Playing with React

At some point I got fed up with Medium, where I was hosting my blog. The posts that I see are so formatted and undirectional (not to say condescending) that I start having an epidemic reaction when I see them. Most of them contain either why you should, or this thing is wrong and here’s why I’m right. In other words I don’t identify with the community at all. I still respect the quality of the platform and thank Medium for hosting my blog for so long, and I’m probably going to cross-post to Medium.

Instead, I looked into hosting it myself, as before, but this time without a server. I wanted to try out Prismic which had been recommended by my colleagues at Lunatech. This is also an experience to train for the website of les Editions de La Pigne, i.e. good editing experience and minimal maintenance, which is what brought me to Prismic in the first place.

Design decisions. Moving away from Medium was the opportunity to rethink the design. You already know that I prefer it minimal, also to contrast with the attention drains we see in too many websites. I’ll implement further reading suggestions later on. Prismic supports tags natively, I don’t expect much problems there.

One thing I changed was removing the about page. It doesn’t fit well with the design and the overall concept of the site, where the focus is on pages with text only. A lone page with a picture and a supposedly engaging biography would break it down. I put a link to Twitter and LinkedIn instead, where this information is also available, even if in a different format. I felt that need when I was editing the content in Prismic and each time I had to choose between an article document and the about page, which gave far too much importance to the about page. Now I have only one document type, so I don’t even have to choose. When something goes in the way of design and convenience, there are chances you can remove it.

I don’t want to implement comments though. I cross post on social media, the reactions happen there.

Implementation. Well that was so straightforward that I won’t write much details here as you can do it yourself in two hours. Create an account on Prismic. Read the the tutorial and start directly your own website. Deploy the production build somewhere and that’s it. Even if you’ve never done any React, nor used Prismic, it takes no time to get something on your screen.

I compile locally and deploy through ssh. As my blog has very little complexity, I’ve removed some of the predefined parts from Prismic’s CLI template project. Then I’ve played with the CSS, the images, footer, fonts, etc, just to get a better finish.

Further developments. So far I don’t know if I want to continue improving this website too much, as I have other side projects to work on. I am thinking of a rewrite using clojurescript, now that I understand better how React works.