Redesign 2022

I took some much-needed time to redesign my site for the year 2022.

Websites are hard.

Roll credits.

I started this site in... (checks git history) I don't know, a few years ago.[1] It's nice to think back on the initial designs and see how far I've come. The CSS, the performance, the fonts! Oh, the decisions a young, aspiring developer makes.

In 2020, I landed on the previous iteration of the site: a dark, straightforward blog focused heavily on optimized code. It suffered from a lack of clear vision or goal, and over time complexity got the better of it. That complexity wasn't so much seen from a viewer's perspective; however, I was feeling the quirks as the maintainer.

My skills grew exponentially[2] since then, what with me diving deeper into Eleventy's features, building a few web components, and broadening my knowledge of how Node even works. It's only natural that I take those learnings and apply them to this site.

The Move Towards Simplicity

Bloated Code

When I learned how collections work in 11ty, I decided to make some non-post layouts and templates revolving around tags, such as "work" or "projects." I was able to create some cool features with that, but it also meant I was adding more levels of management to the code. It also meant I was trying to shoehorn content into categories they had no right to be in.

Nunjucks

A while back I realized I could make my own attempt at single file components in Nunjucks. Well, I shortly afterwards realized I was making a built-in feature more complicated than it needed to be in the name of performance optimization. I rolled back that idea and decided to use Nunjucks' extends and block as they were (more correctly) intended.

Excess Domains

I also had a few one-off Netlify sites lying around that didn't need to be alone, so I consolidated them onto this domain[3].

Simplicity By Abstraction

My .eleventy.js config file was getting bulky, so I moved my collections, filters, plugins, shortcodes, and transforms into their own files[4] under a utils directory. It looks something like this when utilized:

// Plugins
Object.keys(plugins).forEach((plugin) => {
eleventyConfig.addPlugin(plugins[plugin].name, plugins[plugin]?.options);
});

// Filters
Object.keys(filters).forEach((filterName) => {
eleventyConfig.addFilter(filterName, filters[filterName]);
});

// Collections
Object.keys(collections).forEach((collectionName) => {
eleventyConfig.addCollection(collectionName, collections[collectionName]);
});

// Transforms
Object.keys(transforms).forEach((transformName) => {
eleventyConfig.addTransform(transformName, transforms[transformName]);
});

Web Components

Web components are rad as heck, so I'm using them all over the place. Inspect this site's code and see how many you can find!

I was initially worried about adding too many web components since this is a static site after all, but convinced myself (with the help of ShopTalk Show) the enjoyment/benefit in making/using them outweighs the potential client-side/back end overhead. I'm a developer and part of this site's purpose is to show what I can do, so why restrict myself from using JavaScript (when applicable) on my own website?

Focus on Posts

Cool URIs don't change, so I changed some URIs in an attempt to make them cool. Posts were previously at the route posts/title-of-post but now they live at year/month/day/title-of-post. Pretty cool, right?

Writing is great, and I believe in the power of learning in public, so I wanted this blog to look more like a blog. I now generate tag pages[5] and altered the design to bring posts to the forefront a bit more.

Serverless and Edge Functions

I'm aware of the irony in writing an entire section on simplicity while also embracing serverless and edge functions. I couldn't help myself from trying something new! Besides, I feel as though my use cases for each are worth it.

See What's Playing Now

If you check out my music pages, you'll notice a few things:

  1. A web component that plays my music (unrelated to serverless or edge, but worth a callout)
  2. A block of text above the H1 that tells you what I'm currently listening to, if anything.
  3. A series of data from my ListenBrainz account where I scrobble all my listening habits to.

To see my now playing, I make a request to ListenBrainz on the edge to check if it's receiving anything[6]. If you happen to visit that page while I'm in the middle of a song or podcast, you'll know what it is!

Edge functions aren't the simplest of things coming from someone who's never done anything like it, but the 11ty edge plugin helped me get there.

A call to the ListenBrainz API returns a JSON payload of track data. The now playing data is slightly different from other track and artist data, so it needs a specific function for parsing:

// netlify/edge-functions/now-playing.js
async function getNowPlaying(api, auth) {
try {
const response = await fetch(`${api}/user/actionhamilton/playing-now`, {
headers: auth,
});

const data = await response.json();

const { payload } = data;
const metadata = payload.listens[0].track_metadata;
const { artist_name: artist, track_name: song, release_name: release } = metadata;

return { artist, song, release };
} catch (error) {
return false;
}
}

Data fetched like this needs to be added to the data cascade, so I had to remember the following lines in the export default function:

const nowPlaying = await getNowPlaying(listenBrainzEndpoint, headers);
edge.config((eleventyConfig) => {
eleventyConfig.addGlobalData("nowPlaying", nowPlaying);
});

In the template, that data can be accessed in Nunjucks as normal data.


{% edge "njk" %}
{% if nowPlaying %}
<dl class="c-dataList u-font--code">
<div class="c-dataList__item">
<dt>Artist</dt>
<dd>{{ nowPlaying.artist }}</dd>
</div>
<div class="c-dataList__item">
<dt>Track</dt>
<dd>{{ nowPlaying.song }}</dd>
</div>
<div class="c-dataList__item">
<dt>Release</dt>
<dd>{{ nowPlaying.release }}</dd>
</div>
</dl>
{% else %}
<p class="u-font--code">Silence (nothing)</p>
{% endif %}
{% endedge %}

See My Listening Habits

My listening habits are retrieved with a serverless function. Instead of putting this data in the serverless function itself, the API calls are in my stats.11tydata.js file. The way it works is that data gets fetched on the initial load, Netlify caches that build for a set amount of time, then after that time is reached it will fetch new data on page load.

// stats.11tydata.js

// Example function for getting my top artists for the month
async function getTopArtists(api, auth, fetchDir, count = 10, range = "this_month") {
try {
let options = {
type: "json",
fetchOptions: {
headers: auth,
},
directory: fetchDir,
};

// I don't know if these options are actually doing anything, but it looks like it works (mostly)
if (process.env.ELEVENTY_SERVERLESS) {
options.duration = "30m";
options.directory = "/tmp/.cache/";
}

const data = await EleventyFetch(
`${api}/stats/user/actionhamilton/artists?count=${count}&range=${range}`,
options
);

const { payload } = data;
const { artists } = payload;

return artists.map((artist) => {
const { artist_name: name, listen_count: listens } = artist;
return { name, listens };
});
} catch (error) {
return false;
}
}

I didn't do any major editing of the auto-generated serverless functions from the 11ty Serverless plugin aside from setting it up for Netlify's On-Demand builder.

The Bugs Encountered

A major redesign isn't without its bugs.

  • It turns out changing URIs means you lose webmentions since they were pointing to the old URIs... oops.
  • If you minify your HTML output like I do, be sure to disable comment removal because Eleventy Edge relies on an HTML comment to inject content.
  • In order for the serverless functions to work, I had to change some constants in my .eleventy.js config:
const utilsDir = `${process.cwd()}/utils`;
const srcDir = `./src`;

I might've missed a bug or two, but thanks for reading!


  1. If you know a simple way to find the first commit of a repo, please hit me up. ↩︎

  2. Source needed. ↩︎

  3. Check out my projects. ↩︎

  4. Inspiration from Max Böck's website. ↩︎

  5. Find them on the archive. ↩︎

  6. I won't go into detail about all the methods I'm using to scrobble my music, but send me a message if you're interested. ↩︎


Webmentions

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