I built the first version of this website using WordPress and, because nobody was there to stop me, I used everything. It had a dynamic sidebar, categories, comments, search, and various archives. I learned a lot about WordPress, but after a while I realised it was a lot more than I needed for posting the occasional bit of text.
I looked a various content management systems, many of them claiming to be simple and elegant, but I was never convinced they offered any real advantages over the system I had already mastered.
Then I discovered Jekyll, a powerful, minimalist static site generator written in Ruby. Articles and pages are just plain text files; there is no default template or structure; and it supports all sorts of useful blogging features, like categories, tags, pagination, and archives.
The sheer simplicity of the system appealed to the hacker in me, but there are also other benefits to having a static site.
- There is no database and no server-side scripting, so a static site loads fast.
- Hosting requirements are minimal. You can even host a Jekyll site using GitHub Pages.
- Flat files are hard to hack, so your site is as secure as it could be.
So Jekyll does what I want for my site right now. It certainly isn’t for everyone, or even for me all the time. I still like WordPress a lot and a good CMS is still the obvious choice for anyone who doesn’t want to spend their time staring at the command line. And if you need comments, multiple users, search, or just the ability to log in and edit the site from anywhere, you still need a CMS.