Yet Another Website Redesign

I’ve posted three blog posts on this site since the last redesign, which is not a good post-to-redesign ratio. That didn’t stop me from replacing a design I was happy with with one that I’m slightly more happy with after just a year.

I should write more. But for now, let’s take a look at the redesign.

Given that we’ve entered a new era for WordPress themes, you might expect this redesign to be built as a block theme. It isn’t. Most of the design could be recreated as a block theme, but block themes are still pretty finicky when it comes to the finer details – especially on small screens. Maybe we’ll get there by spring 2023. The spring 2022 redesign is still a classic WordPress theme built with PHP and CSS.

What it isn’t built with is JavaScript. The previous version of this site ditched jQuery for vanilla JavaScript, which was long overdue, and this refresh takes it a step further by ditching JavaScript entirely. Nothing but old-fashioned HTML and CSS. Making this site as small as possible has become a bit of an obsession, and removing the JavaScript enqueues felt sooo good. Highly recommended.

I’ve also indulged in bleeding edge CSS features, including Grid Layout, CSS variables, dynamic viewport units, gap, aspect-ratio, clamp(), scroll-behavior, and more fun stuff. Thanks in part to the new CSS features, the footprint of the CSS file has been reduced by about one third from the previous version.

The obvious next step to reduce page weight even further would be to switch to a stack of system fonts, but I’m much too fond of Söhne by Klim Type Foundry to go through with that.

So what else is new? I’m still living in Stockholm, still working as a freelancer, and still updating my WordPress themes every now and then. They’re getting very close to four million downloads now, which is completely nuts to me. I remember when the counter hit 200,000, back in 2015-2016. That seemed like an impossibly large number at the time.

I don’t have any new themes in the pipeline right now. Block themes are getting better with every Gutenberg release, but to me, they’re not as fun to design and build as classic themes. Classic themes are more flexible for the developer at the cost of flexibility for the users, while block themes are less flexible for the developer but more flexible for the users. I miss the flexibility of building classic themes. That probably makes me a selfish developer.

Hiking season has started, and I’m looking forward to spending a large part of the next four months in the Swedish forests and mountains. None of the adventures will be as large as my King’s Trail hike from last year, but there will be more of them. You can follow along on my Instagram if you’re interested.