It has been a long time since I last posted a new article here. The blog had to take a backseat momentarily to allow me to redesign both it and my portfolio. The goal for these two sites was to implement and learn new technologies and development trends.

In the professional web development world, keeping up with the newest trends can be quite time consuming. There are about a hundred different frameworks, boilerplates, and plugins that come out every year. Part of the process that I take when selecting a new technology is first to research it and then determine if the product it will produce fits the project needs.

For instance with the blog, I was previously running it on Wordpress. While there is nothing wrong with running a blog with Wordpress, in fact most do, I always got the feeling that Wordpress was like dropping a bomb on an ant. It will get the job done but in some instances is overkill. All of the additional plugins, settings, and the ridiculous database structure just left a bad taste in my mouth. That's when I started to research alternative blogging platforms.

I finally came accross Jekyll, which emphasizes static pages over dynamic. There is no database, no additional files loaded, and no bloated code; just the raw html pages for your posts. For the purpose of this blog Jekyll works great allowing me to quickly write new posts directly in my text editor and additionally having the benefit of faster load times due to the pages being static. For larger sites I would still probably go with using Wordpress, but for a small development blog Jekyll works perfectly.

In addition to using Jekyll I wanted to implement a website using only Bootstrap as the front-end framework. Everything on both my portfolio and blog use bootstrap as the core. I also wanted to get familiar with using Grunt.js. I had been using Guard in the past to do pre-processor compiling, but Grunt seemed to have much more of a community surrounding it. I find the documentation and implementation for Grunt.js much easier to understand and troubleshoot so far than Guard.

Giving yourself challenges when you work on personal projects is a perfect way to learn new material. My goal is to always add 1 new technique / technology per project that I have no knowledge of and integrate it into my workflow. If it helps me to be more efficient on the project then I'll place it permanently into my workflow.

For this site I specifically challenged myself to learn and use the following technologies.

Technology Goals:

  1. Bootstrap: The site will only utilize Bootstrap for CSS/SASS styles. No other css libraries or frameworks.
  2. Jekyll: The site will use Jekyll for blogging instead of Wordpress.
  3. Grunt.js: Was integrated into my workflow for compiling and concatenation.

With the new Jekyll structure for the blog in place and my portfolio finished you can expect to see new blog posts coming up on a regular basis.

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