One of my goals with this site was to use it as an opportunity to learn and try out new things. That’s why I decided to build it with Kirby, a small CMS written in PHP that uses static text files instead of a database. I work with Wordpress quite a lot and Kirby’s no-database design intrigued me. My use-case was simple, all I needed was a blog, a portfolio and a few pages. There would only be one writer. I was liked Kirby’s solution for templating. Instead of using yet another tempting language Kirby just uses straight PHP. So when you’re building Kirby templates you’re also learning a transferable skill. Kirby looked like a perfect fit.
Installing Kirby is refreshingly easy. All you do is download the files, put them on a web server running PHP and navigate to the site. That’s it. That could be locally on something like MAMP or on pretty much any web host out there. I already had some cheap shared web hosting I used for this site but at some stage I may switch over to a more modern host like Digital Ocean, who I’ve started using on some projects. They’re very affordable and give you the power and control having your own virtual server offers.
Kirby is a very flexible little CMS that tries not to make too many assumptions about your content. That said, setting up Kirby to serve a blog does take a little bit more work than something like Wordpress which is designed out of the box for that purpose. There is a very good guide on Kirby’s site on how to setup a blog. I’ll probably go into more detail about my experiences with Kirby in future posts.
Another new tool I used was the Skeleton CSS framework. I’ve been using Bootstrap for years and thought I give another, smaller, framework a try. All I really wanted was a responsive grid and some basic boilerplate styles that allowed me get off the ground quickly. Skeleton provided exactly that. So far its been pretty successful and I could see myself using Skeleton again.