Developing My Ideal Personal Portfolio Website: Part 5 of 6
May 13, 2020
The point of making this site was to make it a place to store information about myself. Whether it be for myself, as an easy reference place to look up things I've done, or a place where others can learn more about me, I want it to feel like something I've made. This led to the next step - personalisation. More specifically, adding the "About Me" page.
The first thing I wanted to do was have an idea of what I wanted to write about. I knew I'd include the obvious Education and Experience sections, but I also wanted to add some different things. I enjoy teaching, especially, so I wanted to add a section on this. I also have been dabbling in music production, so thought I could have a place to share some of the stuff I've made. I then wanted to add some of my hobbies such as travelling and skydiving.
I wanted to make the page feel like it was made by me, but also look professional. I decided I wanted a header at the top which contained some pictures of me with friends and doing things I enjoy. I initially toyed with the idea of linking it to my Instagram account, however I thought that this could result in having a lot of similar images if I posted multiple from the same event, and it was harder to check they worked well together. I also wanted to use
gatsby-image so that the pictures were optimised. This is much harder when using the Instagram API, as
gatsby-image doesn't allow external image URLs, so I'd have to download them, which is not something I wanted to set up. However, it's a potential future idea.
Once I created the header, I moved on to how I would display the content. I didn't want a cluttered design, but I also didn't want to have to create a separate page for all of the content I listed above. I decided that I'd try to meet in the middle - I'd give a highlight of everything in a short paragraph (max 50 words), and then link the keywords to show a component with more detailed information in. This means that people can click more if they'd like to know more, and don't have to sift through a load of useless information they don't want to read.
To show the content, I had to make use of state hooks to keep track of which section the user had clicked on, and make sure the corresponding React component was displayed.
For the Education and Experience sections, I decided to bite the bullet and connect these to the Netlify CMS. I also did my projects at the same time. I knew this would take a while, but eventually it would mean I could update them a lot easier. I decided to use react-vertical-timeline-component. This allowed me to display the information in a nice format with minimal effort. I also wanted to collapse more detailed information here, in case someone was looking for a brief overview. I did this using a state hook as I did for the components above.
I also used react-audio-player on my music creation page, in order to sample some of the songs I'd made. I chose this because I could link songs from external sources, so in this case I used the git repo I had with my music backed up into, since this saved copying them into the repo.
The final thing I wanted to include was a map of places I've travelled. I stared off my using one by amCharts, however, it was tripling my build time, so I'm currently searching for an alternative.
One thing I'd like to be able to do is link to each of the sections independently using a different URL, for example by appending
#experience to the end. This is something I want to look into in the future.
Well the next thing any professional portfolio needs is a link to your CV! However, I wanted to put my React skills to the test and code my own.