What I learned from redesigning my blog

3/18/2020
#css, #html, #redesign

When I type blog redesign into Google I’ve got a lot of links why redesigning your blog can be a great idea for my business. They also are saying if we should have social media sharing buttons or not or if you need a free ebook to build connections.

My blog redesign was made out of selfish reasons - I want to learn something about CSS layout. Every version of my blog was using a template of some sort: At first, I’ve used starter gatsby then I used one by panr. (Awesome theme by the way!). It wasn’t anything wrong with them but I fell that I’m not learning anything from doing those redesigns.

What is more, I’ve recently completed What the Flexbox course and I wanted to try my new knowledge in practice.

But what is the best place to practice if not things that you actually use?

That is why I did small changes to how the blog looks.

At first, I was using Postcss with CSS modules. Really nice stuff but I do not need all those preprocessors? I was thinking about a new cool kid in the block - one of many CSS-in-JS libraries. But then I started thinking about what I really need from my CSS? I do not plan to have a dynamically changed theme - do I really need all those tools? That is why I picked the most basic of them all importing CSS from React files:

import '../styles/layout.css';

export const Layout: React.FunctionComponent = ({ children }) => {
  return <div>{children}</div>;
};

It works well for my case and I do not need external dependencies or libraries. Another approach that I’ve tried is to have minimal CSS and left the rest to default styles from the browser. I get this idea after seeing Web Design in 4 minutes.

In my CSS I mostly do some layouts in a flexbox (so I can practice it), centering and setting fonts.

What I learned?

I’ve learned about attribute selectors from this Frontend Masters course. The idea is as follows - I select all a tags that have a target other than my domain & add ↗️ to the end link description:

a[href^="http://"]:not([href*="krzysztofzuraw.com"]):after,
a[href^="https://"]:not([href*="krzysztofzuraw.com"]):after {
  content: ' ↗️';
}

Currently, there is a trend in web development to have both white & black themes. I decided to have them too. For that reason I’ve used CSS variables:

:root {
  --textColor: #555;
  --headerColor: #333;
  --backgroundColor: #fff;
  --linkColor: #4299e1;
}

By default, they are for the white theme but I’m using prefers-color-scheme media query:

@media (prefers-color-scheme: dark) {
  :root {
    --textColor: #f8f8f2;
    --headerColor: #bd93f9;
    --backgroundColor: #282a36;
    --linkColor: #8be9fd;
  }
}

Where I’m doing override those colors to Dracula Theme one.

I’ve changed the layout of my blog to use flexbox and it currently works fine. This was the first example outside of course where I could try laying out elements on the page using flexbox. I have experience with flexbox before but it was mostly to center elements inside some container.

I’ve also removed google analytics script & discuss comments. I’ve created a small form (you can see it at the end of this post) to see if my readers actually want comments on my blog. I will see what are results in the following weeks.

Summary

I’ve changed my blog layout to use flexbox and I’ve learned about CSS variables as well as prefers-color-schema.

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