Antony Doyle

Grav/itating towards simplicity


This has taken so long, it's untrue.

I've been "redesigning" my website for about two years. Maybe even longer. I honestly can't tell you when I started. But now, finally, here it is.

I'm not a designer, so it tends to take me a lot longer to cobble something together that doesn't look terrible. And the longer something drags on, the more and more bored I get with the design and, before you know it, I've thrown it all away and started again.

So, this would be the sixth design. I even tried working from a template, but even that started to piss me off. So here we are. I stripped everything back to focus on performance and the content. There are very few images, web fonts are stripped back to an absolute bare minimum and I've even dropped Javascript entirely. I'm quite happy with how it turned out. And it's pretty fast.

Goodbye Joomla

I love Joomla. I really do. It's been good to me, and I still use it extensively for freelance work. But it's just too cumbersome for a small site like this. I wanted something fast, flexible and something that I could easily update with very little effort.

Enter GRAV.

I've kept an eye on Grav since it launched. The lack of database intrigued me, and having already played around with things like Jekyll, it was certainly an option I was more than willing to consider.

I'll be honest - it's taken me a while to get up to speed with Twig templating. Partially because I never really had time to just sit and focus, but also because I didn't really "get" why it was even needed. I mean, you can already do all of this in PHP. In the end, though, it started to make sense (a subject for another blog post, possibly) and once I'd decided to go ahead with Grav, it was all pretty easy to start putting together.

It took me about three days, in total, to build the HTML for the site. That includes the time spent actually designing it as I went. And I managed to get it into Grav in four hours - start to finish, and I stopped halfway through to make dinner. Four hours, less the time it takes to cook and eat a meal, to implement a website into a CMS is a good thing. A very good thing.

What's next?

Well, obviously there isn't much here at the moment. I need to add my portfolio / side projects and I'll likely tweak a few things as I go, but other than that, it's just content. One of the main reasons for rebuilding the site was to make it less effort to write content and add blog posts. It's actually quite nice to do that now, as I can use pretty much anything I want. I'm currently writting this in Visual Studio Code. I can switch quickly to the site config and edit something there, or even adjust the markup, CSS or whatever, all without leaving the editor. I really like that. It appeals to my lazy side.