Where were you?

Where were you?

For those who follow me on Facebook and Instagram (and are interested), you must have noticed a sudden drop in activity on my part regarding my online activity. And in fact, I haven't posted anything since, and roughly my participation in the Internets has been limited to supporting a few artists on Deviant Art, as well as improving or creating open source site models on Github.

Well there is a very good reason for all this!


I intentionally paused all other projects because I wasn't satisfied. Indeed, when I announced - when launching my illustration activity - on my personal Facebook account that I was ready to do 15 jobs at the same time, it was not a metaphor, far from it. ...

I already had a good outline for my website, and I had already spent a lot of time on it since I started web development more than two years ago already and completely self-taught, without taking a single training course. IT and precisely with the aim of creating my site myself, to have control over the source code, pages and publications, and not to have to call on an external service provider for the slightest modification.

This cost me dearly in time spent, however, for me it is a lifelong investment in precious knowledge.

If I had to do like everyone else and go through Wix or Wordpress, I would never have been as satisfied as I am today.

For many people, these are obvious solutions, but above all they are affordable solutions, and which are generally adopted without knowing what setting up a website involves, nor why a real service provider is generally expensive or overpriced.

Indeed, if you decide to build your site yourself with Wix, you will not have the idea of optimization for SEO and referencing in mind, and these disciplines alone are already full-time jobs in the web development sector.

Which means that if you decide to create your site yourself without having this knowledge, your site will be poorly optimized, invisible to search engines and lost among the hundreds of millions of existing sites. And I'm not even talking about page optimization for site performance, for each of your pages: that too is a job!

And I say it frankly - because I often look at other artists' sites and I run tests on them - I can understand the concern for savings or the lack of means. However, creating a Wix or Wordpress site without calling on a Wix expert or a Wordpress expert afterwards is a mistake: your site represents your brand, your personal and/or professional online space and what you want to convey. Neglecting this will give the impression of lack of professionalism and nothing else!

You must understand that a user will stay 7 seconds on average on your site. In addition, 60% of users will visit it from their mobile. So if it is not optimized and one of your pages takes too long to load because of too many Wordpress plugins for example, this will drastically reduce your user retention rate, and therefore reduce the number of people potentially interested in your activity!

All this being said, Wix or Wordpress - or any proprietary solution - are not solutions that I personally like, nor solutions that I wanted to adopt or favor. A Wordpress site is generally hosted and set up directly with a host. A Wix site is set up and hosted at Wix, this means that if you have a problem with your host, you will lose all the work you have done to set up your site!

Additionally and while still over 80% of websites are still coded using PHP and frameworks like Laravel, I am absolutely not on that side of web development, I don't do any PHP.

I directly set foot in modern and very interactive solutions such as React (and for which I became somewhat passionate), and therefore frameworks based on Node and Javascript, such as Next.js or Astro.js, without just one line of PHP code!

And so?

So, coming to Next.js on which the site you are currently visiting is entirely based, you should know that last summer the developers of Next surprised everyone by making a huge update. I'm not going to go into technical details, just that their update was made with a desire to improve performance and the development experience. This was welcome, but it was almost like starting from scratch on how to design and develop a site with their tools!!!

And so that's what I did, I almost started from scratch. Even if it means seeing almost no one outside of my immediate family, even if it means spending entire weekends there...

I first took a developer blog template as training, in order to make it a bilingual site and understand how to internationalize a site with all these new features. This model is already used by other developers, and I have had very good feedback on the work I have done on it, you can see the demo for yourself:


Source code

Once this model was finished (I continue to make changes to it from time to time, when I have new ideas), I also created another model, which I made available as open-source, so free. This model is intended for artists, photographers etc. and which aims to be as complete as possible (with the exception of an integrated store, even if I would like to integrate it into another version)

The advantage of doing open source is that other developers will eventually contribute and help improve the model. Even if personally I don't really tend to wait after others, it remains a job that relies on collective intelligence.

If you don't have a site, or you're a geek, or you have a taste for learning, or if you have a developer friend who could help you, or even if you want to contribute your own ideas, this model is available here:


Source code

There are two versions, a "normal" one and another in two languages.

The two-language version served as the basis for the new version of my site, the same site you are currently visiting!

So all of this took me more than six months, with sometimes ups, sometimes downs and moments of discouragement when I was stuck on one problem or another... But I (almost) got through it. (there are still a few optimizations to be done).

Compared to my old site, there are many notable improvements:

  • Ability to share articles, projects and designs.
  • Blog with search by category or tag
  • Pagination for each category or tag.
  • Ability to easily embed code blocks (tutorials), videos, images or other components into articles.
  • Interactive gallery, with each image having its own page by clicking on it.
  • Comments section, anonymous or not. (Be careful, stay polite! :D)
  • Significantly increased accessibility (menus, search bar, backlinks, etc.)
  • Improved music player.
  • New design with a Manga theme (And why not? I like it :))

I now hope - apart from a few occasional updates - to be quiet for a while and devote myself 200% to my real projects and objectives, which are still drawing and traditional art in general, and not web development !

To be continued...