My Own Personal Website

Disclaimer: There is no CSS whatsoever on the website, for now, it's a deliberate choice, you don't need to refresh the page nor open your developer tools. Keep on reading to know why.

After years of procrastination, I finally release the first version of my website today. I started playing around with BBcode in 2004 on a PHP Content Management System (CMS) called Land Down Under (from which were born later on Seditio and Cotenti). This was a few months after my parents got Internet access at home, I've been a Netizen ever since.

Despite working as a web designer / front-end developer since 2009, I never got around to create a real website for myself. More than a mere place to download my résumé that is. No personal website also means no personal expression. If I tried to keep a blog for a few weeks in 2006 (powered by Dotclear), I never really committed to express myself online. The truth is I've always been more of a lurker, on both forums and social networks like Twitter.

Time for a change

Progressively shifting away from front-end development towards UX and UI design, I wanted to showcase my work in a portfolio. But perfectionism and a heavy tendency to procrastinate always kept me from seriously working on it. This year though, I decided to commit to create and put my website online. It starts now with a basic blog and will probably feature a portfolio section in the future. I don't have a precise plan, the idea to keep things flexible so that I can experiment and adapt the website to my aspirations.

The true spur for me was this optimistic and inspiring article from Matthias Ott: Into the Personal-Website-Verse. This article radically changed my perspective, I recommend it to anyone involved in the web. Since I read it, I'm eager to write on my own website and somehow optimistic about the future of the web again. As Bastian Allgeier says, it gets us:

excited about the personal web again!

Ongoing process

Matthias mentions Kylie Timpani, who decided to document the design process of her website and to share her experience. I loved the idea and I decided to follow a similar path. Not only could it be interesting for potential readers but it also could help to avoid a perfectionist approach: starting with a pure HTML website and no CSS forces me to focus on what I want to achieve. Building this website tend to induce stress and pressure, but once again Bastian Allgeier had some soothing words:

It does not have to be impressive, beautiful, feature-complete, raise attention. It just has to be there. A small digital home.

Layouts and visuals identity will come later, in a slow and progressive enhancement. I will be writing blog posts all along the process, focusing sometimes on the technical parts, sometimes on the design process.

In the current state, this website has a few static pages and a blog section with pagination, tags, and a comment system. Under the hood, it is powered by Eleventy, with a basic setup mostly taken from Hylia starter kit from Andy Bell. The comment system is based on a mix of tools from Phil Hawksworth: JamStack Comments Engine and Example Read from Sheet. The website is hosted on Netlify and I use Netlify CMS to manage the content. I'll write an extended blog post about this.

The title is an obvious reference to Depeche Mode, the idea is from Rachel Simone Weil.