There are dozens of such projects now, all of them 1 or 2% different from the others, little differences that would be more suitable as plugins or extensions to a defacto static generator (Jekyll).
Instead we get a mass duplication of effort into implementing essentially the same thing, a common problem with open source projects.
What is really required is a dead-simple static generator, the equivalent to what Wordpress and Movable Type did for the old style of blogging. A simple app that ordinary computer users can plug their FTP or S3 details into and then publish.
I had a bunch of friends and family members who needed simple static sites so I generated it for them (this was before Jekyll).
I could use it myself, but I could never get them to do the updates themselves from their own machines.
Once Jekyll and the rest came out, I switched my own use over and switched everybody else over to Weebly, and then didn't bother continuing work on Floyd and just let it idle (I pushed it up to GitHub).
Each time one of these projects is released I scan through them and try them out to see if there is any new idea to pick up on.
It then occurred to me that a real innovation in this space is a lot of work and trial+error.
For technical people, you have Jekyll, Hyde, etc. For non-technical people you don't really have anything at the moment. I think a project with a web interface that generates files would be interesting, or having a folder of text files (or Word, Pages etc. documents) that are then generated and uploaded by double-clicking on an icon.
I know there are a bunch of apps in the Mac AppStore in this space, but I haven't tried any of them - so it is possible that this solution already exists. I am not so in love with the idea that I would drop everything else right now to work on it.
Edit: I realize my original comment might offend OP but I didn't intend it to be that way, there are only so many ways you can say "work on expanding the potential uses rather than reimplementing etc." without it sounding dickish
I got sick of trying out different static site generators that were all just a little bit too complicated to setup and install, so I went about building just what you describe - a simple, plug-in-your-ftp-and-click-publish static site generator. I'm still working out the finer details, but I'm happy with where it's at at the moment.
My guess is that if there's a battle of wills that's going to occur, the game will win. It's easier to change a name on a web project than an iOS game. There's months of advertisement that've gone in to Loren's Letterpress at this point.
Pointless trivia: In the UK, throughout the 80s and 90s there was both a (usually lemon) kitchen cleaner and a lemon juice called Jif. It didn't seem to cause any problems, although the kitchen cleaner became Cif for unrelated reasons.
I'm writing my own blog engine after Posterous' announcement. The way it works is that I create a static site which is upload somewhere, and it also publishes the post on Facebook and Twitter. Discussion happens there, on the social networks, and on the next build the comments are downloaded and stored in static files. This way when Facebook dies all the discussions will remain on the static site -- for good or bad. :-P
I blog since 2000. I used almost all blogging platforms. Now I'm switching to Jekyll from Wordpress. Most of the blogging tools, specially those with mySQL, have an unlimited growth of features. Instead becoming limited, and scalable with plugins they start to become slower as bigger in code to do simply blogging. These tools derivate to website making tools, wich is really odd.
I love Jekyll. I'm designer and I didn't had too much trouble to switch from wordpress to something local on my machine and deploy it to my own server.
Today is the first day I will be completely off from Wordpress.
Seems like another similar system to Jekyll, et al. I don't think many heavily technical people understand how alienating this kind of approach is to the average user. Wordpress is popular because its understandable, installation is done in such a way that its fairly easy and its powerful enough.
Static generation blogs may seem simple to us but to most people who want to blog they seem ridiculously complicated.
It's worth remembering that 99.999% of ordinary users will never switch to a static generation blog system, no matter how carefully it is explained.
The problem really is that somebody has to pay the piper.
I'm going to create a new rule.
Chester's First Law:
Essential complexity in the problem domain
is a conserved quantity.
Either your system absorbs and obscures it; or you push it back on the user somehow. Even within a system you can push it around to different places, but it never goes away.
Consider: the problem domain for a blogging system is take stuff from an author and produce HTML for readers.
Movable Type used to "build" a whole site at a time. Wordpress does it per-view unless you use caching. Wordpress won inter alia because the cost of the complexity was pushed from the authors to the readers -- and it's authors who pick the blogging engine.
Static site generators are like Movable Type, in that they take the essential complexity that used to be on the readers and push it back to the author.
A more complex system would strike a balance by proactively generating new cached output based on POSTs, not GETs. That would push both halves of the essential complexity into the system itself, away from both authors and readers.
At all times, the sum of essential complexity has been conserved.
Never used movable type, but if somebody made a fast static website generator with a web GUI, a decent online editor and a good plugin system, along with an easy-to-setup deployment system, why wouldn't people pick it up? Apart from the fact that they already use Wordpress, but this has no bearing on the dynamic-vs-static website generator debate. There is nothing intrinsic about static website generator that makes them harder to use.
