Zola to.. Astro?


Every year at some point I like to give my website a little revamp. It’s usually around January when I’m full of motivation and creativity - and I tell myself I’ll actually commit to writing more often. Writing really helps me solidify my thoughts and learning, so it’s usually a well-intentioned spur of motiviation. Inevitably - as the year goes on and as work and family life gets in the way, this goal often gets side-tracked.

I can’t promise to myself that this year is going to be any different, but I thought I’d at least try to approach it in a different way. I found a website by Brad Woods of his ”digital garden”, and while I definitely don’t have the patience or organization to care for my website like a bonsai tree - it gave me some ideas for an alternative approach.

I often don’t want to write because I worry that it might make me look a little incompetent if I get things wrong or “not quite right”. People in the tech crowd especially have a tendancy to always point out when you’re wrong, which is mostly a helpful thing - though it can make you feel really stupid at times.

My theory is that if I write for just myself, and for my learning - rather than to explain to others, I’ll have a better time. After all, nobody reads this anyway! As such, I plan on writing substantially more, about topics I know really well - and topics I don’t - as a way to help solidify learning. There are some topics I thought I knew really well last year, but when asked to explain them I found it really difficult. This is something I’d like to improve in 2023.

As for Astro

As for the website, I went for a retro-style design that I designed & built in a couple evenings using Astro. You can change colors, and if you really hate the CRT effect - disable that too (go HD!). I also wanted to make navigation a little more interesting, so there’s an almost CLI-like tool at the top of the page you can use (hotkey: /).

I’m using Astro on a couple side projects and found it pretty fun, and I wanted to put a little bit of personality into my site this year - rather than the minimalist designs of years past. Getting up to speed with Astro is pretty quick, and I can mostly write in Markdown (or .mdx) - allowing me to slot in interactivity with (for example) React components. This could be a fun way to express ideas in more than just words.

Finally, as always, my personal site is hosted with Netlify.