It’s been more than 10 years since I started working on the previous design for this website 😅. This feels like a good point to come up with a new one!
The previous design served me well. The uncluttered design focussed on text was fast and responsive. It saw the introduction of new devices like iPad and a gradual increase in mobile display size without needing updating. The new design aims to retain these features while giving it a lighter, more modern feel.
Inspired by Chris Krycho and Shaun Inman I’ve taken to versioning the
website instead of attempting to port all the existing content over to the new
technology. This makes the redesign more of a clean slate and leaves old posts
appearing how the did when originally posted. The new site is hosted under the
/v2/ prefix. This allows all existing pages to stay where they are and
www.wezm.net domain. Compared to using a sub-domain it doesn’t
mess with DNS or search ranking. I have put redirects in place to direct the
RSS feeds from the previous version to the new feed.
The new design uses the Manrope variable font for all text. Variable fonts are a fairly recent addition to the web platform but they have good support from fairly recent versions of all modern browsers and operating systems. On older browsers/operating systems the layout will fall back to a sans-serif font. Webfonts generally come with a non-trivial download cost. However, Manrope is 108kB and being a variable font that includes all weights between 200 and 800, as well as italic!
Technology wise, the previous site was built with Nanoc, a Ruby static site compiler. I’ve been very happy with Nanoc over the years but as my programming interests have shifted away from Ruby to Rust I’ve wanted to try a Rust static site compiler. I’m now using Zola. Zola is perhaps not quite as flexible as Nanoc but I’ve been able to achieve everything I wanted to with it. It’s super fast and has nice conveniences like live-reload when editing content. Being a single file native binary also makes installation a breeze — no need to juggle Ruby versions or install gems.
Finally, I’ve now made the repository that the site is generated from public. This is to allow others to see how the site is built and permit corrections/fixes via issue or pull request.