Tiny websites are great

May 18th 2020

One of the earliest websites I created was a phishing website to steal World of Warcraft usernames and passwords. Although not the most noble pursuit for a first website, I felt like a pretty cool 12 year old when I managed to successfully nab my friend's login details, and then proceed to send him a screenshot of his character waving back at him. It was fun.

Like many, coding websites started out as a hobby, and after many years plus a CS degree has become a way I can make some income. It's pretty great on the whole.

Things have really changed since I began learning, and rightly so. Instead of coding in plain HTML, CSS and JS, I'm now using endless frameworks, modules and libraries to build increasingly more complex web and mobile applications. It's great, if I didn't use these tools my code would be an unmaintainable mess.

But, its also not great.

During my time using frameworks I've become more and more out of touch with the code I'm writing. For example, when I plonk down a button in the Ionic Framework I get a beautifully engineered and designed button, but it also has 10 CSS classes attached to it that I don't really understand. I sometimes feel like the thing I've created isn't truly "mine".

I therefore decided to go back to the basics and code my own tiny website. I already knew how to go about it, you probably do too, it's really easy (if you don't know here's how). However, I'd never actually done it, and I'd not made a website without a framework in over a decade.

Boy, did it feel refreshing to not use a framework.

The result is a stripped-back, ultrafast website like the one you see here. Every part of the website is mine. I can tweak & tune it however I want. Pushing out content is easy because I'm not distracted by styling or how it looks on different devices - I just don't really care and it's liberating. It's also just incredibly fun to build.

I have 3 rules for a tiny website:

  1. No libraries or frameworks (the exception being analytics)
  2. As few CSS tweaks as possible
  3. It must be fun to build

This is not groundbreaking stuff, but I urge you to try and make one yourself. Use it to write, experiment, journal, blog, or whatever floats your boat. It's your little corner of the internet to do as you please with.