Archive for January, 2017

Searching for a static site CMS

I am getting fed up with WordPress. There are more reasons than one for that, but it being heavy and needing too many updates are the two major ones. For the first one; WP isn’t really that nimble. It is quite heavy on a server, especially for a blog that gets only a few updates and a few comments per month. There is no reason for all this overhead.

There are multiple blogs running on the server where this one is running, but together they are heavy enough to make a dent in the IO and CPU of that monster sometimes even though none of those sites have a lot of traffic. Some of them daily updates though, but that shouldn’t give that kind of load; a lot of the load is because of bot attempts to guess passwords, try out exploits and trying to post comments. With caching on (which they all have), it is ok, but still, these sites should be running fine on a Rasberry Pi I, all of them. That’s how light they are.

Second point; if I don’t keep updating, it will get cracked/defaced/abused; it is not a matter if it will but when it will. I have been trying out some static CMS software like Jekyll and others but unfortunately I do need some kind of CMS to keep clients and friends who run sites with me happy.

There are a few commercial CMS’s that allow static site generation with an advanced content management system on top of some open source generator. The most popular one in that space seems to be Siteleaf.

Unfortunately I want to be able to fix things myself when they come up, so I need an open source solution.

In my searches, I found a few interesting projects:

First of all, a very interesting tool you can add on top of a simple site generator of your own making, CreateJS. It is interesting because it is quite flexible in it’s configuration. You add RDF notations to your pages and you can start editing; it supports blocks, collections and more. When I have more time, I will certainly check it out again, but looking at the ‘small’ CreatePHP example of usage, I am not sure if I would call this a lightweight solution. Might not be a bad thing, but not now.

Second interesting project I ran into was Directus. A structured editor on top of any database/structure; phpmyadmin on steroids so to say (it is far more advanced). It is a flexible solution for many things I often need, but not this. Definitely something to keep in mind for another project that needs more than just simple content management.

The last one I ran into was RespondCMS. A static, WYSIWYG, bootstrap based CMS. It is very flexible with it’s plugins and content components and, using Javascript or your own API, it can be used to basically create anything you want statically and hybrid without writing too much code. It’s WYSIWYG frontend requires a bit of playing around with before you can use it in production. 

In the coming months I will play around with Respond and see if it works well enough to use (or if it is easy enough to contribute to the things that do not work well enough). Even the combination Directus & Respond for a hybrid static/dynamic system seems compelling. AJAX all the dynamic stuff with simple custom Angular components that go into Respond.