Zach’s ugly mug (his face) Zach Leatherman

In Case You Missed It: 2023

January 02, 2024

Series: 2023, 2022, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013

2023 has been one hell-for-leather roller coaster of a year.

Down for the count

In late April, Eleventy lost its full time sponsorship in the midst of Netlify’s struggle to survive the gauntlet of late-stage venture capitalism.

I burned out pretty hard during this transition. We could go back and forth about the details of how it was handled but as things move forward it doesn’t seem productive to rehash it (I wrote and deleted this section many times). The most productive summary I can offer is that the Silicon Valley mentality of hockey-stick hyper-growth (or death) is simultaneously unhealthy and needlessly destructive for all involved parties.

I do feel a bit of shame in admitting to myself that despite all of the precautions I took while administering Eleventy as an independent project, Eleventy almost died this year—and the responsibility for that is mine.

Don’t call it a comeback

In happier news, in August I joined CloudCannon as a developer advocate and they are donating part of my time to Eleventy’s development. Coupled with their four-day work week 🏆🏆🏆, I’ve been using a majority of Fridays for Eleventy development too (per my discretion).

CloudCannon are incredibly supportive of the project and Eleventy certainly would not have rebounded as quickly as it did without their help.

Importantly, CloudCannon’s healthier work-life balance and subsequent mental shift rebalanced my perspective of Eleventy away from something that needed to compete to survive to a much healthier and enjoyable place.

Eleventy in 2023

Eleventy still had a pretty great year despite our setbacks.

And that’s not all: we have a few surprises in the hopper planned for 2024 that I’m very excited about.

A few good Blog Posts

Most popular (by total pageviews, ×2):

  1. A Historical Reference of React Criticism
  2. An Attempted Taxonomy of Web Components

Most hopeful: The Tension And Future Of Jamstack

My personal favorite: Educational, Sensational, Inspirational, Foundational Web Development Reading List

Controversial: Netlify’s Disingenuous Survey-based Attack On Next.js (And Eleventy, Too)

Underrated: JavaScript, Community

The hardest one to write: The Next Phase of Eleventy: Return of the Side Project

Thank You Notes

I have a lot to be thankful for in 2023 and my family goes at the top of that list. I had so many long lunchtime talks with my wife as we navigated through this year. She has been incredibly patient as she sits on the receiving end of privileged-dude-with-a-podcast-microphone levels of venting about tech drama.

A big thank you to new CloudCannon friends Christopher Wingate, George Phillips, Liam Bigelow, Mike Neumegen, Olivia Nicholson, David Large (and others).

To everyone in the Eleventy community, especially: Peter deHaan, IndieWeb Avatar for https://benmyers.devBen Myers, Cassey Lottman, IndieWeb Avatar for Leatherman, IndieWeb Avatar for Sheehan, IndieWeb Avatar for M. Semmler, IndieWeb Avatar for Karamalegos, IndieWeb Avatar for Eckles, IndieWeb Avatar for Dransfeldt, IndieWeb Avatar for, IndieWeb Avatar for Monsour, IndieWeb Avatar for Höser, and IndieWeb Avatar for J.M. (and so many others).

…and keep building for the web ❤️

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Zach Leatherman IndieWeb Avatar for a builder for the web and the creator/maintainer of IndieWeb Avatar for https://www.11ty.devEleventy (11ty), an award-winning open source site generator. At one point he became entirely too fixated on web fonts. He has given 81 talks in nine different countries at events like Beyond Tellerrand, Smashing Conference, Jamstack Conf, CSSConf, and The White House. Formerly part of CloudCannon, Netlify, Filament Group, NEJS CONF, and NebraskaJS. Learn more about Zach »


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  1. Thomas Michael Semmler

    Thomas Michael Semmler

    @zachleat > [...] in the midst of Netlify’s struggle to survive the gauntlet of late-stage venture capitalism.> [...] the Silicon Valley mentality of hockey-stick hyper-growth (or death) is simultaneously unhealthy, needlessly destructive, and unfortunately pervasive for a… Truncated

  2. Thomas Michael Semmler

    Thomas Michael Semmler

    @zachleat oh and thank you for the shoutout ????

