What I’d like to see in static generators

If you are

  • a blog addict
  • a web developer
  • someone who keeps up with recent trends

Then by now you should know about these things called static generators. In a nutshell, a static generator is a often small application that will render a document written in Markdown, Textile, or other type of markup syntax, create a whole HTML out of a designed template (or theme) and with the generated output you can upload it straight to your site.

Sounds very easy, right? Most static generators don’t have databases and most of them are platform-independent making it easier for the user to write his/her documents with ease and generate the HTML whenever the possibility is given.

Static generators, imho, have one of the biggest pros right now is that they don’t rely on any interpreter to gush out the HTML, meaning it doesn’t need PHP, Python, Java in the server-side.

There’s one thing that the static generators fail and that is providing a sane user interface. Ghost has gotten “good” with it, and by good is that they haven’t made any progress to go against an interface like WordPress, or any other easy-to-use CMS, blog software, etc.

They all lack in the user interface/usability department

At first I thought “hey, maybe Ghost is really gonna be that WordPress killer we have been waiting so far”. Sadly it turns out that even their template system is pretty primitive. I personally created a theme for Ghost, most of it was pretty straightforward but there wasn’t really anything that screamed “flexible”.

Beyond Ghost I don’t know any other contender that has actually tried to make an impact by being a static generator with a human user interface. Most static generators are written in a way that requires command line interaction to please the neckbeards, a few nerds here and there; that alone already disqualify it from being usable by the average user.

Which brings me to…

A question I have to ask is “What if the blogger is so active he/she can gush out over 400-800 articles within a year?” Taking in consideration how long X generator takes to generate an output of a large amount of articles written… any small tweak to the structure of the theme means the person has to reupload everything from scratch, in which dynamic solutions have the upper hand without a doubt. (a lot of variables varies here)

Categorized as Opinion

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