Chris Wiegman Chris Wiegman

Trying New Tech

I spent the weekend, along with some of last week at work, trying out some new [to me] tech. While WordPress still has its use cases the fact it is it not the best for simple sites and blogs anymore and such sites are just what I need lately.

Enter Astro

My friend Jeff Everhart was the first person to talk to me about Astro, probably around 2022 or so. At the time my role didn’t involve code so I didn’t have a reason to play with it but the idea of a “simple” alternative to Next.js and others was intriguing so the idea of Astro as a tool stayed with me until the past week when I finally had a use case.

Now that I’m a developer again at work one of my tasks is to reduce the support burden on one of our products. It’s a headless WordPress site that served a number of purposes when it was created but a changing landscape at work has meant its support burden is just too much as we look to the future.

I looked at a few ideas to get it under control including Docusaurus, which we’ve used before, and others but none of them really seemed simple enough to me so I looked again at Astro and found their Starlight theme.

Within a few minutes I was hooked. Within an hour I had taken care of the sites homepage and ported a few existing pages to it. The only thing left was to sell it to my management. That’s not always an easy sell, particularly when we pull in something that doesn’t make use of WordPress. In this case, however, as soon as my director saw the list of 3 dependencies he was hooked and I had a project on my hands. I’m not done, yet, but I’m well on my way.

Beyond the work site I also want to work on a few other personal projects including a documentation site for Kana and a few specialty/personal blog projects I’ve debated on for a while. As none of them need even as much as I have on this site Astro has turned out to be a perfect fit. I’ve even got one small site deploying to GitHub pages and editable on my iPad. It’s amazing!

It’s been a while since I’ve been genuinely excited about a new web tech. The last one I can think of was when I moved this site to Hugo in 2018 (and subsequently back to WordPress when I realized that Hugo just couldn’t do all that I wanted to do at the time). Astro isn’t the right tech for every site but, at least for what I want to work on now, it’s the right tech for me.