A Fresh Start

Saturday, 08 July 2017

After nearly 6 years, I thought it was about time to finally update my website, and that came with a decision to make:

Keep my custom build .Net CMS, and just update the styling?

When I last launched my site, I did so using a custom CMS that I had build using .Net. Now I could just update the styling, and keep the same CMS, however, it is build in a language that I no longer use anymore, and probably overkill for what I actually need.

Also, now that I program in PHP, and made the switch a few years ago to a Mac, it means that I dont have a windows computer anymore should I need to make any changes to the functionality.

To start with, this wouldn't be an issue, as the CMS was quite extensive, but at some point it would start being more of a hindrance.

Start from scratch using PHP?

Starting with a clean slate would mean that I can make the site exactly how I want, without having to work around a system that I couldn't really update anymore.

But this comes with its own set of complications, for one, you are stating from scratch so have to build everything all over again. Now this is a big deal, as having a full time job and a family limits the time I could put into building a system from scratch.

This alone has been one of the main reasons it has taken me so long to do this. I have been looking over the years at numerous different open source CMS systems [including OctoberCMS, AsgardCMS, Bolt, and many more], that would make this transition easier, but none of them quite offered the flexibility (in terms of content creation) that my current CMS allowed for.

Then I cam across Jigsaw, a Static Site Generator, that made some Laravel tools (such as blade) available, and building a static site, meant that I can be as bespoke with the content as I need to be.

Now I could have just built a simple CMS using Laravel, but there are things I would rather be building than another CMS, and I would only ever be adding content using my laptop, meaning that I didnt actually need a CMS or a database (using a static site generator meant that Git has become my database).

Goodbye Old Content Now that I had decided on starting from scratch with the build, I also had to decide which (if any) content from my old site I wanted to keep. The answer was not much. My old site was put up as a portfolio when I was looking for a new job, and as such was focused that way.

Given that most of the sites that I had in my portfolio have since been redeveloped or gone offline, I decided to switch the focus of my site to be more of blog. My old site did have a blog feature, but I had really neglected it, and there was nothing worth keeping, so here we are, a fresh start.