Static site generators focus on the wrong thing
Previously I used Jekyll for blogging. There has been a lot of interest in using static site generators for blogging. I think most of the SSGs get this wrong. The biggest requirement for frequent blogging is that friction to publish should be minimal. SSGs have this git comit,push cycle which is not very frictionless. Jekyll does not scale well. It takes minutes to compile in case you have lots of posts. There are other problems.
I have a hypothesis : The more advanced the SSG, the higher is the friction to blogging. Take Hakyll for example. Lots of people who start out with Hakyll post about their custom hakyll setup and its power and flexibilty as it can be used as a library in Haskell. I feel that Hakyll sites are least updated and most abandoned. Of course, there are outliers. But I am focusing on the majority.
The point is not that all this friction can be automated away. The point is its not the default way. The default way is full of friction. Anything which reduces the friction to blogging is great.
SSGs focus on the wrong problem. They focus too much on getting the non-functional requirements right. More secure, more portable, more flexible, more hackable.
The functional requirements in blogging are:
- less friction to publish - encourage more frequent blogging
- improved audience experience
- better analytics to understand audience
- help in increasing views
All these help in the ultimate motivation to keep blogging. That’s how the human brain works. It needs positive feedback.
Alternatives like Svbtle, Medium, Ghost are probably targeting the right problems and are good enough in non-functional requirements.
Starting today, I am trying svbtle to see if it naturally leads to more blogging.
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