In summer of 2019 while being at the end of my parental leave, one of my side projects included building my husband’s website, for his first book launch. He himself would’ve been more than pleased with a simple WordPress setup, but as stubbornness is another one of my flaws, I couldn’t bring myself to just do that. No, aside from having developed a strong distaste for PHP in my early years, I was a modern web developer about to start a new job working with React. On the same time I love WordPress as a CMS, and want my husband to be able to manage his content himself in case I, you know, die. So the only solution I saw fit was to setup WordPress and take advantage of their relatively new feature, Rest APIs which allowed me to hook it up with his new React website. After a lot of work with everything between designing the website to dealing with security configurations, one critical issue remained. Despite all my efforts in optimizing and cashing, it would take two long seconds to load the page – completely unacceptable! Even worse was to realize the time would increase 0.5s with every request – this due to the whole system loading every time you make a request. This led to my desperate outcry on Twitter during a later iteration:
With all the work I had put in, I was past the point of no return. I refused to give up, but eventually at least I compromised. I swallowed a small part of my pride and added a custom endpoint in PHP, so I could fetch everything needed for the page in one request, bringing the loading time down to 0.5s. Obviously not an acceptable amount of time either, so I made a dirty hack to hide this delay, one I will take with me to my grave. Then I washed my hands clean of this filth, and mov… Obsessed about it for a few more months.
Needless to say, yesterday when I decided it’s time to bring my own website back to life after five years, I wasn’t thrilled by the thought of reusing this solution. I was however still convinced that if done right, WordPress + React would be the most beautiful way to go, and to my delight I stumbled upon frontity. It was glorious; ridiculously easy to setup, handled the loading issue well, very straightforward to work with.. I spent my day building up my new website, only to find out at the end of the day that my web host must support running nodejs server for this to work. My web host don’t do that.
So here we are now, on a simple WordPress setup, so far with an unmodified template selected from the theme gallery. Never kept it so simple in my entire life. And you know what, I’m not even sad about it. I work with games now, my days as a web developer are over!