Finally, I’ve gotten a personal site to the point where I’m happy enough (keywords: “happy enough”) to launch with more than just a little landing page. It’s far from perfect and will be changing pretty frequently as a place to experiment with new techniques and ideas. Once it gets a little bit further I’ll be hosting the theme files on Github for anyone to take down and use. I’m hoping it will be able to teach something to anyone diving into it, and I’d always love feedback to learn from the community as well.

To CMS or Not CMS

I began this mostly as a way to familiarize myself with some of the newer, more-simple content management systems and static site generators, not thinking it would ever launch. I began on Docpad, moved to AnchorCMS and settled on Statamic (for now…)

Docpad, being built on Node, was really fun and had a lot of nice “extras” that were really easy to integrate with NPM. I wasn’t too excited though about having to run a build script any time new content was added, and this certainly couldn’t be something I could offer for clients to update themselves. This is definitely be something I will be keeping an eye on though as it matures.

AnchorCMS was really wonderful to set up and use. I am definitely one for simplicity, especially when it comes to a CMS, but for client use it was just a little too simple. I loved that no WYSIWYG editor is included – posts/pages are written in markdown. Despite the opinions I have heard from others, I think having clients learn markdown can be very valuable. It will maintain the integrity of your design and code by only allowing a limited amount of elements be entered by the user. Anchor, however was just barely too simple. There isn’t much of a community around it (yet) and I can foresee needing a few small “plugins” that I might need for client work in the future that I wouldn’t have time or php skills to develop from scratch on Anchor. Also worth keeping an eye on. @idiot has done a really amazing job on the whole product, but especially the design of the admin section. It’s very pleasant to use.

Statamic, what I have settled on, has almost everything that I was looking for. Simple content managing via static files (.md, .html, .textile, or .txt) or with an admin UI. Perfect for personal or client use. The fact that everything is static is very appealing especially for quick, small projects that I do for friends or personal projects. I was really enjoying Docpad, working with node and writing everything in javascript and I wasn’t looking forward to going back into PHP but the templating system Statamic has developed is really nice and you rarely need to touch any PHP. Statamic also has a decent-sized and rapidly growing community. Soon a plugin community, The Trading Post, will be opened and backed by Statamic as well.

In the Browser

I was really excited to use some new approaches that I’ve began to lay out in a little Sass framework I developed, pizza.css. I was inspired by Harry Robert’s inuit.css, making it a bit less robust and tailored more to my style and preferred approach to starting new projects. Massive thanks to him for sharing all of his abstractions and notes on the techniques he uses.

Behind the Scenes

Built on a Macbook Air inside Sublime Text 2. Fonts from Typekit and IcoMoon. And yes, like most of the rest of you, it was fueled by lots and lots of good coffee.