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A new coat of paint for freek.dev

Original – by Freek Van der Herten – 4 minute read

It's funny that even something as simple as a blog app is never finished. One and a half years ago, I did a significant update my moving my blog from WordPress to a Laravel app. In August of last year, I also ditched my custom admin section in favor of Nova. Even though not that much time has passed, it was time for a refresh of the entire blog.

The past few weeks, I've been giving some love to my blog. Behind the scenes, I did a cleanup of the codebase (which you can see on GitHub. I've also moved the primary domain from murze.be to freek.dev. I reason that for most people it's easier to remember my first name, than my nickname.

Today, my blog has a new fresh design. Not surprisingly, this blog now uses v1 of Tailwind CSS This new design was made mainly by my colleague Seb who, as always, did an excellent job. Let's dive in some of the changes.

A new homepage

This is what the old homepage looked like:

Old homepage

And here's the new one:

New homepage

Instead of just listing links previously, the homepage now also shows excerpts, so you already know what sort of content you'll see after clicking the link.

Under the title, you can also clearly see what type of post it is. On my blog, there are three types of posts. An "original" is a post I've written myself, a "link" is a link to a post someone else wrote, and a "tweet" a tweet I found interesting enough to catalog on my blog (so I can easily search them).

Notice those colored horizontal lines above each post? That color is not random. It's red for a post concerning Laravel, blue for PHP posts, yellow for JavaScript related content, and grey for all other posts.

Publishing on social platforms

On my old blog, all content was cross-posted to Medium. Because most content is now behind a paywall at Medium, I've decided to nuke the Medium integration.

Still present is the Twitter integration. Whenever I post new content, it is also automatically tweeted. When publishing a "link" type article, the tweet was the title of the blog article put between quotes to indicate that I had not written it. I've changed that to include a fun ? emoji instead of the quotes. A small detail, I know.

A new speaker page

The past few years, I've given a lot of talks at various user groups and conferences across the globe. On the old blog you, hidden at the bottom of the about page, find a chronological list of all talks.

Old speaker page

On the new blog, this list has been moved to a brand new speaker page. The talks are now sorted according to the subject. On that page, you'll also find some videos of the talks I did and a bit of general info.

A new search page

All content on the blog is sent via Scout to Algolia for indexing. On the old blog, you could see a dry list of titles as search results.

Old search page

On the new blog search was moved to a dedicated page. The type of post and the publish date was added to the search results. A cool finished touch by Seb is that you can also use your arrow keys to navigate the search results. Pretty cool!

New search page

In closing: a trip down memory line

For fun, let' take a look at all the iterations of the blog starting from when I started it almost five years ago.

This was the first version:

First version

Around October 2016, I changed the WordPress theme.

Second version

About 1,5 years ago, I migrated from WordPress to Laravel and started using Tailwind.

Third version

And now this is the current homepage:

Current version

I hope you like the new design as much as I do!

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