Initially this blog was running on wordpress, And you know the reasons for that. Wordpress is the most successful and feature rich blog engine. So I chose it without thinking twice, I didn't even search for a python alternative blog engines at that time. But after a while I felt the difficulties while adding some changes to the wordpress code, bugs with the wordpress plugins and more importantly the Web based editor is very annoying while typing new contents.
If we are considering the technical points, wordpress is a dynamic blog engine, it is an overkill for simple blogs and other wiki based sites. Main issue is the speed of page rendering.The static pages are way faster than the dynamic pages. I know wordpress has caching feature to improve the speed of the page rendering,but it is not a simple solution.
Actually above points are all came to my mind after seeing the static site generators and their awesome features.
Advantage of static site generators over Dynamic blog engines
- Serve html files directly, so very fast.
- Easy maintenance of the site, very less pain with server setup.
- Use your favourite text editor for blog posting. I'm a VIM fan :).
- It uses Markdown or Restructured Text Syntax for blog entry. So we just need to type the post in normal text with simple formating. So we don't need to worry about the html formatting while typing the content.This feature were attracted me more because the wordpress web editor sucks, and here I can use Vim.
- Host it on Github,Bitbucket. The entire blog is a set of text files that enables easy version controlling.
- Very easy to customize the Themes or other internal structure.
Next challenge that I faced was the selection of one static site generator from bunch of choice. There are lot of them are implemented in Python or Ruby. I searched for a few days to come up with a suitable one. Finally I picked up a Python based engine Pelican as my favorite. It doesn't means that others are bad implementation, but Pelican suits my taste better.
Here is the list of few major static site generators that I went through as part of the selection process.
Jekyll is a Ruby based system developed at github.com and it is very commonly used in Ruby world. I tried to use it because of its native github support, but finally I realized that we can do the same thing with other site generators, And other problems that I found on Jekyll was,
- Its structure is difficult compared to other site generators.
- It's a Ruby based one, I'm more comfortable with Python.
Hyde is a Python based static site generator like Jekyll but less complex. But Hyde lacks good documentation, and mainly a way to migrate from other blog engines. I can see that the project is getting more likes recently. I hope it will get into a good position very soon.
After checking different static site generators I was very confused with different types of static site generators that I came across. Finally I got the one I'm looking for, Pelican (Another Python based static site generator.). The reason for picking Pelican was very simple.
- Good Documentation
- Very easy way to use the Markdown texts.
The documentation has everything required to migrate your blog from other blog engines.And I liked the way it structured the blog posts and its contents.It got clear upper hand over other site generators, I don't need to think twice to select it.
Currently I hosted this site under Github, you can fork this project and give a fresh try to see how quickly you can set up a blog.