  3. Zach Leatherman :verify:

    Zach Leatherman :verify:

    @nachtfunke as always—I appreciate you, Thomas!

  4. Jacky Alciné

    Jacky Alciné

    Oh shit. Damn, Zach. I don't know how I missed this. I'm really glad that you found a place that'll support your work nonetheless! I now have some links to catch up on!

  5. Mike Aparicio

    Mike Aparicio

    @zachleat Don't be so hard on yourself. You fucking rock and I won't hear otherwise. Thanks for all you do! ????

  6. Mike Aparicio

    Mike Aparicio

    @zachleat Also, I really dodged a bullet with that interview, huh? ????

  7. Zach Leatherman :verify:

    Zach Leatherman :verify:

    @peruvianidol so many incredible people still working there and I hope our paths cross again in the future!(but things do seem to have a way of working out in the end, huh? ????)

  8. @zachleat Burnout is a horrible thing, and I’m glad you figured out a more supportive and sustainable pace. Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Dan Jacob

    Dan Jacob

    @zachleat Eleventy is a great tool, thanks for making it. It's been a major factor in getting me back into blogging. And burnout sucks, and I hope the new year works out better for you.

  10. Bob Monsour

    Bob Monsour

    @zachleat I remember when things went pretty quiet last year and I was worried about you. I’m glad to see that things have gotten better and that you've got a good balance. We're blessed to have you doing what you do.

  11. Cory Birdsong

    Cory Birdsong

    @zachleat re: final paragraph of “Down for the Count” – you're being WAY too hard on yourself.Something approaching a worst case scenario occurred, but after the dust settled Eleventy was pretty much fine _because_ of the choices you'd made about its relationship to fundi… Truncated

  12. cthos ????

    cthos ????

    @zachleat “The most productive summary I can offer is that the Silicon Valley mentality of hockey-stick hyper-growth (or death) is simultaneously unhealthy and needlessly destructive for all involved parties.”❤️

  13. Stephen Bell

    Stephen Bell

    @zachleat Sorry you had a rough year. Thanks for keeping 11ty going anyway. It's a great project that has been a huge help to me! ????

  14. Ryan Mulligan

    Ryan Mulligan

    @zachleat Always and forever appreciate you sharing, your insight, and all the greatness you bring to the web dev community ❤️

  15. Zach Leatherman :verify:

    Zach Leatherman :verify:

    @hexagoncircle Appreciate you Ryan! And we need to catch up sometime! I’m missing our zoom chats

  16. Zach Leatherman :verify:

    Zach Leatherman :verify:

    @stephenjbell Thanks for the kind words Stephen! Glad it’s working well for you!

  17. Zach Leatherman :verify:

    Zach Leatherman :verify:

    @cbirdsong that’s lovely to hear, thank you. ????

  18. Zach Leatherman :verify:

    Zach Leatherman :verify:

    @bobmonsour I appreciate you reaching out, Bob—seeing the work you put into 11tybundle was such a boost to me when I was at a low point ????

  19. Zach Leatherman :verify:

    Zach Leatherman :verify:

    @danjac Thank you Dan—I hope you keep blogging!

  20. Zach Leatherman :verify:

    Zach Leatherman :verify:

    @eric I saw that 2023 was really hard for you, Eric—but here’s hoping for a better 2024 ????

  21. Cory Dransfeldt :prami:

    Cory Dransfeldt :prami:

    @zachleat a rollercoaster to be sure! I *love* that @cloudcannon stepped in the way they did and have had an absolute blast building with Eleventy and hanging out with the community. Hear's to a better 2024! ????(I rebuilt in Next.js in 2022 and it’ll… Truncated

  22. Raymond Camden

    Raymond Camden

    @zachleat @cbirdsong I think Cory said it damn well. You are an incredible resource for the web and just a darn good person. Thank you!

  23. depone


    @zachleat thanks for sharing. All the best for you and your loved ones ????????

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