First released in 2017 by Joel Marcey
Docusaurus was born inside Facebook, where there was a growing need for custom websites to document the company's open-source projects.
"Since each site was unique, adding basic infrastructure such as a blog, consistent navigation, search, etc. became challenging undertakings."
To solve this problem, the open-source team set out to build a documentation template in Jekyll. It would serve as a starting point for new projects to provide all the basic functionality they would need, though they soon encountered issues with maintainability.
"Projects were free to modify the template as desired and apply their own project-specific features to it. So while projects share the same site generation platform, they have now diverted enough where they cannot take advantage of the new features we have added to the template over time."
The team went back to the drawing board and explored how they could keep their portfolio of documentation sites updated and consistent, yet be flexible enough for each site to adapt the platform to their needs. Docusaurus was born, and focused on the following principles:
Docusaurus powers the documentation sites for many of the tools developers use every day, including Algolia Docsearch, Jest, React Native, and Redis.
More recently, Docusaurus has been working towards their 2.0 to make quality-of-life improvements, including a better React implementation, Webpack for an extendable build pipeline, easier extensibility around layouts, and more. Sébastien Lorber, Alexey Pyltsyn, and Yangshun Tay have joined the maintenance team to push Docusaurus forward.
First released in 2017 by Zach Leatherman
The story behind how Eleventy got its name must be the sweetest of all the SSGs:
Some might think that the name Eleventy is an homage to Spinal Tap (turn it up to eleven) or more directly, Lord of the Rings. I chose it because of a story my grandma Nonnie loved to tell about how I learned to count. Rather than move from ten to eleven like a normal child, I felt it appropriate to use the teen suffix for the numbers eleven and twelve, counting "ten, eleventy-teen, twelvety-teen, thirteen, …" I always liked that story and it seemed as appropriate a reason as any.
Zach Leatherman created Eleventy for three reasons:
Soon after launching, Eleventy gained a cult following. There's not a single killer feature driving this adoption, but Eleventy takes some of the best ideas from other SSGs, mitigates their downsides, and ties them together in a well-thought-out package:
Eleventy ranked highly for developer satisfaction in both the 2020 and 2021 Jamstack surveys and boasts vocal community support. It powers websites such as Google's web.dev, CSS-Tricks Conferences, ffconf, and Lookback.
Get started with Eleventy on CloudCannon.
First released in 2017 by Rich Harris
Spoiler alert: Sapper would a successor in the future. (More on that later.)
First released in 2018 by Evan You
Evan You, the creator of Vue.js, released his take on a Vue-based SSG in 2018 with VuePress. Where Nuxt.js focuses on building web applications, VuePress is all about document-based websites, particularly product documentation.
The default template on VuePress gives you a documentation theme with many bells and whistles, including a customizable navbar, site-wide search, and multi-language support. You can even use Vue components directly in your Markdown.
VuePress 2 is currently in beta and is a significant rework of the framework led by meteorlxy. Improvements include:
First released in 2018 by Hans-Jørgen Vedvik
The success of Gatsby.js inspired Hans to create the "missing piece to the Vue.js ecosystem."
What Gatsby.js does for React.js is a game-changer in how we build websites. React.js is excellent, but we think Vue.js is more approachable for most web designers and devs getting started with Jamstack. Gridsome is the Vue.js alternative to Gatsby.
Gridsome takes a similar approach to Gatsby.js, using a universal GraphQL layer to connect to data sources. It also applies many of the same out-of-the-box performance optimizations such as image compressing, image lazy-loading, CSS & JS minification, code-splitting, HTML compressing, and more.
Coinciding with a return to static — an elegant solution for a more-or-less civilized age — we've seen the development of several SSG ecosystems in this era. But with Next.js and Nuxt.js pushing the envelope, some developers questioned whether they could take this paradigm even further. In my next article, we'll see why someone would create a full-stack web application as a modern replacement for Rails.
SSGs through the ages
Give your content team full autonomy on your developer-approved tech stack with CloudCannon.
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