Welcome to my new portfolio site!

Alyssa Rock — Tech writer. OSS community manager. DocOps enthusiast.
Mar 3, 2024, updated Mar 11, 2024 4 min read

I’m happy to welcome you to my new portfolio website! This site is coded from scratch in Hugo. The design of the site is 100% my own (except for the blog theme) and I coded all the CSS/SCSS myself.

Perhaps I should jokingly refer to this site as my “baby,” because it took me about 9 months to complete:

  • The first trimester was spent learning about Hugo and building out the basic structure and theme of the site.
  • The second trimester was spent creating the initial copy and content for the site, including porting over my old blog entries and creating the initial graphic design. (Not to mention getting new professional headshots!)
  • The last trimester was spent making the graphic design mobile-friendly and cleaning up my code to make it more elegant and maintainable, which also included converting all the CSS to SCSS (SASS).

Why I chose Hugo

My old portfolio site used a theme I purchased for Wordpress. It had all the basics that I needed, but it had a few quirks in how it displayed and organized the content that I wasn’t in love with. It felt like it didn’t do a good job with the one thing I needed it to really do well: show off my writing samples.

But the real reason I decided to convert the site to Hugo was to help me really understand Hugo more deeply. I had a few good reasons to learn it in more depth:

  • It was the web technology we were using at The Good Docs Project and I wanted to be able to contribute to our website more directly. (We’re actually moving to Sveltekit now, but oh well!)
  • An emergency situation last year forced the Salt Project (where I work) to immediately shut down our Wordpress site and convert everything immediately over to a new web tech stack. Leaving Wordpress meant we’d be in charge of doing our own web development. My team decided to convert to Hugo since I had some prior experience working with it and because Hugo is used by a lot of other open source projects at our company.

I used this site as an opportunity to experiment with things I needed to learn and develop in Hugo for my employer’s open source project. It’s been a great playground project and I’ve learned a lot. I often bring things I develop here on this site back to my employer and vice versa.

At work, we’ve found that our load speeds are significantly faster with Hugo, which dramatically increased traffic to our site. The development team also prefers using Git to collaborate on the site because they are very comfortable using Git and docs-as-code workflows to review site content before publication.

For my part, I personally haven’t found Hugo too difficult to learn, but I have been lucky in that I have some true Hugo experts and front-end developers in my life that I can learn a lot from. (Thank you, Chris and Bryan!) I do feel the Hugo documentation is quite difficult to use and would love to help them improve it if I can find the time.

The community manager I work with at Salt Project was very nervous about learning Git and working in a docs-as-code format with the new website. But I was able to train him about how to contribute to the site within a week. He actually found it very empowering to work in Git and Hugo.

All in all, we’re glad we made the switch at Salt Project and I’m glad I switched my portfolio site as well!

What’s next for my site

I’m hoping to keep working regularly on this site and continue using it as a sandbox to keep my skills fresh and continue improving:

  • I would love to learn more about graphic design for the web and improve the visual effectiveness of the site.
  • I also want to learn more about Javascript and begin introducing some minor interactivity into the site.
  • Lastly, I’m hoping this site will inspire me to reflect more on my experiences in open source and technical writing and write a few more blog entries to share what I’ve learned with others.

Thanks for checking out my site and feel free to return any time!