Introducing Plater, a static site generator

The Gist:

Want to generate a static site but don’t wanna read too much documentations? Know how to build a site from scratch but wants its header/footer/etc to be consistent? Wants to write your post in markdown, but publish them to html? If you say yes to all of this, then Plater is for you.

Plater is a simple static site generator made in Python 3. You can get it from its GitHub page. It’s not really beginner-friendly, but it’s effective for those who know basic Python and can already make website templates with Jinja2.

Basically, Plater does two things. One: it combines templates and contents (Markdown-formatted text files) into a html page. Two: it indexes some of those contents and create a html page that lists them. This way Plater can be used to generate still sites (promotional pages, documentations) or concurrently-updated sites (blogs and the likes). It doesn’t make assumption on what it contains; you get to decide that.

If you use it for whatever reason, do tell me how it goes! I’m always glad to know if the stuffs I made are helping people.

The Ramble:

I think I have a weird obsession with web publishing, web developing, and whatever you want to call putting things to the web. Weird, because it tends to be a bit more painful than anything that’s done for fun with near-zero acknowledgement should be, and yet I keep doing it anyway.

I started creating websites by messing around with HTML when I was nine years old or so. I suppose starting out so early sets me up to be the kind of guy who’s grumpy about bloated websites and greedy-for-features CMSes (hi, WordPress). I always prefer my websites to be lean and light and maybe hand-crafted.

(Now there’s an analogy I haven’t thought of before. Telling the difference between a hand-crafted website and a web app that has to go through dozens of pre-programmed loops is kind of like telling the difference between (say) factory-made clothes and one that’s sewn together by hand. One might be technically perfect but boring, the other might be flawed but charming).

I first heard about static site generators while looking for an alternative to having my blog on (bloated) WordPress. It sounded fascinating. Write your posts in Notepad, publish to the web! Lightweight! Fast loading! All the programmers are using it! All you have to do is pick one out of this million of generators and read whatever thick-ass documentation come with it so you know how the folks who made it want you to use it.

So looking up on them wasted way more hours of my life that I should let it. When creating my homepage a couple of months ago, I decided to quit looking and just make my own generator. It ends up being a bloody mess, but it works.

Plater is my attempt at cleaning it up and making it more usable for a general use. I don’t think anyone’s gong to really use it (I mean, who’s gonna even read this, eh?), but it’s good practice if nothing else. I haven’t done much Python programming lately. I also wrote a documentation for it, which is also the first time I’ve written a proper (ish) documentation for something I’ve made. So that’s nice. Good practice, if nothing else.

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