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personal-site

Repository that runs jeremenichelli.io, my personal site. This project is built using Eleventy and hosted by Netlify.

Run book

To serve this site locally, clone the repository into your machine.

You will need Node.js and npm installed.

Install all dependencies by running npm install first.

Run npm run serve to kick off the development server.

Folder structure

At the root of the project you will find what is at the root of the web server itself like the feed and the homeage (index.md) in markdown format, just to align the page extension across the project as its content is in HTML syntax.

Here's a description of the first level of folders:

  • _data, data files holding the basic information about the site plus the list of talks to be rendered at /talks page.
  • _includes, contains all partials for the templating engine. Inside there are dedicated folders for structured data, scripts to be inlined in the head of the pages, inlined styles, and the layouts for each page.
  • .scripts, this folder holds or the custom node scripts used to build assets.
  • .eleventy, hough the config of the Eleventy build is in the root (.eleventy.js) every custom part of it is at the .eleventy folder to keep the config file readable and easy to scan.
  • posts contains all the writing content of the site.
  • src has all the original assets before being processed, less files, unbundled scripts, images, font files and favicons. The Node scripts in .scripts will use the content of this folder to output the results to an assets folder, ignored in the repository as it is generated at build time.

Styles

In this project, LESS is used as base for its styles. All styles generated are exported as partials and inlined in the head of each page containing only the styles needed for that page to render.

This approach makes pages to weight more than they would be if styles were exported as stylesheets and doesn't take advantage of caching.

This architectural move makes sense because styles are minimal and it's better to avoid render blocking resources or flash of unstyled content. But it is important to keep them at minimum or otherwise it's make more sense to separate styles between above and below the fold files.

Each page needs to hold a type, that type needs a reference file,a partial inside the _includes/generated/styles directory which will be include it at build time.

To build LESS files do npm run less.

Class naming convention

Class names use the BEM notation with some flexibilities and changes. The initial prefix not always indicates position unless is necessary.

There's a _general.less and a _page.less files which can be used as base, page specific files can import them as base, override specific styles. Because of this, some class names might start with its type, like home to help detect and identified unnecessary rules.

Before exporting they are exported, files go through CSS Nano to compress them. Rules get merged across them and rules which will never get applied because of the internal cascade are removed. This way the final footprint is minimized.

Class names used in CSS can't be used in JavaScript, for those needs special classes need to be created.

Variables

This projects uses both LESS and CSS variables.

LESS Variables are used to hold values across the site, their names might not represent an element or a funcitonality but the usage it represents.

On the other hand, CSS Variables do not hold values just for the sake of distributing them across the site, that's the role of LESS Variables, but repsent a style that can change. For example, you can have two variants for texts or backgrouns saved as LESS Variables, which are passed to a CSS Variables if they are meant to be changed due to screen size or color scheme but if they are going to remain constant across the project they will be a LESS Variable. On naming, LESS

Variables are scoped per group (colors, typography), then separated by __ to indicate its meaning and they can be followed by -- in case the variable is a variant or belongs to an specific usage.

If names are composed by more than one word a single hyphen is used as separation.

Type scale

All font sizes are a close match to the Major Second Scale, with some little exceptions, like page dates or elements with monospace fonts. This rule applies for desktop sizes, for mobile they are adapted but not caring much about the scale proportions.

The initial position in the scale is 0 at 18px and each font size rule has a comment on its side with the equivalent value in pixels and position in the scale. When the font size is proximate to a position in the scale but not exact the ~ character is used to signal the closest position.

I checked type-scale.com a lot, to figure out these numbers.

JavaScript bundling

This projects uses rollup to bundle of the different scripts in the project.

The inlined bits of JavaScript which need to be executed before the page renders go to a partial in _includes/generated/scripts so they are embed directly in the HTML as part of the template of the page. It's important for those scripts to pass through the same scrutinity and processes, like code formatting and minification.

Other parts end as normal scripts exported to the assets folder, they are places in the head tag using the defer attribute, as they shouldn't be a blocker for the user to have a good experience while using this site.

At the moment the little bit of JavaScript in this site is not transpiled, as this project only supports latest versions of browsers.

Favicons

To generate favicons the main source is the favicon.png file and the script in .scripts folder. The script outputs both the assets and the markup needed for them as a partial in the _includes/generated folder, automating the whoe assets generation step.

Fonts

This project is currently using Inter by Rasmus Andersson. All font files are self-hosted, this move required to optimize font delivery even further as before it was relying on Google Fonts to do so.

Fonts are stored as .ttf files, they get subsetted using fonttools and compressed to .woff and .woff2 formats. The strategy reduces drastically font files content such as unused layout features or characters this site does not use.

To avoid flash of unstyled content, they are preloaded and font face rules are inlined in the head using font-display to keep text visible as font files load.

At the moment, font subsetting needs to be done manually and pushed to the repository.

Development

When the serve command is running, first a full build takes place to make sure no assets are missing. Second, a Browsersync server starts and finally the same server watches styles, scripts and content files to reload an updated version of the site.

Deployment

When a build happens in Netlify, a script named npm run relase takes place.

The release script first runs npm run assets to generate and copy all files including styles partials, scripts, fonts, images and favicon related files. Then, it triggers an Eleventy build.

As a post validation happens (at the moment the only one), a script checks if the feed generated is valid. In the future this step might absorb other responsibilities, as checking broken links or visual testing for example.

License

This site design and content is licensed under Apache License 2.0.

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