Announcing the new Aspire Budgeting website

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Welcome to the new Aspire Budgeting website! I'm so excited to be rolling this out for everyone to enjoy. There are several new things about the site, so let's dig in.

What's new?

Everything! There's not a single line of code carried over from the old website. As Aspire has grown, the need for a more professional site was something that I knew I needed to build and over the past few weeks, I finally had some time to tackle it. I've taken this opportunity to refresh the color palette, update the layouts, adopt new tools and technologies, and even update the Aspire logo. I think you (and the many people that visit Aspire's site daily) are going to love it.

Technical details

I had a few basic requirements for the new site. I wanted a site that was scalable, easy to build/update, and performant. After looking through what felt like hundreds of Wordpress themes, Bootstrap templates, and platforms like Grav and Ghost, I decided none of them were for me and I was better off building something from the ground up. I've been fortunate enough to have used Nextjs for my "real" job over the past year or so and recent developments in the area of static site generation was something I've kept my eye on. I decided to give this a try and once I got started with it, I knew it was the right approach. Not only could I use popular technologies like React and TailwindCSS, but I didn't have to rely on the bulky overhead of something like Wordpress.

All of Aspire's new pages are generated at build time so there's very minimal Javascript execution in the browser. This has several benefits. In particular, performance and security. Since the entire site is generated at build time, the browser only needs to load and render plain HTML files to present content to the user. This means the site can load blisteringly fast for users across the world (especially with a service like Cloudflare acting as a CDN). This has obvious benefits ranging from UX to bandwidth savings to easy cache management. From a security standpoint, there are no points of access into any CMS systems or databases - the entire site is just static content. This greatly reduces common attack vectors used by hackers and malicious bots. Surprisingly, when I view analytics data, it's pretty common to see bots trying to access <site>/wp-admin (for less technical folks, this is the default login URL for Wordpress installations) across my properties in an attempt to compromise the site itself. Using static site generation, I can just smile knowing there's nothing for hackers to break in to.

At the end of the day, I am extremely pleased with how things turned out and am excited to leverage this site for the next chapter of Aspire's growth.

Conclusion

That's it for this quick post. I'll be sharing more here soon as development continues. Please feel free to let me know if there are any topics you'd like to learn more about!

Matt / Sapphire_Rapids

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