WordPress is a great product. I love using it to build sites and blogs.
Ruby on Rails is a great product as well. I’m still learning to love it, but most day’s when I do what I’m supposed to, it responds in ways that are quite powerful.
But both of these solutions are somewhat involved. They need databases and special environments to run.
Of course this has to be qualified somewhat. A static site is just that – static. It isn’t meant to be updated often and is limited somewhat in what you can do with it.
If those limitations aren’t a huge problem. If all you really need is a fast, static website… then I suggest that you look into building just that. A static website.
Different Way’s To Do It
There are numerous ways to go about building a static website.
Perhaps the “easiest” way is to download a free code editor like sublime text and simply create the html files and CSS files.
Or, you can download a bootstrap template and simply edit the information to fit your needs.
Then there are things like Jekyll, DocPad, Wintersmith, Assemble, Pelican, OctoPress and many others.
A number of these site generators are built to work with Ruby code, others with Python, still others work with CoffeeScript and a few other languages.
Middleman is Pretty Sweet
Over the weekend some our homework was to build a static website using one MiddleMan. Middleman, like each of the others I listed above, is a static site generator. It takes ruby code and compiles to give you a set of static website files.
I must say, the documentation on Middleman is pretty good, but to really make it sing you simply need to dive in create a new project and play with it.
I’ve still got some fiddling that I want to do with Middleman, but you can check out the static site I built over the weekend right here. (Don’t be too hard on it, there are still a lot of rough edges. Actually, I need to upload the most recent version now that I think about it.)
Wrapping it all Up
Static sites have a few huge benefits over database driven sites.
First they are stupid fast.
Secondly they are super lightweight. (This is why they are fast)
Thirdly you can host them almost anywhere for not much money.
And those are enough reasons, in my book, to give MiddleMan a try if you have a need to build a static website.
The only thing missing is your voice!