Front End - Frameworks and styles -
Gridsome - Static site generation
Gridsome is a static site generator that generates static html based on the presence of blog content - in my case markdown files. I have a folder called
blog/ to which I point my
gridsome.config file, and basically say "Generate a page per file in this per markdown file in this folder". This is valuable because every time I want to write a new post, I just write it and put it in the right place, and gridsome generates the file on next build.
I've used Gatsby in the past, which does the same thing that Gridsome does with React instead of Vue. I've found Gridsome to be considerably more straight forward.
HTML5up.net / Pixelarity
HTML5up and Pixelarity provide the same beautiful html/css layouts - one on a free license and one on a subscription basis without the free license requirements attached.
vue/react etc project.
My background is generated on svgbackgrounds.com, which has a fun and easy to use interface to generate fun custom backgrounds. The format is in SVG, which the browser natively compiles, so you end up with a code string to plug in as your background image, instead of an image file.
Their backgrounds are free, as long as you mention them on the site you on which you use it. There is also a premium plan, for premium backgrounds.
Hosting and Deployment -
Github is the world most popular place to store and collaborate on code. I won't go too deep into Github, but it allows me to save my code remotely, as well as provide other applications access to it.
Netlify is a wonderful magical service that builds and deploys code for you, for free. You give it permissions to your Github account and a branch of a specific repo , and it rebuilds your website every time your that branch has new code. By default it deploys to a unique_nonsense_string.netlify.com, but you can update the unique_nonsense_string to something more suitable. For example, this site is hosted at natespilmandotcom.netlify.com, with the DNS settings set to natespilman.com.
https://www.namecheap.com/ Namecheap is the domain provider through which I manage and purchase my domains.
Netlify CMS is a user friendly admin UI for creating new posts! I'm using it right now to write this. It's an open source gridsome plugin that you grant access to your github repo, and it commits new markdown files to your github repo on publish.