Back during some of the anti-war activities of the 1960s, detractors of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s policies in Vietnam would chant or sing this about him, borrowing from a protest song by activist/musician Pete Seeger:
We’re waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.1
This entire, cursed year of 2020 has felt like the Biggest Muddy of all.
Let’s hope that, a year from now, we don’t look back on 2021 and say it was merely a continuation of the agonizing 2020. The result of the world’s efforts to limit or end the COVID-19 pandemic could be the primary determinant thereof, but there are other dark clouds out there through which we’ll need to navigate.
And, with those cheery thoughts, I segue to offering you a review of this site’s posts for 2020 — or, if you will, what this big fool was saying while we all tried to get to the point where we are now, which is, finally, through this particular Big Muddy.
- Two cheers for Tailwind — Got my first taste of Tailwind CSS and didn’t care much for it. Changed my mind a few months later, though.
- Streamers’ party — Finally gave up cable TV and became a cord-cutter after finding a way to do so without antagonizing my tech-phobic spouse.
- So much for heroes — Gave up on “hero images” for a while, after thrashing around with the bizarreness of web images. Would later relent after I realized I missed those big pretty pictures.
- Mixed nuts • February, 2020 — This was the second in what has become a series of even more random observations than I usually spew.
- YouTube TV and the RSNs flap — Discussed a growing dilemma within pro sports. (Of course, within a couple of weeks, I saw that pro sports was going to have a lot more to worry about in 2020.)
- Welcome, sweet little early bird — Your faithful correspondent’s first grandchild arrived.
- Some Sirius(XM) thoughts — After a new vehicle purchase presented my first-ever access to satellite radio, I pondered the pros and cons thereof.
- Coherence and COVID-19 — Offered my early thoughts as the COVID-19 menace took over the world’s attention, damaged its economy, and altered my own daily existence.
.11ty.js) templating in the Eleventy static site generator (SSG) about which I’d write so frequently in the succeeding months. I’d soon give that templating another shot, with greater success.
- Different modes for different code — Described the first of what became multiple efforts to help others get a better feel for how SSGs work.
- Murdered darlings — Temporarily gave up on the novel I’ve been trying to write since 2017 (and, with it, the Ulysses writing app).
- Webmentions in three SSGs — Did a five-part series on how to include webmentions in one’s website. Part 1 was the intro; Part 2 explained how to add webmentions to an Eleventy site; Part 3, same for a Hugo site; Part 4, same for a Gatsby site; and Part 5 wrapped it up with a bibliography of all the great articles on which I’d relied in writing the series.
- Going solo with Eleventy — Decided that my site didn’t need webpack, after all, despite what I’d written the previous December, and switched to a setup that was much simpler to maintain but also once again included Tailwind CSS.
- Battle of the iOS email heavyweights — Reviewed the AltaMail and Preside iOS email client apps, sort of following up on my 2019 drive-by of the incredibly full-featured MailMate email client app for macOS.
- Mixed nuts • May, 2020 — And the random takes just kept on coming.
- A thousand words, indeed — Wherein I brought back those “hero images” I’d bleep-canned back in February, and explained why.
- Why I kept Ulysses — Following up on “Murdered darlings,” I explained why I not only wasn’t giving up on Ulysses but also wasn’t deep-sixing the attempt at a novel.
- Fathom Analytics: Count on it — Dumped other website analytics products in favor of what I’d found to be the cream of the crop (affiliate link) where respecting the privacy of one’s visitors is concerned.
- O say can you CI/CD? — Provided ways for Netlify users (at that time, I was one of ’em) to get around the 300-minute monthly build limit on that web host’s free tier.
- Goodbye and hello — Examined the merits of several SSG-friendly hosts’ free tiers and moved the site to what I pronounced the top dog in that bunch, Vercel. However, as you’ll see, this was only the start of what I would subsequently call “the lurch” among various hosts.
- Stacks and stacks — Compared the site’s “tech stack” from exactly a year before with what it was using on the date I initially posted this.
