back to what is really important. The best app is the one that allows you to honestly answer “yes” to the question:

Is this the best way to use this technology to support my values?

Mike Schmitz on the Sweet Setup

I am really interested in seeing this new direction from The Sweet Setup. The time and attention our devices occupy is a topic I think about a lot lately, especially as my wife and I are expecting our first kid in a few months.

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NetNewsWire is all about three things:

  • The open web
  • High-quality open source Mac and iOS apps
  • The community that loves both of the above

Supporting all these things takes work.

I can get on board with all three things. Looking forward to seeing this classic app make it's come back.

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Playdate, the upcoming indie handheld gaming console from venerable software publisher Panic, is really important. But if you don't know the history of where the little company behind this little device comes from, it might be hard to understand why this isn't just another random gadget like you might see on a crowdfunding site.

Anil Dash goes on to describe the tech indie scene to setup where Panic is coming from to launching their first hardware product, the Playdate. This is the type of thing that inspires me in the tech world: the small-ish, independent company that has succeed outside the culture of Silicon Valley.

Panic started as an indie Mac development company making products like Audion, Transmit, and Coda. The later has been my code editor of choice up until recently (mostly on VS Code now, I'll get back to that in a second). Panic has a culture and perspective on design that I can't quite put my finger on, but it is immediately recognizable and refreshing. FTP and code editing apps are incredibly useful tools, but their approach brings a great deal of personality to an otherwise utilitarian category of software.

The Playdate is their first hardware product and I am really looking forward to see what they can bring to designing a handheld gaming system. I am also really looking forward to the upcoming overhaul of Coda (or whatever they are going to call it).

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