Sergio Xalambrí

Introducing Contentz

Contentz, a Pure Static Site Generator which let you focus on the content and gives you a highly optimized website.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article, in Spanish, describing what I would expect from my ideal static site generator, today I'm presenting Contentz. I call it a Pure Static Site Generator because it only load a few JavaScript lines to use Service Workers to cache offline the whole site and for analytics or slides support, instead of loading a lot of JavaScript as other modern SSG do.

Motivation

I originally made my website and blog using Next.js with its static export feature, but building it on each deploy take a few minutes and required me to generate the JS bundles of each article every time.

¡I tried Gatsby and the template took me more time than my website! Since I didn't wanted to wait that long I decide to migrate, fast options like Jekyll or Hugo didn't supported a few features I had already built like generating a service worker for offline first cache, or didn't allowed me to use MDX to extend Markdown.

That's why I created Contentz, it has support for MDX, but only server side, it import and use component to render HTML and it never generate a JS bundle for the individual page, this make the build process way faster.

Starting to Use It

To start using Contentz you could either manually install it or let it initialize your website and auto install.

$ npx contentz init my-blog

Once installed you will have a little configuration file called config.yml with this content.

---
title: my-blog
description: Just another Contentz site
language: en
incremental: false # Change to `true` if your server support keeping `.cache` and `public` folders

In this file you could start configuring more thing, like your website domain using domain: https://contentz.tech (required for the RSS feed). You will also have a pages and articles folders.

Contentz support both, custom pages or blog articles. To create a new blog article you could use the built-in command write.

$ contentz write my-first-article.mdx

This will create a file my-first-article.mdx inside articles. If you have the environment variable EDITOR configured it will try to open it automatically. The content will always be:

---
title: Just Another Contentz Article
date: 2019-04-22T22:27:46.764Z
published: false # Change to `true` to list it
---

Here be dragons

Now let's change published to true and build the website.

$ contentz build

This will create a public directory with your whole website generated.

Incremental Build

One of the core features of Contentz is the Incremental Build support. By default if you run contentz build it will only generate the changed files or the related files to those who changed.

This mean if you only change a single article of your blog it will not build the whole blog again, it will only do it for such article and the list of articles.

This could be disabled setting incremental: false inside config.yml. This could be useful if you don't control what files are keep between deployments and can't keep the .cache and public directories.

Offline First

Contentz generate a Service Worker configured to automatically cache any HTTP request to the same site and serve it fist from network and then from cache. This means after the user access a page of the website it will be automatically cached, if the user lost internet connection and tries to access again it will load from cache, but while the user has internet access it will keep updating the cache with the latest content.

Open Graph Generator

Create an Open Graph for each page or article is a boring task. Even companies like ZEIT automate it! Contentz has an open graph or social image actually, since it works as Twitter Card too, generator.

To use it run the following command:

$ contentz social articles/my-first-article.mdx home

Now Contentz will generate the social image for your article and the home page. Those files will be stored in the /static/_social folder, you should add them to Git to avoid generating them on every deploy.

Final words

There are more features you could read in the documentation, if you want to add more features issues and pull requests are welcomed.

If you start using it in your own website let me know on my twitter!