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Cranking My Website Up to Eleventy

At about the same time I started a design refresh on this website, Zach Leatherman launched WebC, it's a small compiler used to author websites with single file components. I'd been feeling NPM-dependency-hell-burnout lately and was looking for a way to simplify my website's tech stack and return to good 'ol plain HTML & CSS; Eleventy paired with WebC felt like just enough abstraction without straying to far away from the web platform. So I did what many (all?) developers do with their personal site: I went all-in, scrapped everything, and rebuilt it all from scratch. I cranked my website up to Eleventy!

The "up to eleven" volume knobs from the film This Is Spinal Tap
The numbers all go to eleven...It's not ten. You see, most blokes will be playing at ten.

Eleventy is fast and light #

Eleventy has a small footprint, currently the node_modules folder for this website, including four plugins, totals 34MB. Before now I wasn't convinced a Node project could be that small. In comparison, the node_modules for my old Jigsaw-powered blog weighed in at 190MB. Similarly, Next.js and Gatsby base installs start at a chonky 230MB and 368MB respectively.

While getting up and going with Eleventy is fast, (you only need an index.html file to start) it's build time is also among the fastest. Recent benchmarks show that it outperforms most other static site generators when transforming markdown files into HTML.

Organize code with WebC #

WebC provides is a simple way to co-locate your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Here's an abbreviated example of the intro component that appears on my new homepage:

<img src="/img/christian-taylor.jpg" alt="Christian Taylor's mug shot" width="64" height="64">
<h1>Christian Taylor</h1>
<p>Co-Founder of Moonbase Labs</p>
<p>I’m a full stack developer...</p>

<style webc:scoped>
:host {
display: block;
padding-block: 2.5vh;
:host figure {
display: flex;
align-items: center;
gap: 1rem;
:host img {
border-radius: 100%;

Notice the webc:scoped attribute on the <style> tag, it instructs the WebC parser to replace :host with a randomly generated CSS class so that all the styles are scoped to only the elements within the component.

As another bonus, all of the <style> and <script> tags in all of the components on the page are bundled, minified, and injected right into the <head> of the page, so your website is optimized with critical CSS out of the box.

View the source #

You can view all the source code for this site on GitHub.


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