My previous personal site was built with Elixir and Phoenix. While I love the BEAM ecosystem, it didn’t really make much sense to host a completely static website on top of Phoenix (and pay for the associated server costs). I’m still very actively working with Phoenix, but for my personal little corner of the web, I wanted to go with something simpler.
Static site generation
After some quick contemplation, I picked Hugo. The primary motivator was that I knew I’d be running into Gatsby at work soon anyway. Choosing to not use Gatsby allows me to expand my experiences beyond what I use at work, which I believe is a great way to appreciate the tools one uses. I’ll be writing about this trail of thought more in the future. I’d suggest staying tuned, but you might be tuning in for quite some time :).
Having used Jekyll before, Hugo seems sort of familiar right off the gate. However, I wasn’t a big fan of the documentation and guides the Hugo site offered. I had to spend some time discovering the Hugo features and patterns by myself, as the documentation seemed more geared towards those users who had already familiarized themselves with the tool.
The site is hosted on GitHub Pages, which also seemed like the easiest way to achieve what I needed. Other noteworthy option would have been Netlify, and I don’t really see any particular reason why I wouldn’t use their service (aside from just happening to not pick them this time around).
Another piece of technology that I wanted to test out with this site is Plausible, a new privacy-friendly web analytics service. I didn’t want to bother with GDPR (privacy policies, cookie settings and all that), so Plausible was a natural choice. I’ve been a big user of Google Analytics at work, but as with the Hugo choice, I try my best to try new things when building stuff for fun. You can even find a link to this site’s public analytics at the bottom of this page.
Plausible doesn’t come with nearly as many features as Google Analytics does, but I wouldn’t really need those features on such a simple site anyway. Google Analytics does come with more privacy-friendly options nowadays (such as cookieless mode), but the data is still being hosted outside of EU. That might or might not be a problem due to the recent lapse of Privacy Shield, but having data hosted in the EU seems like the safer bet from a GDPR perspective.