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Static Site Generators by Brian Rinaldi

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Chapter 2. The Basics of Static Site Generators

What Are Static Site Generators?

The basic concept of a static site generator (aka static site engine) is simple: take dynamic content and data and generate static HTML/JavaScript/CSS files that can be deployed to the server. This idea isn’t new. The oldest static site generator tracked by the Static Site Generators list, which currently tracks 394 different projects, is 13 years old. Even some CMS systems have functioned this way for many years.

Comprehensive Lists of Static Site Generators

The Static Site Generators list is definitely the most comprehensive list of these tools available. While a list of nearly 400 tools may seem overwhelming, it offers helpful details, such as the language the tool is built with, when it was created, and even the last time it was updated, all of which you can sort by.

StaticGen doesn’t aim to be nearly as comprehensive, but it offers a good amount of additional details about each project. For example, it pulls the short and long description from the project repository and lists the templating languages it supports. You can filter by the language the tool is built with and sort by stars, forks, issues, or title.

Still, the new generation of static site generator tools tend to have some characteristics in common:

  • Run via the command line
  • Support one or more templating languages for theming
  • Have a local development server for testing and debugging
  • Support file-based data formats
  • Have an extensible ...

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