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Weeknotes #22: swapping out Jekyll for Eleventy

Draft Jam

I’ve been thinking about a project modeled after game jams, which is where developers build a game from scratch on a compressed timeline (e.g. a couple days). I thought it would be neat to devote one Saturday, every other month, to turning blog post drafts into published posts. I’m tabling this idea for now because:

  1. I know at some point I’m going to get cranky about setting aside Saturdays to run the project. I wish that weren’t the case, but it is.
  2. The project as currently designed doesn’t really encourage the creation of writing habits.

There is still something to explore here, some community to build around sharing through writing. Maybe that’s getting together an in-person writing crew on regular weekday mornings. Maybe that’s simply a hash tag where folks can share what they’re writing, find peer reviewers, and encourage each other. I’ll keep this idea simmering on the back burner.

Converting my site from Jekyll to Eleventy

This time of year, I tend to be in the mood to redesign my website, which leads to plenty of unnecessary emotional suffering. This year I plan to keep the base theme generally in tact, but make some improvements on top of it: a nicer landing page, add back a projects section, updates to the blog index and info page, some readability things on blog posts.

January 2nd, I cracked open Windows Terminal and found that my Ruby gems had gotten into a funky state on WSL 2. I did what any enterprising developer would do: rewrite the site on a new tech stack. 😂

In all seriousness, I’ve wanted to play around with Eleventy, and am kind of fed up with taking an [albeit mild] dependency on a language I don’t really know and am not currently motivated to learn better (Ruby). So this was a good opportunity to try out a Node-based static site generator.

Y’all…Eleventy is FAST. I am so in love with how quickly builds compile. Eleventy can handle a bunch of different templating languages, so most things were fairly trivial to port over. I had to rewrite a shortcode, change some minor syntax things, and install some additional Markdown plugins, but with the exception of fun with dates, as per usual things have gone pretty smoothly. After adding RSS, Webmentions, and doing a bit of file cleanup, I’ll be able to deploy the new Eleventy version on Netlify and…work on changes that will actually be observable to users.

Hindi learning

(Hindi learning is a seasonal goal) This week, I got to the first checkpoint in Duolingo, which covers Devanāgarī characters and a couple basic words. I’m going to go back over this first set of lessons several times, to set a good foundation for the rest of the course. I actually completely reset the course because I found discerning the difference between the syllables to be challenging. Reading this article on the script a couple weeks ago actually helped a lot.


Humanity can’t catch a break in 2020, apparently: two days into the year and we already have natural and man-made disasters on our hands. For the wildfires in Australia, this article provides context and action items and there is a Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities.


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