Static website generators and Nikola
April 28th 2020
I loved the layout and colors I chose for this site, it was very oldschool, but it had to be edited manually. I wanted to use a static website generator for it, but I was to lazy to setup one. I also wanted to check out Nikola, so I did play with it a little locally.
The result is what you can see now. This is created with Nikola and it uses the Hyde theme.
Static website generators?
In the age of WordPress, and big sites with thousands of articles, why go back to simple HTML?
Because it is fast, more secure and it is way better for the reader. When you visit a website nowadays, the whole has to render every time for everyone. Huge waste of bandwith when people just want to read an article. The size of the website increased so much the last 5 years alone. It is crazy.
In contrast, static websites may sounds old school, but it works really well. You have a theme which controls how the website look, and you write your articles and pages in a certain format, which is usually simple text, and you build your website after that. The generator takes care of the links on the site, so you don't have to edit anything manually.
I use markdown for writing, so I can focus on writing and not how it looks. I also like that with a site generator you still get an RSS feed.
When I started using the web in the 90s, the most annoying thing was the autoloop animated GIFs. But it was still ok. The web was largely centered around information, now it's centered around ads.
While I like visual things, I will keep this site mostly image and video free.
Nikola is a static website generator. This is the third one I've ever used after Pelican and Hugo. I like the documentation, so far there was nothing I could not find in it. I am also impressed how easy it is to install themes through their repo. It is just one command and it downloads and extract everything into the proper directory. The only thing you need to do is to setup the theme - one line - in the config file.
I didn't like the theme variety though, basically it based on one theme, with little modifications. However this is only the main repo for themes, and I haven't searched outside of it.
I highly recommend Nikola if you are looking for a static website generator and you want a simple website/blog. It is easy to install on Linux and setting up a blog with demo content is one command. The documentation is excellent, I find it noob-friendly, although it is better if you know how to use the terminal (and of course a little HTML and CSS for customization).