Static site generators are all the buzz today. But what are they really? And how do they fit into the Jamstack?
A static site generator (SSG) is an invaluable tool when it comes to building Jamstack websites. In fact, the Jamstack was founded in large part around the abilities presented by static site generators.
Although SSGs have gotten hugely popular in the last few years, they have been around for a long time. And that's because they serve a fundamental productivity boost to developers building for the web.
In other words, when you type in a URL in your browser, you are getting parsed HTML that is specific to that URL.
While we can certainly build websites the way they are viewed — that is, one file at a time with big chunks of CSS and JS to support — it's super inefficient and prone to errors. There are a few reasons for that:
Static site generators offer a way around these issues by providing a mechanism for building sites efficiently and accurately.
The power of a static site generator is all in its build process. That usually means we run some command on the command line and the SSG turns our work into something the web can use.
A typical pattern for an SSG looks something like this:
What this means is we now have the power to write code efficiently, while bringing in content from all over the web.
This just scratches the surface, as is the intention with all my WTF posts. There's much more to explore in this space if you're not familiar with it. There are many more benefits to using a SSG today, especially when following the Jamstack pattern.
Here are solid trusted resources that may be useful further reading for you:
Of course, if you have any other questions, I'm always up for a chat.