Monday, October 25, 2021

    13 Static Site Generators to Help You Build Your Ultimate Website

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    1. Jekyll



    Jekyll is a simple, user friendly static site generator powered by Ruby, and is also the engine behind GitHub Pages.

    It takes a template directory containing raw text files, runs it through Markdown (Liquid or Textile) convertors, and generates a complete ready-to-publish static website. It features code highlighting, using Pygment’s syntax highlighter, with an automatically organized site structure.

    It’s easy to import content from other blogs, with WordPress, Drupal, Tumblr and even RSS and CSV formats supported. Using the built-in server you can start your own static server from its source code and template and style your website using Markdown. It’s incredibly simple to setup, and even easier to start creating blog posts, with templates and layout controls, and a multitude of configuration options.

    2. Octopress



    Octopress is a framework designed for Jekyll, a static blogging engine powering GitHub Pages, and makes blogging easy and beautiful, sporting a clean, responsive theme written in semantic HTML5.

    Octopress has built-in integration with Twitter, Google Analytics, Google Plus, Pinboard, Disqus Comments and other services. It also includes a preview server for local staging, which will regenerate your site on-the-fly as you make changes. The collection of rake tasks simplifies development and makes deployment simple. Using the Octopress rake file lets you isolate a single post so that only that post will be generated locally, for a quick testing cycle. You can use both Jekyll plugins and those built specifically for Octopress, as well as those from third party developers.

    3. DocPad



    DocPad is a static website generator built on Node.js and Express.js, that empowers your website with layouts, pre-processors, querying and a robust plugin system.

    It comes integrated with an administrator dashboard to make publishing easier. Provided you have the right rendering plugin, you can use any templating engine you prefer, on a document-by-document basis. Since it’s modular-based it’s incredibly easy to extend, and is able to generate documents dynamically at runtime.

    There are a wealth of pre-built skeletons available to help you get started, including a HTML5 Boilerplate, Twitter Bootstrap, ZURB Foundation and lots more. Versioning support means you can keep track of the changes you make in your project.

    4. Hugo



    Hugo is a fast, modern static website engine with a high degree of flexibility. It doesn’t depend on administrative privileges, databases, runtimes, interpreters or external libraries, and can be installed and run however you wish, and then deployed on Amazon S3, GitHub Pages, Dropbox or any web host you choose.

    Hugo was written for speed and performance, and allows you to organize your content however you want with any URL structure. You can declare your own content types, define your own metadata and use indexes to group your content. You can write content in Markdown, render changes on the fly as you develop, with support for Disqus Comments, dynamic menu creation, pretty urls, syntax highlighting and more.

    5. Wintersmith



    Wintersmith is a flexible, minimalistic, multi-platform static site generator built on top of Node.js.

    It puts absolutely no limits on how you work with your content, and you can transform it with plugins and structure it as you please. Wintersmith comes bundled with a Jade plugin, with community-made plugins available, and you can use your favorite templating engine. Deployment is simple, and there’s no need for special hosting solutions and the performance is blazing fast as there are no database calls, no server-side API calls or any CPU/RAM overhead.

    Once installed, Wintersmith will create a basic structure for your site, including a contents folder that contains all of your assets and your content written in Markdown of JSON files. The templates contains your templates and the config.json file is where you put any global options.

    6. Middleman



    Middleman is a command-line tool for creating static websites, with Ruby and the Sinatra web framework forming the base of the tool. With Middleman you have standalone developer access to ERb, Haml, Sass for DRY stylesheets, CoffeeScript for safer, less verbose Javascript and multiple asset management solutions, including Sprockets.

    There is support for numerous templating languages to simplify your HTML development, which will allow you to add variables, call methods and use loops and ‘if’ statements. By default Middleman will output the files exactly as you have described them in your project with support for Pretty URLs. Using the LiveReload extension, your browser will automatically refresh whenever you edit files in your site.

    CSS minification and Javascript compression are already included, with Middleman, allowing you to keep the original, commented files in your project.

    7. Nanoc



    Nanoc is a static site generator written in Ruby that’s ideal for building any type of web project, from personal blogs to large corporate websites.

