When I think about it, this makes sense. Eleventy is basically a sausage-machine; you put stuff in, tell it how you want it to transform that stuff, and you get something new out the other end. This isn’t just for markdown-to-HTML, but for a variety of formatA-to-formatB transformation needs… including, for example, using JSON to generate CSS.
Now this is definitely a more basic approach than using a design token tool like StyleDictionary. StyleDictionary handles lots of low-level stuff that would otherwise be tricky to implement. So I’m not suggesting that this is a better approach than using StyleDictionary. However it definitely feels pretty straightforward and low maintenance.
As Heydon Pickering explains, it also opens up the opportunity to make the Design Tokens CMS-editable in Netlify CMS without content editors needing to go near the code.
So you’d have a
tokens.json file containing your design tokens, but it’d be within the same repo as your reference website. That’s probably not as good as having the tokens in a separate repo and making them available as a package, but of course a separate 11ty repo is an option too if you prefer.
For a smaller site at least, the “manage design tokens with 11ty” is a nice option, and I think I might give it a try on my personal website.