The Minimalist zacvineyard.com

November 29, 2017

Welcome to the new zacvineyard.com. With this redesign, I undertook a simple challenge: design a website with minimalism at its core. Utilitarianism and brevity ruled. Everything on the site has purpose or risks being thrown out. Every part is minified, optimized, and ready for speed. There are few layers of abstraction, no advanced services, and everything is wicked fast.

Here's where it started. I watched The Minimalists with my wife a few weeks ago. Since then, we've been throwing useless material items out of our lives for good. Along the way, I wondered if I could apply some of the same ideas to a website. How much do we really need to have a good web experience? Could this minimalism really be a large benefit to the user, wherein being simple is better for all parties involved? That's what's lead me to the following process for creating a minimalist site.

Here are the key methods behind how I've made this site small, fast, minified, etc. First, I use a small amount of PHP to make the site dynamic. I literally only use one PHP library to make this all work: Parsedown. My PHP just scans a directory for flat markdown files and serves them at a dynamic URL. That's it. I use PHP's ob_start() function, as described by Philipe Rubio on Coderwall, to minify the HTML. I also use a custom Webpack script, as described by Jeffrey Way on Laracasts, to compile and minify my SCSS to CSS.

There are, of course, more ways I can make this site faster, smaller, and more expressive (gzip and images, among other things). And I'll be working on that in the weeks to come.