I have been doing quite a bit of work on the website recently. The largest amount of work I’ve been doing is to transition away from the single-page resume website that I currently have, to getting everything on Jekyll. Here are the reasons for the changes:
The largest reason for transitioning to Jekyll is maintainability. The one-page
website that was previously my homepage was very inconvenient to update. The
site was basically one giant HTML page with an upsetting amount of work needed
to make an update. If I wanted to make a change to it I had to copy layers and
<div> tags to get the element I wanted. Editing the site after I
created it just felt bad.
None of this is to say I didn’t like my previous homepage. I put a heck of a lot of work into it two summers ago. Getting the navigation bar that was at the top, but also scrolled, was a ton of work. Figuring out the highlighting of the navigation bar was a lot of work, all of the little skill meters were a lot of work. I am definitely proud of what I did and how it turned out.
The point is, that site has now served its purpose. Once I set up this blog in Jekyll, I realized how having the infrastructure to easily create updates encouraged me to continue to work on the website.
The original reason I created a personal website was to show off the projects that I’m working on and have completed. Due to the difficulty of updating my old site, I never wanted to add the projects that I’m working on. The amount of time I’d need to add all of my projects was just too much. Creating this blog gave me the idea to structure all of my website around posts like this one.
This led me down the path that you’ll notice emerging over the next few months. If you aren’t familiar with Jekyll, posts such as this one are created in the form of a markdown file. Markdown files are basically plain text files with a few special characters that help with formatting of the text file itself. These special characters also make it easy to separate the text file for formatting purposes. You can read more about markdown files here. Jekyll posts can have categories which make for a convenient way to classify posts. The new update on my website is an effort to add a new type of posts specifically for my projects. This way, I can now have a blog and all of my projects easily managed through the same system.
I am also moving my main domain name to be jhbell.com rather than jeffreyhbell.com. Right now, jhbell redirects to jeffreyhbell, but I’m going to switch that. Mostly because I like the look of the shorter domain name.
Peace of Mind
If I haven’t said it enough, using Jekyll to generate my website makes it super simple to update and maintain. There are plenty of ways to customize the website by editing a theme or even creating your own. I think that this transition will make it much easier on me to keep my website current.
In the meantime, you can expect to see me adding projects to the site that are not current. These older projects will show up on the projects page with dates associated with when I completed the project. This will help me go back to my original goal of having a website to show off my projects.
I will continue to make updates to the blog about my progress and new things I learn. I have one post in particular I’ve been working on for a while now that I hope to finish soon and get on here. Until then, happy hacking!