Trying something different
Building this website was an opportunity for me to try something totally outside of my comfort zone. I could have easily decided to go the WordPress + paid theme route, but this project gave me the opportunity to build a website from the ground up: data, styling, scripting, and all.
One thing I made sure of was to be economical about my decisions. For instance, you'll notice that my background and thumbnail images have pretty limited dimensions (usually around 500 pixels wide). They scale up beautifully because the blurring is used to their advantage. Also, no jQuery, thanks! The only scripts that I didn't write were from Flask, MongoDB, and Velocity.js (for animations).
Update: seems like my persistent bias towards simplicity is well-founded. Check out this dude's rant.
Setting up Flask and MongoDB were pretty straightforward, and the CSS wasn't an issue either. But what I didn't expect was how difficult it would be to work with AJAX. I was able to figure it out, but I now know why so many web developers don't work with it: it can be an unnecessary burden that yields marginal benefits.
What I built this site on:
- Python Flask
- Velocity.js (for transitions)
- A Digital Ocean instance (I'm a cheapo student)
- Google's Roboto typeface
- Material Design icons (thanks, Google!)
I've shamelessly taken inspiration from Bien Studio's incredible concept. Of course, I had to read up a little bit on Material Design, but I must admit that my final product probably does not conform to the design guidelines as closely as one might like it to. If anybody wants to help, I'm all up for pull requests :)