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Exciting Changes to the Website

I’m thrilled to announce that my website has undergone some exciting new changes! I’ve updated it to have a new design, a new tech stack, and revamped old features and added some new ones, I hope you will enjoy.

My new design boasts a modern and sleek grid layout, with subtle gradients that give a sense of depth and dimensionality. I’ve also, for launch, decided to go with a dark mode only approach, which not only looks great but is also easier on the eyes for us night owls.

To further enhance the user experience, there’s some animations and micro interactions dotted around that bring the site to life.

The previous iteration was very static by design but for 2023 we’re dynamic.

I completely overhauled the tech stack, moving to the new Next 13 app directory (beta) and implementing React server components (RSC). Previously, the site with built on Astro 1. Astro is fantastic and I think it’s the best choice for a static site in 2023 but wanted to learn the new app directory and RSC introduced with Next 13. This new tech stack has allowed me to get more creative with the site and build in some cool details without thinking about client-side performance.

I know you love my blog, right? You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t at least mildly interested 😛. I’ve made some notable additions and improvements to make it even better.

I have added pagination for the blog archive, making it easier to navigate through my collection of articles, before it was just a long list as I never got around to figuring out pagination in Astro and Sanity. I have also added tags to blog posts, allowing you to quickly find articles on related topics.

In addition, I have introduced “series” for blog posts, linking related posts together to provide a more comprehensive reading experience. If I follow-up on a post or have a part 2 they can linked together for easy reading or sharing. I have also added a "Next Post" card at the bottom of each article, allowing you to easily continue reading. The next post is a random post that isn’t the current post.

I have also added monthly and annual archives, making it easier to find articles by date for example all my 2023 posts. And, to give you a way to show your appreciation, I have included a "Like" button on each article.

Last but certainly not least, I have added a brand new activity page. This new section is just a bit of fun for me. It keeps track of my health and entertainment data.

At the moment, I have integrated with Spotify, Audible and my Apple Watch. Spotify shows now playing, Audible my latest read (listen) and Apple Watch my heart rate and distance moved.

The Spotify integration is client-side so it’s live data showing the now playing track, if I’m currently listening on Spotify. I moved from Apple Music just to use the API. The other widgets are server components so the data is fetched on server upon request. I’ll got into more detail on these integrations in another post as I’ll note only Spotify have an API.

And, because why not, we have a widget that displays some of my favourite childhood Pokemon including the in-game font on hover.

I’m really pleased with the 2023 update to the website. I think this is the 5th version of the site since launch in 2020. It’s definitely the best, most feature complete and user friendly incarnation yet. Thank you for your continued support, and happy browsing!

Stay tuned for the next one, in which I’ll get more technical regarding this update.

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