Category: markboultoncouk

Newish blog

A new year. A new blog design. The first time I've mucked about with my site in ages, actually. But why the renewed interest?

Ever since Statamic released version 2 a little while ago, I've been meaning to rebuild my version 1 site. It was more of an exercise in just learning something new than anything. However, about 18 months ago – maybe longer – I tried and then swiftly gave up. There was just too much of a gap between v1 and 2 that I could bridge at the time. Not enough head space. Turns out, it took something going wrong with my head to finally give me mental space to give it a go over new year this year.

In December, one Sunday, I fell off my road bike. I fractured both my hands, cut my eye and gave myself a nasty concussion. Whilst recuperating turns out that learning and building this new website was just the physiotherapy I needed both for my brain and my fingers. Finding myself with a bit of spare time, when I should've been out on my bike, meant I set to work migrating the old stuff from version 1, and, typically, redesigning in the process.

So, what's new?

I wanted a design refresh. In all honestly, I wanted to use fonts that weren't Monotype fonts! So, I have a bit of a thing for Retina from Frere Jones, after trialing it for a project with Conde Nast over the summer. And what better pairing than Exchange which is a beautiful serif.

From a content perspective, I've also got a new section called reading where I pull in Pinboard links that interest me and others might find interesting. I've also been working on a portfolio. Haven't had one of those for a while. I've done some interesting work over the past ten years and it's nice to document it. For my sake more than anything.

So, what's technically new?

Under the hood, quite a lot. Have a read of the site colophon for a swift introduction. The site now runs on version 2 of Statamic. Which brings with it a whole load of advantages and features. Statamic is built on top of Laravel, so locally, I use the nifty Valet. Keeping with the Laravel theme, I use the excellent Forge service to build and manage a server using a Digital Ocean droplet. I used to use Mediatemple, like, forever, but this setup is absolutely fabulous in comparison. Everything Just Works. The sweetener is that Forge automatically deploys from Github. All I need to do to add content, or make a change to the site is commit the changes to my production branch and that's that.

Now, I know to many of you reading this, all that I've just explained has been doable for a million years and what am I getting so excited about? Well, I think that's certainly the case but it hasn't been until recently that there have been a series of interconnected services available for people who are, yes, still, anxious about using the command line.

CSS wise, I've tried using CSS grid. A few things might be amiss as I continue to work on the layout and I get my head around CSS Grid and its possibilities.

Elsewhere