While searching around with a friend, we found a blog template that we thought looked really nice, so I decided to take it and use it. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a great looking template, but it sure has some issues.
This won’t be the case for everyone, but it was for me.
Choosing A Template
A few weeks ago, I was discussing with a friend about the idea of making a blog on my website with the domain blog.osu.bio and they were fine with the idea.
About 2 days ago, we started putting that plan into action by searching around the Astro Themes website to look for a theme, and we found two we were interested in:
We wanted to try out Astro Cactus first, but another friend of ours came in since this was being discussed in a group chat and commented that Astro Cactus was “too compact”, so we decided to try Astro Ink first.
Simply make a new branch on NotDarkn/website called “blog”, delete all of the files in there, run the provided npx command, and start configuring! Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy after getting all of the required files.
Originally I was confused on where to go as the way files were arranged was completely unknown territory for me.
I didn’t understand why there were tons and tons of files in the src folder, or where any of the css elements were, or why the code had long blocks of style in them, but either way I decided to persist.
I began with modifying what I was able to understand (to an extent), such as deleting non-important files, changing configs, replacing images with my own, making it look like my own site, and etc.
However when it came to changing main aspects of the website, I realized that deleting just one file could break the entire blog, which annoyed me considering that I wasn’t running a live server at the time to view the website in real-time as I was editing.
I would try to delete one thing cause I didn’t want it, and Vercel & CF Pages would give up on building the website. Change a value to another one and the website would break again.
Soon I would finish deleting all of the stuff I wanted to delete, and finally I could start actually configuring the site to look like what I want it to be.
However that wouldn’t be without its own challenges, of course.
I began with wanting to change the font to be Monospace, specifically IBM Plex Mono since there wasn’t any other good Monospace font on Fontsource.
However, I realized a problem. Where the fuck do you change the font? It wasn’t in the config files, and it wasn’t even in the Tailwind configuration files. So where the fuck do I change it?
This is when I realized that this site has barely any actual documentation. Everything has been difficult because despite being a popular blog template, no one has made any good documentation on it, at all.
Regardless, I decided to persist and attempt in changing the font as it was the first thing I wanted to do. I looked around the files for a bit and found 3 files which had font changes, so I changed those fonts to IBM Plex Mono. With that, the font didn’t change, christ, what now? Well I forgot to install it, oops. Installed the font, and it changed!
Yay! Except that took me a FUCKING HOUR. The lack of documentation makes it basically a “Where’s Waldo?” mini-game since you have to find each corresponding shit yourself.
Next, I wanted to change the background color to a solid color with no transition, and oh my fucking god this almost took me 2 hours to fucking do.
It took a friend to help me find the file when I was an hour in, then another thirty minutes for me to figure out what part of the code was giving the background a transition color.
Then I spent 20 minutes trying to modify the color to my liking, and finally I had finished modifying everything I had wanted to.
Do I believe that all of this was worth it? Eh, I guess. I mean I learnt a little bit about how files, imports, and other shit are used now. But at the same time, I want my sanity and time back from all of that.
The extreme lack of documentation was a serious blow with this template, and I’m sure this is an issue with other templates too. Having a lack of documentation makes things more complicated for users, like myself.
You can place the blame partially on the user for not being intelligent enough on how to modify the code, but part of the blame also goes towards the developer for providing a lackluster amount of documentation to assist the user.
Anyways, I spent another hour modifying everything else to my liking while also experimenting with a quick post to make sure everything is how I wanted it to be, and yeah, here I am now. As I use Astro Ink, I like how it looks! I just think it could be less complicated.