What are the best dynamic website builders

The best static website generators for your web project

Most websites are based on a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla! and Typo3. Modern websites enable visitors to interact directly with dynamic content and adapt the appearance to the respective user. A database as well as server or client-side scripting languages ​​make the interactive components possible, which, however, are not necessary for many small websites. Such a CMS is not required for static websites. Static website generators are the popular alternative. Find out more about the functions, possibilities and the best tools now.

What is a Static Website Builder?

A static website generator is a code framework that serves as the basis for static websites. Contents are not stored in a database like in a CMS, rather the complete HTML code is on the developer's PC and is later loaded onto the server. All files are structured in directories, with a clear separation of content and design. As a result, design changes can easily be made without changing the actual content. Most of the functions include a template engine that is used to create templates.

How do static website generators work?

Installation and operation are carried out via the command line. For publication, the finished code is simply copied to the web space; alternatively, it can be operated via a content delivery network (CDN).

The advantages at a glance

  • performance: The projects consist of HTML code, optionally of CSS and JavaScript code. Time-consuming database queries are no longer necessary, so the websites load faster.
  • High security: Fewer components mean more security. A CMS with third-party extensions inevitably gives hackers more opportunities to attack.
  • Version management possible: Thanks to the lack of a database, all data is in one folder. This can be managed in a GitHub directory, for example. GitHub Pages integrates versioning with a static website generator called Jekyll.
  • Maintenance & care: A CMS needs regular updates and is dependent on many modules and libraries. Static website generators do not need constant updates and there is no need for maintenance.

The disadvantages at a glance

  • Dynamic content cannot be integrated directly. Thus, for example, price updates cannot be implemented dynamically or only with more effort.
  • The processing of user input is complex. JavaScript is required.
  • The creation of content is much more complicated for non-programmers. An easy-to-use admin area with a user-friendly interface is usually missing.

What Are the Best Static Website Generators?

You can find more than 200 systems on the StaticGen website; the selection is confusing. The following selection briefly introduces widespread and popular static website generators.

Jekyll

Jekyll was founded in 2008 by a co-founder of GitHub and is also used for GitHub Pages. It is one of the most widely used static website generators. Content is created in Markdown, a language designed for formatting text. The markdown is integrated into an HTML template via the Liquid Template Engine. Jekyll works with libraries like Bootstrap. Existing websites can be migrated to Jekyll via the so-called importer, for example you can convert a WordPress site into a Jekyll site.

To the static website generator Jekyll

Hugo

Hugo is often compared to Jekyll and is newer. An important feature is the outstanding performance. The content is also written with Markdown and the template engine is based on the Go templates. Hugo is written in the Go programming language.

To the framework Hugo

Gatsby

Gatsby works with Node.js and makes it easy to use for experienced JavaScript developers. The Static website generator uses GraphQL and React, the programming language is easy to learn. Pages are created as progressive single-page apps. The entire page is saved locally and the navigation works at top speed.

More about Gatsby

Metalsmith

Metalsmith differs from the other solutions that manipulate basic files and generate output from them. The Static website generator is a framework; changes are made using plugins. The original data is converted into JavaScript. The result: Metalsmith is extremely flexible to use. On the website you will find a long list of supported plugins with an extensive range of functions.

To the static website generator Metalsmith

Middleman

Middleman has been in the market for almost as many years as Jekyll and is particularly suitable for programmers with experience in Ruby on Rails. The standard template engine is Embedded Ruby (ERB) and supports Haml, SCSS, Sass and CoffeeScript. Further extensions are possible. While many static website generators specialize in blogs, Middleman is the more flexible solution.

More about the flexible website generator

Pelican

Pelican supports different languages ​​for the content, including Markdown. The simple and powerful Jinja Templating Engine is used, making Pelican particularly suitable for blogs and other projects. As with other static website generators, a website can also be imported with Pelican. If you are familiar with Python and have used Jinja templates before, Pelican is an easy-to-use choice.

To Pelican

 

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