I spent over a month working on Smix Eleventy Starter, with help from some friends as well (Arpit, Darek). I greatly reduced the dependencies and defaulted to a lot of core functionality with Eleventy and TailwindCSS that perhaps wasn’t as refined in 2019 as it is now.
For context, I had moved 80% of my knowledge and workflow and ideas from my own Eleventy static site in 2019… to Smix. I repeated that process now — this time keeping my own future needs in mind and building for that first — trying to reduce complexity. This time, Smix was to act as the foundation, rather than a feeder target from my site.
Fixing content and being back on Eleventy.
Then, I spent a bunch of time working on ﬁxing the posts that Jekyll Exporter dished out. Took me a long time, even with the help of RegEx-based search and replace. Just making sure every post going back 7 years was good was a task. I’ve combed through it all. Going back to WordPress feels a little stupid right now.
I like how the new site looks. It’s lean, fast, and personalized. At the expense of my publishing experience — it’s so awful after having got used to WP over the last year or so. I just do not feel like writing anything.
Both “systems” have their downsides, of course.
For example, with WordPress, I had a bunch of plugins to disable functionality like its API, XML-RPC endpoints, comments, and so on.
With Eleventy, not only is the publishing process awful, so are the build times on Vercel — 5 to 7 minutes — which is largely down to eleventy-img.
I want to work on smix-kit to make some things easy, but is it really worth it? I might be looking at a non-WordPress CMS in the long term, but hosting it is going to be an issue. After all, a huge reason for moving to a static site was surrendering my self-hosting VPS and saving some coins.
I’m open to (serious) recommendations. Don’t send me one just because it works for you. Please take a minute to think about my priorities and if what you like & prefer ﬁts me:
- Easy and total theming (control over templates and styles) without breaking away from upstream/updates.
- Using the latest CSS standards and features (PostCSS).
- Manage media easily, including being able to crop and add simple effects to photos.
- Publish using a web user interface. Markdown is welcome.
- Built-in support for an RSS/Atom feed.
- Well-maintained with a good outlook for a few years minimum.
- Free or costs up to $50 one-time.
KirbyCMS (Andy Bell is a big fan) seems interesting though it seems like it will be a lot of work on top of paying about $70. I’m also not sure how stable its plugin ecosystem is. Similarly, OctoberCMS, based on Laravel, seems interesting but so. much. work.
CraftCMS looks like it could ﬁt the bill the most.
Any CMS leaves me open to the same issue again: hosting costs.
It’s no wonder people run to hosted, managed, and free solutions like Substack, Medium, and Twitter threads.
Post cover photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash.