About this site

And my web development values

September 4th, 2022 Tagged with: technical, personal

I seem to be redesigning my website every few months, so in the full recognition that more change may be coming, this post will be quite short for the amount of work behind it. You can view my Gitea repository for more information and the code.

Priorities and values#🠑

I care most about functionality. If the site does not load, nothing can be read, nothing can be judged. So I put a lot of work into optimizing load times, mostly in the choice to use Svelte and SvelteKit to render routes server-side and avoid sending unnecessary JavaScript to the client.

I care just as much about readability and accessibility. I tried to make text large, readable, and stable. Rectangular and top-to-bottom text is best to me. The animations that do occur are slow, even down to the fade-in and fade-out of the audio on the first page.

I care about style, but it’s secondary to me to that first goal of functionality and readability. The font used, Lora, reflects this goal, in being sort of a subtle and readable cousin of Garamond. The gradient in the background is something I added to make the site look nice, but I tried hard to keep it from being distracting by reducing the saturation in the colors.


The engine behind this site is Svelte, a JavaScript framework for making light and fast UIs. But I like Svelte less for its performance benefits and more because it is just very, very pleasant to write in. I mostly attribute this to scoped styles, an enforced rule of one-component-per-file, easy transitions, and two-way state bindings.

On top of Svelte, I use SvelteKit, a framework for packaging Svelte applications. It especially offers a fairly intuitive filesystem-based router and various methods for configuring server-side rendering and static site generation.

I don’t use any styling or CSS library for this site. Svelte actually performs a lot of that work through scoped styling, and I prefer not to use Tailwind, Bootstrap, or any styling solution. It’s actually quite fun for me to do frontend coding, so I don’t mind wrestling with CSS minutia, and it feels better to me to have less dependencies on the client. The two exceptions here are icons, which for the most part come from Material Icons and Iconify, and the rendering of Svelte-augmented markdown content, which come from mdsvex and underneath that, remark. Perhaps one day I’ll write my own markdown parser.

Easter eggs, fun bits, and things I’m proud of#🠑

What I meant by “quite fun for me:”

  • the “currently” section is automatically updated. It interacts with the SQLite database used by Calibre, my ebook application, to get my last read book. It queries Spotify for the music.

  • you get an Atom (or RSS, for the last two) feed at any of the following routes:

    • /atom
    • /feed
    • /atom.xml
    • /index.xml
    • /rss
    • /rss.xml

    This was inspired by getting frustrated by having to guess-and-check for the correct route on too many websites I wanted to follow.

  • there is an animation, as well as a fade-in and fade-out when played and paused, for the audio element on the home page

  • on the CV page, you can change the citation style (!), enable a “condensed” view format, and change font sizes

  • on posts, footnotes and guides travel with the reader as they scroll

  • as of september 2022, this is deployed on a lonely laptop hanging out at my parents’ house. You are establishing a connection to that home instead of a data center in visiting this website