I really didn't want to do this. I probably shouldn't have done this. But I did it anyway.
I created yet another static site generator.
The recent past
After investigating a bunch of existing static site generators, I eventually settled on using Metalsmith (and various plugins) to build my static dev blog. I even went so far as to clean up my code in hopes of releasing a zero-config static dev blog generator called md2blog.
But in the end, it just didn't feel right to publish a tool on NPM with 18 direct dependencies and over 200 transitive dependencies (including 6 different file matching libraries). I'm personally concerned about the NPM ecosystem's outrageous dependency trees, and their security implications (Dependency Hell 2.0?), so I decided that I shouldn't be further contributing to the problem.
$ deno run --allow-read=content,out --allow-write=out main.js
Additionally, Deno provides a standard library that has been audited by the Deno authors, so you no longer have to pull in modules from unknown contributors just for common tasks like, say, parsing YAML front matter.
Deno also has a focus on the full developer experience and includes facilities for testing, static analysis, dependency analysis, stand-alone executables, and more. Again, this means that you don't have to rely on tens or hundreds of NPM packages just to run some unit tests or publish a stand-alone tool. Oh, and Deno fully embraces
async, so no more dealing with tedious error-first callback patterns!
While Deno has some facilities for running Node/NPM modules, I decided that, in order to limit the number of dependencies I take on and to leverage async language features, I would essentially recreate Metalsmith for Deno. Fortunately, Metalsmith is so simple, my prototype was under 150 lines of code.
For now, I'm calling this module Goldsmith. Here's how Goldsmith differs from Metalsmith:
- As a result, permissions are limited to only the input and output directories, by default
- Native asynchronous API based on promises
- Will be released alongside a standard library of essential plugins
Plugins and dependencies
Given that most of the Metalsmith plugins I was using were trivially simple, I decided that I'd just rewrite the ones I needed from scratch in TypeScript.
Along the way, I made a few changes to further reduce the number of dependencies:
- Standardized on regular expressions for file matching instead of using various glob libraries
- Replaced my usage of Less with color conversion functions and
Current state of the tool
While none of the above libraries are fit for general consumption yet, the page you're reading was generated with my rewritten Deno-based tool. Other than cleaning up the code, adding tests, and releasing everything, the only functionality that is currently missing is:
- Command line configuration arguments
- Test web server with automatic reloading
The first one should be easy, and I think the second one shouldn't be too hard either (hopefully just a matter of injecting a script to connect to a WebSocket that pushes out reload requests based on Deno.watchFs()).
Update: Both of these are now implemented.
A parting note
So there you have it. Depending on how you count, this is either the 4th or 5th static site generator I've built. I like to hope this will be my last.