Julien Moorat

First post

First post

3, 2, 1, liftoff! We have liftoff! 🚀

After nearly 2 years of procrastination, here it is finally!

My new website is online! 🎉

I have been wanting to build a new website and publish some blog articles for a while now, but I never really had the time (or took the time 😅) to do it. So I took advantage of some time off during my vacations to get down to it and publish a first version.

I’m planning to write articles mostly in English, but I might write some in French too. I will be writing mostly about tech stuff like web development, software engineering, DevOps, cloud, serverless, blockchain (yes seriously), etc. I might also write about other things like photography, music, movies, books, etc.

I’ve chosen to write in English mainly because I want to continue practicing (and improving) my English skills, this may also help me reach a wider audience. Since this will be a tech related blog, I think it makes sense to write in English (even if I am French 🇫🇷).

I already have some ideas for the first articles, so stay tuned! (I still need to write them, so it might take some time 😅). New article updates will be posted on Twitter and Mastodon for now. I might add a newsletter in the future if I feel like it is worth it.

I wanted to publish a first version of the website with the bare minimum to get started, so everything is far from being perfect and polished.

I will be adding more features as I go like :

  • Tags/categories
  • Dark mode (for the cool kids 😎)
  • RSS feed (for the old school kids 🧓)
  • Pagination
  • Search
  • Projects section
  • Comments (?)
  • MDX support (to include custom components in articles)
  • Table of contents
  • UI improvements
  • A photo gallery to host my best shots (sometimes I take good pictures, I swear, checkout my Instagram)
  • and whatever comes to my mind in th️e future 🤷

I want to keep the website as clean and simple (but not simplistic) as possible, so I will try to avoid adding too much fancy stuff. I am open to constructive and respectful feedback, so you can reach out to me on my socials or at contact@julienmoorat.fr.

I am a real fan of what Paul Stamatiou is doing with his personal website. I really like the impression of minimalism it gives, while still being very complete and polished. So I might take example from him for some future features/design stuff while adding my own personal touch (credits already goes to him for some little UI features around here 👀).

The technical part ⚒️

Some history

1 year ago, I started developing this new website using GatsbyJS but it quickly became overly complicated for what I wanted to do. It even stopped working for some obscure reason (maybe due to some Gatsby or Node update, we will never know). Back then, I clearly didn’t have the time to fix this mess, so I’ve just decided to put the project on hold.

1 year later (this month), I’ve decided to give it another try with something simpler without having to reinvent the wheel and deal with too much overhead (SPA stuff, React, GraphQL, etc.). I wanted to focus on the content and not the tech, but I still wanted to have a custom design and not use a pre-made theme.

I am suffering from FOBO (Fear Of Better Options, i’ll let you Google it) and I often spend too much time trying to figure out what is the best tech to use for my projects. Sometimes it is so harmful that I end up not doing anything at all. I’ve been trying to fight this for a while now and I think I am getting better at it.

I wanted to use something simple and straightforward to avoid too much friction and get started quickly. So I identified 2 main options:

The tech stack

Considering the options above, I quickly put aside the hosted solutions because I wanted to have more control over the website and I didn’t want to be locked in a specific platform. Ghost seemed to be the most interesting option to me, but latest versions shifted to a more subscription/newsletter/business creation model (like Substack and other similar platforms) and I didn’t want to deal with that. Pricing wasn’t very interesting either past the initial tier.

In the end I’ve decided to go the SSG path with Astro. UI has been handcrafted using TailwindCSS along with the Typography plugin to style articles and provide you with a relatively good reading experience.

I wanted to thank Armand and Thomas for recommending Astro. I didn’t know about it (just quickly heard about it on Twitter) and it’s been a pleasure to work with it so far.

After reading some docs from Hugo, Eleventy and Astro, I’ve decided to go with Astro because it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something simple, fast, easy to use and opinionated.

I quickly put Hugo aside because I didn’t want to deal with Go templates, this brought too much friction to me since I am not familiar with Go (sadly).

Eleventy seemed interesting but I didn’t like the way their documentation was written and I felt like it was a just giving too much flexibility. Not that it is a bad thing, but I wanted something more opinionated and straightforward with more built-in features. Astro is exactly that, it is actually quite similar to Eleventy but with a more opinionated approach.

On the hosting side, I’ve decided to keep what I already had for my previous website: AWS S3 (static files hosting) + Amazon Cloudfront (CDN). Updates are automatically deployed using GitHub Actions. I haven’t considered moving to another static website hosting service like Netlify or Cloudflare Pages, everything is working fine so far and I don’t see any reason to change that for now. I might take a look at it in the future.

That’s it for this first post, I hope you enjoyed it.

Stay tuned for next articles! 👋