Why I went static for my site


By Lesauf | December 23, 2018

Or why as coder I finally decided to code my website

For about one year I were a Zenfolio customer, and I have not much complain about their service (and their support), except their big visible logo on top-right corner of my website. I really liked their many available templates and their online DAM to handle my images naming, tagging and organization. This way I thought I could more focus on my pictures. But their so much visible logo on my pages kept bugging me …

Then I decided to find another photographic website builder who will not have a more discrete ad on my pages. I discovered Pixpa, nice and very friendly support, simple of use, as cheap as Zenfolio, and a tiny little link in the footer (they even told me that it could even be removed). I spent some time customizing it, mostly using their access to HTML and CSS code. Then I had a revelation; why spend my time trying to tweak something existant if I could simply build one myself and just include what I really needed ? After it is MY site I am building, not a generic site.

I knew that I would definitely not build my site entirely static, duplicating lines of code just to keep the layout and design uniforms throughout my pages. I thought of building it using Angular, but since i am already working on a personal project using Angular, I tried to find a simpler way to build a simple personal website while following the DRY principle. I did not want my site to be backed by a full-featured framework. That is when I discovered the SSGs.

With an SSG I could build my site using some reusable components and it would take care of producing all the HTML, CSS and Javascript code for a static site. Basically a static site which is not produced like one. Nice. I tried one, but at first look I did not grasped its logic (I even forgot its name), so I tried another one, Hugo (I love its colorful logo), and choose two of their pre-built themes and started customizing/merging them to my taste.

Since the website is static, I am enjoying the services of Gitlab pages which allow me to automatically build and deploy a static website on commit. This way, to update my site (add a photo, blog post, etc) I just need to do it in my Hugo project on my machine (or even on Codenvy) and just commit to my gitlab project. After a few minutes it is available online, a simple static website without a database or complicated code. Yay !

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