When your main focus in web publishing is the publishing part, when you mostly want to provide text, many of the tools of the trade like Wordpress seem overly complicated and may cause security risks. Pure static website generation, the old, HTML ways on the other hand is just icky and not expecially user-friendly either. After all, you don’t want to manage a database or write syntax, you want to write, right?

Static Website Generators are programs that, in the most simplistic explanation, take a template and text files (often Markdown and convert them into a HTML, low-weight website. They have started out as individual little scripts gobbled together by people who scratched their individual needs, or were included in text editing software (technically, both Microsoft Word as well as emacs’s orgmode would qualify as that), and today often come as scripts that can both create static variants or provide little webservers so you can see before you distribute.

Jekyll

My site is currently being created with a jekyll-based workflow.

Jekyll is a Ruby-based SSG that takes Markdown files and Liquid templates.

There are some plugins.

Jekyll is the technology behind GitHub Pages and actuively sponsored. There are several hundred contributors - it’s unlikely Jekyll will go away anytime soon.

Hugo

For me personally, Hugo feels like a newcomer to the scene, even though apparently it has a more active dev community than Jekyll.

Hugo is based on Go.

There is some move from Jekyll to Hugo lately, and you can find several scripts on GitHub to convert from Jekyll to Hugo - I am considering to change my site as well, mostly because I like the concept of shortcodes.

Gatsby

Javascript-based, GraphQL-supporting and with a crazy amount of plugins, Gatsby is a favorite of “well-known, large scale” websites (or at least that’s how they like to present themselves). From the documentation, and from what I have heard people say, this is not your relatively easy standard SSG, it needs some setup to work.

Asciidoc

Technically, less of a SSG, more a document creation framework like LaTeX, Asciidoc usually is being used by software engineers who like to write documentation in a way that is friendly to VCSs. It has it’s own input format, and changing the default template for site generation is not particularly easy, but the asciidoc format allows for things that markdown simply does not provide, such as using variables in text files that are evaluated during export generation, linking different files together into one website and the option to also export to PDFs, should the need arise.