Technically Feasible

Getting started with a Static Site Generator

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Michael Oldroyd

Finding a Framework #

There are a plethora of options when it comes to static site generators. There's even a website to find one best suited to you. A few options were considered, based on stumbling around and trying a few out;

Jekyll #

Jekyll was one of the first to come to mind. Sadly, if I need to learn a new programming language to make changes then that's a non-starter for me.

So that's a nope.

GatsbyJS #

Gatsby is feature rich and widely supported, with a plethora of community created plugins. It was very simple to get a starter blog up and running in a relatively short time, using the gatsby blog starter.

Unfortunately, I don't want to have to learn ReactJS and GraphQL to make basic changes. The sites generated are also JS heavy, and I have always been a progressive enhancement type.

So again, nope.

Orchid #

I looked for a toolchain which may map closer to my current skillset, in the Java / Maven / Groovy toolchains. This lead to Orchid, which is billed as a promising documentation framework and SSG. Orchid is written in Kotlin, and so supports any JDK language. The toolchain is based upon gradle.

Whilst it uses familiar technologies, there are not many community developed extensions or tutorials available. My love of learning aside, handcrafting every single feature myself is counter-productive to my goal. This project looks quite promising, and may well be revisited in the future.

But again, nope.

Eleventy (11ty) #

I stumbled across this framework whilst looking for help with Gatsby. It's JavaScript-based, and supports a lot of the same plug-ins that you would use for a Gatsby site.

The learning curve here is much lower, in my opinion, but you get much less to begin with. I may have to dust off my front-end a little sooner than I hoped 😁

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Michael Oldroyd

Michael is a Software Engineer working in the North West of England. Michael spends his days building hand-crafted PHP applications. Rumours of his super-hero status are currently unconfirmed. He savours his victories when solving difficult programming challenges; occasionally writing about them here, on his personal blog.