As my friends, colleagues, and clients are well aware, I am a WordPress guy. Really, I love WordPress. However, sometimes (or often) the advanced functionality that WordPress brings to the table is not needed. Along with its awesomeness, WordPress has a technical debt cost in relation to hosting, security, and environment migration.
Enter the world of static site generators. What is a static site generator? Basically, it gives you the ability to easily create templates, a blog, and a super-fast, more secure website. The performance and security enhancements comes from the lack of a database and the combination of template parts on the user’s computer before being uploaded to a server. Instead of a database, static site generators rely on static files to store posts or lists of information. With this method, the web server is serving up flat HTML pages with great ease.
My static site generator of choice is Jekyll which uses Markdown for creating posts and updating content. Jekyll is the tool that powers the creation of GitHub Pages. With a GitHub account, you can use Jekyll to create and publish your site with a custom domain.
Also, here is a great list of 238 (and counting) static site generators other than Jekyll that are currently available.
A static site generator is a great choice for situations when front-end code needs to be delivered to a back-end team, or where the client does not need a CMS to constantly update content. Try it on your next project, and let me know how it goes!