The Downsides of a Static Site Generator

The Downsides of a Static Site Generator by Martyn Chamberlin (Drinking Caffeine)

Database-driven architectures are better than file-driven ones. Who knew?!

Although Martyn later changed his mind about switching to WordPress, from my experience, his points are valid.

The challenge I have with using a static site generator or daily blogging is the amount of time needed to create a new post.

I like to create posts with featured images and many of my posts have several images. My current workflow for WordPress is:

For static site generators, the workflow is.

  • Export images to a folder
  • Open terminal and navigate to the content folder
  • create a new post — don’t forget to add font matter for the date, post title, etc.
  • Insert text and images —more challenging since I have to copy paste path and name of specific images. Lots of back and forth between text editor and files system
  • save file
  • build the ENTIRE site -- wait. Wait some more.
  • move files to the production web server

I don’t want to do that for every blog post. Too much work. It’s friction that gets in the way of content creation.

If I want to, I can create a WordPress post directly from my iPhone while travelling using the WordPress app. Or from my iPad.

Because Jekyll and Hugo have not front end, the way to create a post from a mobile device with a static site generator is to string together a solution using GitHub and Dropbox and a bunch of other third-party services.

I think Static Site Generators are great for creating static websites. For example, a business, church or organization website that doesn’t update very often. I think they are the wrong solution for a blog.


Learning WordPress Then Jekyll (Daniel Brinneman)

In theory, I’m happy with this setup. No more database and security issues tied to that. No more slow loading. Twig and Collections are enough for creating the functions and section pulls that I need and the last thing I’m wrapping my mind around is images and I’m sure that Gulp (runs tasks you write to do functions you need, like resizing thumbs for images) will be next on the list for creating responsive images for mobile screens.

I don't get paid for web development anymore. I still use WordPress on my main website because I want 100% ownership and control of my content. I want to allow comments from the community and other readers who won't have a website and those who can't be bothered with Webmentions. That rules out the use of static site generators such as Jekyll and Hugo. I don't trust Disqus with my comments. They can shut down or change the terms of service just as easily as Google+ can be shut down.

However, one of my websites is mostly just static content and I don't need a commenting system. I am creating a plan to move that website to Hugo. I am not interested in learning more than is necessary to create and maintain the site. I don't want to learn the Go language. I don't want to learn more than necessary about the underlying technlogy. I care about the content. Anything that detracts from that will be ignored.

If I run into a technical problem, I will resolve it and then move on.

My youngest kid is in a senior in high school and the eldest is a junior in college. I want to spend more time with my youngest before she leaves for college next year. I want to spend time with my wife doing some of the things we put off while the kids were younger.

Island in the Net used to be more about technology and geekery but in the last few years it has been focused on my photography.

Migrating Monkey Hill, LLC from WordPress to a Static Site

It's a project that I have procrastinated on for some time.

It's a project that I have procrastinated on for some time. I created the website for my consulting business and hosted it on WordPress because that's what I know. WordPress is inside my comfort zone.

However, the website serves mostly static content. There are a few blog posts, but I rarely post to the blog. The site is a few static pages plus those blog posts, no comments except via Webmentions. Moving to a static site would require fewer resources on the server, improve web site performance and require less maintenance effort from me.

I may even be able to save money. Currently, this website is hosted on a Digital Ocean VPS for about $5/month. I could move the static content to the same host as my Island in the Net website under the same web server instance. I think the performance impact on Island in the Net would be minimal.

The important question right now is whether to export the current content to static HTML and leave that way or export to Markdown and use a static site generator? The advantage of the former is that I can export the website as it and tweak the HTML as needed. The disadvantage is that I am not good at theming, and changing the look of the website would be challenging.

The advantage of a static site generator is that I know how to edit Markdown and changing the look of the website would be easier; I'd change the theming files.