Top 8+ Best Static Site Generator | 2017
Back to the origins: People say “History repeats itself”. I remember when many years ago I created my first index.html and uploaded it to the popular hosting GeoCities.com. Later it became clear that you can only create a home page from the statistics pages, and the more serious things require Perl and CGI. Now, when there is a million ways of creating dynamic pages, developers, by contrast, started to aspire to statics, especially in high load places. And this is clear: there are no overheads on the content generation (the page is ready), and all pages can be cached easily in a moment (they go to the memory for the immediate transfer to a client). This story is not only on high load systems, it also refers to ordinary websites. Engines for the static content generation are very trendy now. They help create complicated websites resulting in a set of static files which can easily be hosted anywhere: Amazon S3, or even GitHub. You do not need to muck with the server settings, and the website is piercing (you cannot break the static file resource).
How does it work?
The general operating principle of such engines is simply. There is a template directory, where the layout of future web pages is plotted with the use of a template engine. There is also a directory with the website content: normally this is a set of text files labeled by Markdown. What does the static content generator do? It grabs files from the content directory, applies templates from the template directory to them and then outputs a set of static HTMLs which can be uploaded to a server.
Let us take a blog for an example. A new post is designed in the shape of a separate Markdown file. After any update one should start an engine generating static HTML files. Then the received sources of a website are uploaded to a hosting. Many engines take the roll-out of a website upon themselves, therefore all you need for an update is to create a file with the content of the new post in a blog.
What generators are there?
One of the most famous static content generators is the blog engine called Octopress which I tried in action. Aside from it, there are also popular Jekyll and Nesta CMS. They have one thing in common – they were written in Ruby. There are alternatives written in Node.JS (for instance, Punch), there are alternatives written in Python (Hyde). They all use the same principle but are different in details: they support different template engines, different layout of the input data and so on.
There is no sense in showing how to launch a couple of commands of a generator. Each engine has instructions on how to generate the static website in 5 minutes. The interesting thing is this – how to use the benefits of that we decline dynamics? Where to locate this website? Three alternatives are being used the most frequently:
One of the GitHub’s gimmicks is an opportunity to create GitHub pages for developers which use the service to store the code repositories. If you choose this free alternative, all website files will be stored directly in the Git repository. This is convenient because readers can suggest their Pull Requests and thus help fix errors. Herewith your website can be connected to your domain.
S3 is piercing file storage by Amazon. Since all files have very small size, and there is little traffic, you will not need lots of money to spend on it. But its 99,9% availability is guaranteed.
Heroku is another cloud platform developed for fast rolling of web applications (in Python, Ruby, Scala, Java, and others). It can be used for free in case with the static website.
You need to recognize that you can add dynamics to any static page via AJAX. Take blogs, for example, which is launched with the help of the static content generator. It cannot be a blog without comments. However, commentaries can be easily added with the help of third party services such as Disqus, Livefyre, IntenseDebate. Thanks to these tools an approach to the creation of websites with the static pages generation becomes more sensible.
Best Website Generator:
JEKYLLRB.COM – Jekyll • Simple, blog-aware, static sites – Transform your plain text into static websites and blogs.
Daily visitors: 20 676 Daily pageviews: 64 097 Alexa Rank: 40774
HEXO.IO – Hexo is a fast, simple & powerful blog framework powered by Node.js.
Daily visitors: 8 973 Daily pageviews: 44 868 Alexa Rank: 64313
GOHUGO.IO – Hugo :: A fast and modern static website engine. Hugo, a fast and flexible static site generator built with love by spf13 and friends in Go.
Daily visitors: 9 483 Daily pageviews: 46 470 Alexa Rank: 73501
BLOG.GETPELICAN.COM – Pelican Static Site Generator, Powered by Python.
Daily visitors: 989 Daily pageviews: 1 979
MIDDLEMANAPP.COM – Middleman: Hand-crafted frontend development.
Daily visitors: 3 956 Daily pageviews: 10 682 Alexa Rank: 201449
METALSMITH.IO – An extremely simple, pluggable static site generator.
Daily visitors: 534 Daily pageviews: 534 Alexa Rank: 666684
DOCPAD.ORG – DocPad – Streamlined Web Development. Empower your website frontends with layouts, meta-data, pre-processors (markdown, jade, coffeescript, etc.), partials, skeletons, file watching, querying, and an amazing plugin system. Use it either standalone, as a build script, or even as a module in a bigger system. Either way, DocPad will streamline your web development process allowing you to craft full-featured websites quicker than ever before.
Daily visitors: 763 Daily pageviews: 1 602 Alexa Rank: 818177
WINTERSMITH.IO – Wintersmith a flexible static site generator.
Daily visitors: 534 Daily pageviews: 534 Alexa Rank: 913989