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I rebuilt this blog with Tropical

This is the fourth incarnation of this blog. It started life as an ExpressionEngine experiment, then I jumped onto the static site bandwagon with Middleman before using Metalsmith to build something a little more bespoke.

Since then I've been poking away at Tropical, a little static site generator aimed at letting you use modern tools to build simple, old-fashioned websites.

I've used it on a few small greenfields projects, but this migration was a fun exercise in converting an existing project without making any visual changes.

Migrating the Markdown content

This was easy, the only thing I had to do was convert the existing YAML Front Matter to a plain old JavaScript export, thanks to MDX.

# Before
---
title: I rebuilt this blog with Tropical
date: 2020-08-05
collection: posts
---
// After
export const meta = {
title: 'I rebuilt this blog with Tropical',
date: '2020-08-05',
collection: 'posts'
}

Migrating HTML and CSS

This part took all of 20 minutes. The old blog had some bespoke EJS templates and pretty minimal CSS that were easy to build out in Storybook as React + Fela components.

The rest

Migrating an existing project helped surface some of Tropical's rough edges and missing pieces, which I've fixed up with a quick flurry of releases including:

…and a couple of other tweaks.

Deploying and hosting

I migrated the old version of the blog from my GitHub Pages + Cloudflare approach to Netlify a while ago and haven't looked back. I like Netlify so much I put a big one-click deploy button on the Tropical repo.