I Hate Building Static Websites. But These Tools Changed My Life.
Slowly but surely the gaps between regular users and designers and web developers are bridging. The HTML5 frameworks, CMS, and numerous online/offline generators push the web forward, making it a place where everyone can have a website for their needs. Along with tools that let you create pages on the top of the pre installed platforms, there are instruments that offer you a simple way of building pages that can be hosted by any provider.
Some of them have an intuitive and open environment that is friendly to everyone while others can be handled only by programmers. Today we are going to dive into static-site generators that are gaining popularity. We have collected top tools that let you build a website and keep up with the fast-paced world.
Tools For Building a Static Website
We want to start our collection with the two most reliable, time-proven and popular options. The first one is Weebly. It allows you to create a plain website, blog and even e-store. Among a great variety of features, it also has a bunch of predefined themes.
Wix is another favorite choice when it comes to creating static websites with a modern look and flexible layout. With quite impressive statistics, more than 60 million people have already chosen it for its tasks; it is certainly worth a try.
Sculpin is a reliable generator that is powered by PHP. It is tailored to quickly transform markdown files into a working website. It works with Twig templates and regular HTML layouts. What's more, for better user experience it has an embedded composer.
Middleman is a standard framework for prototyping static websites. It uses shortcuts and tools inherent to modern web development. Delivered with an intuitive interface and plenty of features to extend functionality, it enables users to come up with any design and structure.
Hugo is a powerful engine for crafting static websites that satisfy the current trends and requirements. You can install software on any platform (Windows, iOS or Linux) and create UIs that can be deployed in Github, Dropbox and others.
Although GoDaddy is originally a web hosting provider, it also takes care of its customers. The team provides clients with a simple yet effective way of building various static websites. The instrument includes all the necessary features to create one from scratch.
PieCrust's beauty lies in its functionality since the service combines a generator and CMS framework. As a result, you will get a handy interface and a stable base for crafting your online page. Use text files to achieve the desired outcome.
Docpad offers a rapid and streamlined development for designers. It comes with pre-built skeletons, language agnostic, powerful plugins and simple deployment.
Nanoc is a static-site generator with huge potential. It lets you craft any type of online UI starting from daily blogs and ending with complex corporate websites. Thanks to an extensive documentation and some tutorials, you can unlock its hidden possibilities.
Assemble is aimed to help you embrace the power of such potent boilerplates as Bootstrap or Foundation. It works perfectly well with Node.js, Grunt.js, and Yeoman. Moreover, it has a small collection of plugins that extend the functionality of the engine.
Jekyll claims to convert any text to a working static website, just give it a try. It is written in Ruby and is appropriate for experienced developers. It collaborates with Liquid templating language as well as supports all its tags and filters. It is simple, blog-aware and well-suited to create personal projects and organization sites.
Hexo is a feature-rich framework that lets you create regular blogs and basic static websites. It ships with a collection of themes, markdown support, and various plugins. It is quite fast and requires just one command to deploy a project to Heroku or Github.
Brunch is an excellent instrument for prototyping static websites. It comes with various features, such as:
- quickly compile scripts, templates, and styles;
- generate source maps;
- minimize code;
- optimize images;
- wrap the scripts in common js files;
- notify about errors.
Phrozn generates static websites within minutes. It is written in PHP and is quite easy to use. All you have to do is to prepare text files with markdown and styles. For this task you can use any beloved environment; the program will do all the heavy lifting. It is fast, safe and feature-rich.
Much like the previous example Nikola requires only some text files to assemble the working version of your website. It is created with the help of Python. What's more, it is open-source, user-friendly, easily extensible and pretty fast.
Pelican is another static site generator that is charged with Python. It does not require any database or server-side logic. Write your content within supported formats and use the resulting static output in any hosting provider.
Metalsmith is an intuitive website builder. It is powered by plugins that significantly extend its potential. As you may have guessed, plugins manipulate the files here, sorting out all the issues. Along with the main function, it also has the following features:
- project scaffolder;
- ebooks generator;
- technical docs.
Wintersmith is written in Node.js. It is fast, reliable and powerful. It supports various platforms and is quite flexible in what it can do. When it comes to workflow, it offers freedom of choice.
Octopress is a viable foundation for creating blogs. It lets you -
- quickly create pages, posts, and collections;
- leverage neat and tidy templates;
- deploy via Git and much more.
Craving for more? Then take a look at StaticGen. This is a comprehensive collection of open-source static site generators.
From modern and all-embracing instruments to small yet fast and narrowly targeted tools: each static-site generator has its audience. While builders presented by massive hosting providers like Wix or Weebly do not require any proper skills in development; personal projects, as a rule, are created for tech-savvy people.
Which one is your favorite? Whose potential lets you achieve the desired results?