Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Pelican

A comparison of Static site Generators

What even is a static site generator?

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I asked the all-knowing guru Google this very question, and found there wasn't an explicit definition of what a static site generator is. A static site is easy to define -- one that doesn't run any code, server or client side. That is to say that there are only html, CSS, and perhaps some purely-aesthetic javascript files (for things like expandable menus). Then we can say that an SSG is a tool that take content and generates a static site.

Ok, so what makes a good SSG?

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Well, it depends on what you want from your static site generator. Are you more familiar with python? Pelican might be the thing for you. Does everything you use need to be open source? Free of cost? There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right SSG. I chose to focus on some of the factors I really care about in comparing Pelican to Jekyll:

  • How well does it work with Github, and/or how easy is it to publish?
  • Does it support restructured text?
  • How easy is themeing? How customizable is it?

I've included some other important points in this slide deck, but these are some of the things I prioritize in my comparison.

What do other people think?

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Who cares? Obviously I'm the expert here.

I kid. According to the promising site slant.co:

  • Code highlighting (pygments)
  • Working with Windows
  • Import existing blogs
  • User friendly

Things that Jekyll does well:

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The Cons:

Things that Pelican does well:

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The Cons:

Things that both do well:

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This is obviously a pretty long list -- there are lots of things that both SSGs do well.

Things that neither do well:

Things that neither do well:

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The Conclusion:

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  • Well, what do you know; there are pros and cons to both of them!
  • Again, it depends on what your priorities are
  • But there are other options...

Other SSGs:

Listed according to beauty of website

And hundreds more (and even more!)

Thank you!