    As it’s a command line application, you develop sites locally, with the generated site deployed when finished. Nanoc is extremely flexible, letting you choose your favorite templating languages, extensions and Ruby gems.

    You can also mix and match Haml, Sass, Less, CoffeeScript, ERB and Markdown, with filters for minifying CSS and JavaScript, and also for image optimization. Using binary (which Nanoc ships with), you can (auto)compile your sources into HTML, validate CSS and HTML, list available plugins, and deploy your files to the server.

    Once you configure Nanoc, you only need to write your content, then deploy it with a single command.

    8. Metalsmith



    Metalsmith is an extremely simple static site generator, with all the logic handled by plugins, so you can simply chain them together. It works by reading all the files in your source directory, with the plugins then manipulating the files, with the results then written to the destination directory.

    The plugins manipulate the files however you want, and as none are included by default, your directory is free of clutter. You can simply install plugins as and when you need them. Metalsmith can convert Sass to CSS, minify CSS, compress image files, convert Markdown to HTML and write HTML to the static directory. While Metalsmith is ideal as a project scaffolder, it’s so versatile it could be used as an e-book generator, for technical documents and lots more.

    9. Hexo



    Hexo is a simple, powerful blog framework, which parses your posts with Markdown (or any other render engine you choose), and generates static files. It’s powered by Node.js, and features multithread generating, so hundreds of files take just seconds to generate.

    Hexo also supports GitHub-flavored Markdown, Octopress plugins, Jekyll, EJS, Swig and Stylus. There are nearly 40 themes to choose from, including Bootstrap and iOS-inspired options, through to a theme that generates 301 redirection pages for site migration.

    It’s simple to get started, just make sure you have both Git and Node.js installed. Node.js is a platform built on Google Chrome’s JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications.

    10. Harp



    Harp is a static web server with built-in preprocessing, and serves Jade, Markdown, EJS, CoffeeScript, Sass, Less and Stylus as HTML, CSS and JavaScript, with no configuration necessary.

    It intelligently compiles assets as the browser requires them, so all you have to do is save and refresh. Harp keeps your code clean and organized, allowing you to reuse common elements and partials, and maintain a consistent design and layout.

    By using dynamic content you can pass metadata into your views and pages, using your favorite templating engine, variables and loops to make writing Harp applications both fun and powerful. Optionally Harp can compile your project down to static assets for hosting behind a valid HTTP server, and also features built-in LRU caching in production mode, intelligent path redirects and clean URLs.

    11. Cactus



    Cactus is a static website generator using Python and Django, which makes it easy to develop locally and deploy your site directly to Amazon S3. It’s easy to use, is fully extensible, and works great for any project application, including portfolios and blogs, with support for spiriting, versioning.

    The recently released Cactus 3 features asset fingerprinting, asset pipeline, pretty URLs, native OS X filesystem events, automatic nameserver configuration, support for multiple deployment backends and more. It’s incredibly easy to install and generate a new project, and to start editing and previewing your site just point your browser to localhost. Cactus will automatically rebuild your project and refresh your browser once you make changes.

    12. Pelican



    Pelican is a static site generator powered by Python, that requires no database or sever-side logic. You can write your own content in reStructuredText, Markdown, or AsciiDoc formats and also publish in multiple languages.

    Themes can be customized via Jinja tempates, with support for code syntax highlighting, Atom and RSS feeds. Pelican also allows integration with social media accounts and Google Analytics. The modular plugin system and corresponding plugin repository make it easy to extend the functionality of your site while keeping bloat to a minimum.

    Pelican also supports external commenting tools such as Disqus, and allows you to import from WordPress, Dotclear or RSS feeds.

    13. Sculpin



    Sculpin is a static site generator written in PHP, which converts Markdown files, Twig templates or standard HTML into a static site that can easily be deployed. With the embedded composer you can keep your source control focused and consistent. The in-built Symfony HTTP Kernel lets you use Symfony Bundles to extend Sculpin for any advanced functionality you need, without extending Sculpin directly. Using Twig as the template engine makes it easy to get started quickly, as Twig allows you to define custom tags, and filters, with a sandbox to evaluate untrusted template code.

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