A stack of smooth stones on a beach near an ocean

Stacks and stacks

That was then, this is now

published:  July 5, 2020 utc
last modified: July 7, 2020 utc

Image: Willfried Wende; Pixabay

Thought I’d take this (U.S.) holiday weekend to do a brief comparison of this site’s current “tech stack” with what I was using a year ago today. Since the site wasn’t yet using package.json in 2019, this is a little trickier than it would be otherwise, but I appear to have it reconstructed.

So, for your geeky pleasure, here goes nothing.


Static site generator (SSG)

2019-07-05: Hugo 0.55.6. At the time, I thought I was about to chuck Hugo for Gatsby. Didn’t quite go that way. For full details on my oft-shifting SSG loyalties—the “Dance”—in the latter half of 2019 in particular, see my 2019 year-end wrap-up.

2020-07-05: Eleventy 0.11.0.

OSs used for local dev

2019-07-05: macOS. iOS would join the mix only a few days later, thanks to my adoption of the superb Working Copy.

2020-07-05: macOS, iOS.

Website host

2019-07-05: Netlify.

2020-07-05: Vercel. My most recent post explains the process that led me to Vercel, with the actual switchover occurring just this past week.

Repository in use

2019-07-05: hugo_site_css-grid.

2020-07-05: eleventy_solo.

Online repo host

2019-07-05: Bitbucket.

2020-07-05: GitHub.

Repo’s online status

2019-07-05: Private.

2020-07-05: Public.

Local repo management tools

2019-07-05: Sourcetree.

2020-07-05: Fork for macOS, Visual Studio Code, and—when the mood strikes me—just plain ol’ Git CLI commands in a terminal window.

Primary text editor for posts

2019-07-05: iA Writer.

2020-07-05: Same.

Primary text editor for coding and config

2019-07-05: Visual Studio Code.

2020-07-05: Same.

Primary local terminal apps

2019-07-05: macOS’s built-in Terminal app.

2020-07-05: iTerm2 and Visual Studio Code.

Domain registrar

2019-07-05: Namecheap.

2020-07-05: Google Domains.[1]

Total posts on site

2019-07-05: 21.

2020-07-05: 69 (as of this one).

Commenting platform

2019-07-05: Talkyard.

2020-07-05: Webmentions.

Normal build length (secs.)

2019-07-05: 10–20.

2020-07-05: 45–60. Please understand that the difference is mainly in how much image processing I’m now doing (see next three items). If I were doing an apples-to-apples comparison, bare-bones Hugo to bare-bones Eleventy, Hugo would still be faster but not by that much.

Build-time image processing

2019-07-05: None.

2020-07-05: imgxfm.js script, based on the Sharp library.

Serving responsive images?

2019-07-05: No.

2020-07-05: Yes.

Auto-serving multiple image formats?

(In other words, am I sending .webp to browsers that can handle it and .jpg and .png to those that can’t?)

2019-07-05: No.

2020-07-05: Yes.

Local image editors

2019-07-05: Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer.

2020-07-05: Same.

Site typography

2019-07-05: System “fonts.”

2020-07-05: Same. I did, however, spend about half of the year between these two configs using either (a.) “fonts” imported via the npm Typefaces package or (b.) Google Fonts-provided typefaces. I finally decided a couple of days ago to revert to only system “fonts” after tiring of trying to compensate for the minor, but notable, performance hits that the other typefaces’ delivery methods imposed.[2]

Support for dark mode?

2019-07-05: No.

2020-07-05: Yes. See also this post.

Official site grandchildren (OK, humor me)

2019-07-05: None.

2020-07-05: One.


  1. In fact, I started with Google Domains only in the last two weeks. I initiated the transfer of all my domains on June 22, and they’d moved successfully by June 28. (It takes a few days under ideal circumstances, folks, so don’t wait until the last minute if a change of registrars involves anything time-sensitive.) ↩︎

  2. I am aware there are ways to handle that, as Zach Leatherman explained so well in 2016, but he obviously is ’waaaay smarter than I am and I don’t have either the knowledge or guts to give the recommended methods a try. Maybe someday, but not now. ↩︎

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