- Mixed nuts • July, 2020 — Another installment of sort-of-short observations on this, that, and the other thing.
- Chasing 100: Tips for optimizing your website — Suggested performance-enhancement methods (I’ll forego the obvious snarky comment).
- Beginner’s luck — Continued trying to help SSG newbies (because I’d been one not so long ago), this time with starter sets for both Eleventy and Hugo.
- Transformed — Finally reached the end of my patience with locally managing/prrocessing site images and, instead, transferred that aggravation to Cloudinary (that’s an “invitation link,” as explained in an update to the article).
- Goodbye and hello • Part 2 — “Lurched” back to Netlify from Vercel. Briefly.
- Posting with Ulysses — Out of curiosity, went back for a while to Ulysses, rather than iA Writer, as the posting app of record.
- Google Fonts and privacy — Explained why using Google Fonts, if served by Google, violates the GDPR and, in general, disrespects the privacy of one’s visitors. Then, in a follow-up piece . . .
- Good stuff without Google — . . . I provided steps for obtaining Google Fonts and then providing them to your visitors without using Google’s servers.
- Freeing your folders — Shared a great tip I’d found about how Mac users could easily move items from Apple’s cloud storage.
- Goodbye and hello • Part 3 — Annnnnnd back to Vercel. Briefly.
- Mixed nuts • September, 2020 — Still more verbal meanderings.
- Goodbye and hello • Part 4 — Moved the site to Render. Briefly.
- Goodbye and hello • Part 5 — Ended my overt discussion of “the lurch” with a departure from Render after I saw I hadn’t quite done my homework.
- Two, but not terrible — Commemorated the site’s second birthday.
- A normal person’s guide to static websites — Reached out to non-geeks (i.e., people unlike Yours Truly) in the first of two articles; in this one, I explained static websites and SSGs themselves, after which . . .
- A normal person’s guide to static website hosting — . . . I offered opinions on the best places for a non-geek to place his/her static website if he/she did, indeed, decide to have one in the first place.
- Ignition sequence start — (Back to geekism for geekism’s sake.) Provided GitHub Actions for deploying a site to Firebase.
- Forward PaaS — Began trying out a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering from Cloudflare.
- Conversation piece — Reviewed some services with which a static website can provide commenting for its visitors.
- Curmudgeonish thoughts for 2020 — Provided my third annual rant about pet peeves. Yes, even in 2020.
- Mixed nuts • November, 2020 — Perhaps gave new meaning to the phrase various and sundry.
- Using PostCSS for cache-busting in Eleventy — Made what turned out to be the first of two tries to help Eleventy users with caching of their CSS files; soon had to give it another shot when I discovered glitchiness I’d missed the first time around.
- What Apple Silicon means for web developers — Suggested the early (and warranted) excitement over the new Macs didn’t quite yet point to nirvana for web devs.
- Fast but flawed — Tested two more static website hosting platforms and found that each has great performance but also (what I consider to be) a show-stopper.
- Cache-busting in Eleventy, take two — Tried to mea-culpa-ize my way out of the problem in “Using PostCSS for cache-busting in Eleventy” with a different solution, one based on bespoke code. When I got questions about the specifics, that led to . . .
- Hashing out a cache-busting fix for Eleventy — . . . wherein I went into more detail, including providing the code itself rather than just tossing off links about it.
- Gems in the rough — Passed along a few helpful (?) nuggets of info about managing a static website.
- Eleventy and Hugo: Comparing and contrasting — Suggested how one might choose between the two SSGs I’d previously recommended as “best-in-show.”
And that’s how we passed through 2020 in this site. Perhaps you found at least some of the articles helpful, enlightening, and/or even somewhat amusing, especially in these damnably difficult times in which we’re living.
Please accept my wishes that, for you and yours, 2021 will be a gigantic improvement over its universally despised predecessor. Stay safe, stay well, and — always — thank you for stopping by my little site.
“Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” by Pete Seeger. Lyrics © T.R.O., Inc. ↩︎