051 - Static Site Generators - Best Bet For A Low-Maintenance Website
9 Jan, 2018
They say every professional coder should have a portfolio available for potential clients and employers to review. Here’s a low-maintenance, inexpensive (or free!) way to do it.
The simplest and least expensive way to host a website is to create a static website (I talked all about these in episode 31). But hard-coding all of the pages and your entire file structure is tedious and not a good use of time, especially if you expect the amount of content to grow over time (like with a blog, for instance).
Static site generators allow you to set up a template for your site one time…after that’s done, you only need to think about adding new content going forward. You write the content, and the site generator will process everything into a bundle of HTML pages for you. If you don’t want to write any HTML or CSS you don’t even really have to…there are many, many ready-made templates out there so all you need to do is add content, if you want. Easy!
You’ll need to basics to work with a static site generator:
- Access to your computer’s command line (not as scary as it sounds!)
- A text editor (check out episode 39 for more info)
- Your programming language of choice installed
- A package manager or install method for getting the site generator
Here are some options for getting started with static site generators:
- You’ll need to get familiar with Markdown syntax for these
- Jekyll - written in Ruby, lots of free themes available (I can recommend Clean Blog), and host for free on GitHub Pages
- Hexo - written for Node.js, get started with a YouTube walk-through playlist
- Hugo - written in Go
- Gitbook - for book publishing
- …or visit StaticGen for 199 options!
No matter which one you choose, be sure to take the time to look through some theme examples to see the capabilities…some generators have more functionality & more flexibility than others.