Static publishing is the new, uh, CMS. Or something. What’s for certain is that there has been a recent surge in interest in blogging platforms which publish single, pre-rendered, static HTML pages instead of generating those pages on the fly from some kind of database. The latest of these uses the venerable VoodooPad to generate your pages instantly, ready for uploading to your web-server of choice.
Why static pages? Because they load fast (they’re little more than text) and they keep coming, even when your server gets hit with a lot of traffic (when it’s “Fireballed.”) They’re also quick and easy to post.
This approach isn’t new. Blogger – Google’s blogging platform – uses static pages, and other platforms can do the same. The main upside of CMS systems like WordPress was that you didn’t have to wait for the whole site to be re-“rendered” every time you added a post. And you can even add static, page-cacheing plugins to WordPress.
But Static is about as simple as it gets. As VoodooPad developer Gus Mueller puts it, “Static publishing turns a VoodooPad document into a lean, mean, Markdown formatting, static blog generating machine.” Voodoopad is a personal, desktop wiki, an amazing app for note-taking and organizing, and the upcoming v5.1 will include Static as a free tool.
Essentially, Static takes your Markdown-formatted page, converts it into HTML and posts it to your web server (you’ll need your own server for this, or you can use the public folder of your Dropbox).
If you’re looking for a simple, easy to set up blogging platform, you should probably look at something like Squarespace, or (if you don’t care about reliability) Tumblr. But for the ultimate in control and simplicity (your whole site is a folder of text files!) then Static and VoodooPad might be worth a shot. Once you have it set up at least.