Retrospective: 2021

Reflections on some of the items discussed here in the outgoing year.


Here’s my annual summary of the outgoing year’s posts. Please note that I’m handling this edition quite differently from how I reflected back on my writings of 2019 and 2020. Since this year is when I first began linking an HTML sitemap1 from the bottom of each page, I’ll spare you the post-by-post description given by the previous year-enders and, instead, give you a more general look at some of my over-arching topics for 2021.

It probably wouldn’t surprise even a more casual reader of my site that my two favorite static site generators (SSGs), Eleventy and Hugo, got a lot of my mentions during 2021 — as I suspect they will in 2022 — but they were mainly background players for the primary topics, one of which was the ongoing evolution of site-hosting platforms for static websites. In January, I first talked about a subject on which I’d touch quite often as the year evolved: Cloudflare Pages (CFP). At that time, this platform was still in beta, and felt like it, but I had little doubt CFP was going to be important. Although it was glitchy through much of the year, as I griped in October while comparing it to Vercel, CFP now seems poised to emerge from a lot of that, soon, thanks to some currently-in-beta fixes (noted earlier this week). By year’s end, CFP had succeeded Vercel as this site’s default venue, roughly a year-and-a-half after Vercel did the same to Netlify.

I spent a good deal of time in 2021’s posts talking about CSS in general and, in particular, the increasingly popular Tailwind CSS styling framework, which began the year still in Version 1.x. My first stab at Tailwind in 2021 was a February explanation of how to insert it into a Hugo site’s head. I followed that up with a March piece about how to do the same for an Eleventy site. But, by then, the Tailwind team had shocked the web development world by introducing, as chronicled here, the Just-in-Time (JIT) engine that was an opt-in feature of Version 2.x and, by year’s end, an opt-out feature of Version 3.x. One thing Tailwind’s JIT did not make easier was using Tailwind with Hugo, which I covered to some extent here and there throughout the year. While I attempted to help that with November’s “Making Tailwind JIT work with Hugo” — obviously based on numerous others’ smart work over previous months — the basic Tailwind JIT/Hugo conundrum remains something that eventually will be best solved by the Hugo team itself.

All that Tailwind stuff aside, good ol’ Sass is still a major player in the webpage-styling biz, as I wrote back in April. In fact, given the ongoing quirky relationship between Tailwind and Hugo, I’ve reverted to using Sass to style this site whenever it lives in a Hugo project.

Concerning the more wide-ranging topic of front-end development, I also spent some time using the Vite tool in conjunction with Eleventy, although I soon reverted to my non-Vite method after encountering a few nits. I think those may soon be resolved by the intriguing Slinkity project about which I first wrote in October. I’d earlier been interested in the Astro project, which is still attracting a great deal of dev community love; but I decided later to wait until it’s more mature before I try anything major with it.

Also on the front-end front (?):

The subject of one’s personal cybersecurity occupied me quite a bit in mid-2021, manifesting itself in “Two paths to password management,” “1Password hits the fan,” and “Taming time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs).” I hope they convinced any doubters or procrastinators that we all should aggressively manage the passwords on which our online activities depend.

The year also saw a number of entries in two ongoing series of short takes on multiple subjects: “Mixed nuts,” the longer-running of the two, with observations on pretty much whatever may pique my interest at any time; and “Gems in the rough,” whose content is more firmly tech-related. And, of course, there was the annual “Curmudgeonish thoughts” offering in November.

On the personal front in 2021, many of the year’s events for my family and me were sad ones — death-related — about which I chose (and choose) not to write here. However, happily, we also witnessed the beginning of a new life with the August birth of grandchild #2. Then, the following month, I retired after ’way too many years in the workplace.

I thank you, as always, for your comments and observations, as well as your valuable time and attention. May your 2022 be outstanding, and I hope you’ll find time during it to stop by here and see what’s up. I will try, also as always, to make such visits worth your while.

  1. That sitemap is derived automatically with code I first described in last May’s “Help your website get discovered.” ↩︎