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commit bbf8442fb8f21780e399e03d1cfb42ed06ba98ab
parent 5922e1e3fd5af219a4a87f0df19219c1711f3ab6
Author: FIGBERT <>
Date:   Sat, 22 Aug 2020 14:52:24 -0700

:speech_balloon: Add Going Full Static post

Acontent/posts/ | 88+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1 file changed, 88 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)

diff --git a/content/posts/ b/content/posts/ @@ -0,0 +1,88 @@ ++++ +title = "Going Full Static with Zola" +description = "" +date = 2020-08-22 ++++ + +Those of you who read [my last "I Wrote This" post][i-wrote-this-three] will know that I was having some trouble with my website. My site was coded using [Sapper][sapper], a +[Svelte][svelte]-based web-app framework I had been using for some time. I had chosen to use Sapper because it allowed me to stay as close to the web-metal as possible, while +still letting me do some fancy things like use components, scoped CSS, and [server routes][server-routes]. However, after diving deeper into website tests and statistics, I +started noticing that my "static" site had a lot more moving parts than I thought. The HTML was crammed full of inline scripts and `blob://`s, tanking performance, wreaking +havoc on my [CSP][csp], and breaking the site for people with scripts disabled. I decided to move the site to [Zola][zola], a ludicrously simple static site generator made in +Rust. Feel free to check out the [source code here][source]. + +<!-- more --> + +## NPM Hell + +I decided I was going to rewrite my site ~~because I have a bad habit of rewriting everything all the time~~ largely because of Sapper's underwhelming response to [this Github +issue][strict-export], which proposes a "strict export" for Sapper sites to remove inline scripts and use of `eval()`. I think this is a great idea, but it unfortunately has not +received much attention (though it appears that as I'm writing this, it has been added to a "Roadmap Triage" project board). I started a new branch and began working to +translate my site to Sapper's main competitor, [Routify][routify]. Sapper and Routify are not the same thing, but for me they both would serve well enough. After around two +days, I had a working MVP of my site in Routify. + +Then disaster struck: I got a bunch of emails from Github. A series of high priority security vulnerabilities had been found in dependencies used by basically all of my web +projects. I spent a day force-updating all the dependencies of my web projects – a bit of a pain because npm refuses to natively upgrade breaking changes – and decided to stay +as far away from the Javascript ecosystem as possible. I hate that when I install a JS framework, a fundamental tool of modern web development, I install a million other +dependencies that could, and often do, have critical security vulnerabilities. I'm thankful that Dependabot caught these ones, but it really killed my enthusiasm for using any +JS framework on my site – which means Routify was out of the picture. + +## The Last Dependency Standing + +I decided to use a [static site generator][staticgen]. I'd heard of many of the big boys in the past, like [Hugo][hugo], [Jekyll][jekyll], and [Eleventy][11ty], but they all had +their own problems when I looked at them in the past. Hugo has god-awful templating syntax, Jekyll is Ruby-based and I don't know Ruby, and Eleventy isn't even an escape from +Javascript! So I decided to use [Zola][zola], a "one-stop static site engine" with **zero dependencies**. Zola is made in Rust, so it's super fast, and it's designed to be dead +simple. Seriously: the CLI has only five commands, everything is configured from one `.toml` file, and your content is all written in "[Augmented][shortcodes] +[Markdown][internal-links]." + +The interesting thing is that there's honestly not much more to the story because of how easy and simple Zola is to use. All of my posts and projects go into the `content` +directory, my CSS, favicon, and miscellaneous files (non-content related stuff like emojis and public keys) go in the `static` directory, and templates and shortcodes go into +the `templates` directory. If I was using a theme, it's files would go into a `theme` directory. + +### Benefits + +* My slow Python script to convert Markdown posts to Svelte (which was perfect at first but I then packed full excess tests and sandboxing) is gone. Zola handles that +automatically. +* I got rid of TailwindCSS, and replaced it with [custom styles][css]. It's actually pretty fun to write simple custom CSS, especially with modern tools like variables. +* Writing new posts is ludicrously easy now. I write a post in Markdown, throw any images or videos used [in the same directory][colocation], and publish. +* Zola comes with a whole bunch of features built-in that I didn't have before, like syntax highlighting and anchor links (the latter of which I have yet to set up). Other +things are just handled automatically, like feed generation or i18n. +* Build times are much faster. Exporting with Sapper wasn't slow, but it didn't feel instant. Zola does. + +### Drawbacks + +* You sacrifice a certain amount of control by using a static site generator, like [link][issue-681] [properties][issue-695]. You could solve this with [shortcodes][shortcodes], +or by contributing to the project (which I plan to do). +* I mean that's really it to be honest. + +## To Infinity and Beyond + +I'm really happy with using Zola, and I look forward to continuing to work with it in the future. I want to publish my blog's styles and templates as a [Zola theme][themes], but +I have to iron out a few kinks (like anchor links, which are still a bit finicky on my end) before that. I also have yet to re-implement a bunch of the indie-web features and +[GoatCounter][gc] analytics of my old site into this version. Overall though, I think it's been a really fun and productive experiment using Zola, and I'd highly recommend using +it for anybody looking for a great, no-nonsense static site generator. + +Until next time, FIGBERT. + +[i-wrote-this-three]: @/posts/i-wrote-this-three/ +[sapper]: +[svelte]: +[server-routes]: +[csp]: +[zola]: +[source]: +[strict-export]: +[routify]: +[staticgen]: +[hugo]: +[jekyll]: +[11ty]: +[shortcodes]: +[internal-links]: +[css]: /global.css +[colocation]: +[issue-681]: +[issue-695]: +[themes]: +[gc]: +