Why I chose Silex for this website

UPDATE: this is a very old post that i’m importing from my old site… i’m including it for historical purposes here’s the deployed site and the source for it

This is an introduction to my choice of framework in building this website.

Several options I considered for my website:

  • Django
    • Django’s opinionated Model model with its strong database ties seemed a bit much for a relatively static site
    • It’s huge and unnecessarily complicated for a simple website
    • It would be a great learning experience in Python
  • Vanilla PHP
    • I have a lot of experience in vanilla PHP at my internship at Northern Michigan University working in the Information Services department where I develop web applications for internal use.
    • I often find myself frustrated with PHP’s quirkiness and wouldn’t learn new material if I used this for my personal website.
  • Silex
    • This is a micro-framework built using components of the much larger Symfony framework.
    • I discovered Silex in Heroku’s PHP deployment guide where I noticed that it was small enough to not draw unneeded overhead and extensible enough for my website to grow as it needed.

I opted to go with Silex. The source code is available here for your perusal.

I have gone through many iterations of this site. The first version was simply a clone of the homepage that I have on my university’s computer science department server. This wasn’t a very useful homepage as many of the projects that I wanted to show in a portfolio were tied to a database on that server.

I eventually moved towards a one-page style layout (in this commit) where the links in the navbar would scroll the page to pre-defined regions. I then ditched the old multipage layout and at this point I discovered Grav. After difficulties integrating Grav within my app (read more here), I decided to roll my own blogging solution modeled after Grav’s markdown content system.

I included a YAML Front Matter + Markdown Parser and used that to define the metadata for a blogpost.

There is still much to do (post sort order, paging, tagging, etc), but I appreciate the experience that I have gained in building this blogging system.


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