But of course, in this case you should not aim for the sexy "minimal" label (or better, write a GUI leveraging an existing system).
If you're serious about Windows support, I'm guessing that you could use msys to make a zip (that's Windows for "tarball") with everything pre-installed. Then have people point-and-click on the launcher.
Of course, nowadays I hear devs have to pay Microsoft to have the privilege of not having Windows call their products viruses...
> Personally, that's what I'd like to see. A cms or email based blog that generates the static files and pushes them to whatever service/host you want (Dropbox, s3, github, FTP, SFTP, etc).
This is what I've been doing, after Posterous announced its retirement: http://code.dealmeida.net/nefelibata. You generate a static website from markdown files, publish it to configurable services (S3 initially, but it's plugin based), announce it to social networks (FB and Twitter). The idea is also that it will collect comments from FB and Twitter and add them to the static pages, so that discussion can happen on the social network du jour, but content will remain forever.
Wait a second, wouldn't it be more accurate to say the complexity had been pushed into the browser, affecting the browser developers perhaps. The reader might just have to pay in terms of waiting longer to read. Or do you mean "reader" is the browser software. The thread of the discussion started with (I thought) the difficulty for the non-technical user to install and use a static site generator?
I do think the concept of "conservation of complexity" has some analytical value in the design of software systems.
Wordpress is successfull because it is easy to install and hosting is cheap. Furthermore the basic wordpress set has very little capabilities. (but they are 100% blogger oriented)
However wordpress is a pain to customize and extend, i always found drupal was easier to customize for non developpers ( you have to mess with php pretty fast with wordpress ). Drupal is on the contrary a little more complicated to setup , but the basic set up is more powerfull than wordpress ( and the plugin system is better ).
That's why i dont think non php scripts can be popular to non programmers. you can just drop some python or some ruby on a webserver and expect it to work just like php does,
And few shared hosting providers support mod_python or stuff like that ( which is the shame because i see no reason why mod_python is worse than mod_php and we would have a whole generation of better programmers if people used python over php).
If you wanted a shortcut you could have tried Chinese.
It would have taken only one or two characters as opposed to 10, and you would be using a living language with more speakers than latin (including people that only know latin quotations and a few generic phrases).
While if I was deciding what terms to choose ab initio from the universe of all possible words in all possible languages, my alibi here is that I studied law for a few years. Most of the phrases I picked up en route are mostly obiter dicta, et cetera, with only limited utility. Others are enormously useful; "inter alia" has escaped into other parts of academia.
But while ceteris paribus it might be the case that I could use Chinese characters, English has a far greater de facto affinity to, and stock of, Latin due to the historical connection commencing in the 1066 Norman Conquest and the imposition of the lingua Franca.
>While if I was deciding what terms to choose ab initio from the universe of all possible words in all possible languages, my alibi here is that I studied law for a few years.
Well, you should also work on the "syntax" thing, for I find the first phrase above ("while if...") incomplete.
That said, you studied law? That makes two of us. Only in my case, "studied" mostly means I've watched every "Boston Legal" and "Law and Order" episode.
>Most of the phrases I picked up en route are mostly obiter dicta, et cetera, with only limited utility. Others are enormously useful; "inter alia" has escaped into other parts of academia.
Has it escaped because it is enormously useful, though, or because it makes for "pretty" and "refined-sounding" phrasing? Because academia is full of such, well, to put it succinctly, bullshit. (I admit that in law it can be well known and have an additional well defined role that augments the standard latin meaning).
>But while ceteris paribus it might be the case that I could use Chinese characters, English has a far greater de facto affinity to, and stock of, Latin due to the historical connection commencing in the 1066 Norman Conquest and the imposition of the lingua Franca.
Sure, but with the Chinese conquest of the economy and commerce space, commencing circa 1995 and the slow financial, diplomatic and cultural decline of the US, one could say that the era of the previous lingua Franca is over.
Res ipsa loquitur.
Err, I mean 用事实说话.
(Come to think of it: does this succinctness mean that the Chinese can write their whole life story in Twitter with room to spare?)
How would you add comments to something like this, if you wanted to have comments for some (probably idiotic and ill thought out, based on most blog comments) reason? Would you be able to embed disqus or something?
So to use dropbox for publishing, the author recommends registering two accounts on dropbox.com. Would that carry a risk of account termination? Sounds like an easy way to game the free space for invites bonus.
I hate when I can't comment on a blog, like right now I can't remark that comments are useful. And I can't comment that RSS is useful, and that I used it a lot in Firefox (not anymore in Chrome now, Google Reader sucks).