Static Sites Generators
The Rise of Modern Static Sites Generators
“… of “modern” static site generators”, indeed, for we definitely can't be talking about a travel back in time to the 90's, when the web was populated exclusively with static websites. There was only HTML, so there were only static websites!
But first, let us briefly detail the context that rapidly turned the “buzz” of static site generators into an ever-growing web development trend these days:
- the security factor is the one weighting heavy on all online “players” decision making process these days; dynamic websites, with their vulnerable databases, their user input functionality, authentication and other tempting, yet easy-to-get-hacked features, can't compete with the simpler and easier to safeguard static websites
- speed is another aspect that websites/apps must excel at if they don't want to be left way behind in the “brutal” competition for customers' time (and money), and guess what: static sites are more lightweight, they involve less complicated content/data delivery processes and, implicitly: they load considerably faster
Et voila: SPEED and SECURITY! These are the two “culprits” responsible for this “migration” of developers and companies operating in the online landscape towards static site generators.
“But what did you mean by modern static site generators?” you might ask yourself.
Let us detail:
- they're not a glorious “come back” of the old type of static websites of the 90's, but rather an up-to-date alternative to today's dynamic websites
- they've grown into some competitive publishing engines
- being simpler, more lightweight and providing a sort of maintenance-free feel, they appeal to front-end developers who, therefore, gain more time to invest in user interfaces
- the translation process into HTML happens before the upload to the server
And now that you have your answer(s) to the “Why static user generators?” question, we'll try helping you find the right one to the “Which modern static user generator?” question, as well!
Here are, in no particular order, 4 of the most popular ones these days:
- Jekyll: has that “zero complexity” feel to it, which makes it the perfect static site generator to start with; basically, it enables you to turn any static website (the content model has been upgraded to go beyond blogs and to power more complex websites, too) into a Jekyll project and, moreover, it can also act as your local site server, as well
- Middleman: built to power more advanced websites than Jekyll (documentation and marketing websites and here we can't skip mentioning Middleman-powered MailChimp) it's designed as a powerful Ruby on Rails-alike technology, but for static websites
- Roots: designed as Nodejs-based front-end tools' equivalent for static websites, Roots comes equipped with pre-built support for the Jade templating engine
- Hugo: is growing in popularity at the most rapid rate, compared to the above-mentioned static site generators; written in Go, Hugo is surprisingly fast, temptingly simple to install and to update, as well