TLDR: I’m looking for something that would allow me to combine Pinegrow with a data-driven workflow, to build a completely static portfolio website.
I’ve been searching high and low for a web-development program, with three key details in mind:
- A visual-based tool that exports clean, static HTML and CSS files
- An honest-to-god desktop application that is not tied to a proprietary hosting service
- A data-driven workflow that can use XML / JSON / Markdown / etc to automatically create pages from templates, and populate those pages with content
My searches have brought me to the conclusion that right now, there is no single tool that can do all three. It’s more of a “here’s three choices, but you can only have two” situation, it’s almost comical.
Pinegrow does 1 and 2. Static CMS is advertised, but content appears to be saved directly in created pages, rather than being populated via an XML / JSON file (where a single piece of data can be shared across multiple pages). One common theme when searching the forums for information about master pages, is that updating master pages can apparently sometimes result in pages being overwritten by template data. This is discouraging, to say the least.
Wappler does 2 and 3. As far as I can tell, there is zero in-app access to site HTML or CSS, and the tool is better suited for creating dynamic websites that rely on online databases to function. Which is an absolute shame, as its data binding tools appear to be what I’ve pined for in Pinegrow.
Edit: Webmaster’s reply (#5) made me realize that I might’ve confused Wappler for another app – or simply didn’t look very hard, oops. Looking into this one much more closely.
Webflow does 3 and 1, with a big asterisk on both. HTML export requires a pro license, and data-driven content is not included as part of the export. Users looking to export their site from Webflow to static HTML would be better off using a site scraper. And again, all of this is a huge shame, because Webflow’s data binding process for their CMS is very smooth. (Scroll down to the header for designers: “Design your pages visually, with real content”)
I’ve looked into Static Site Generators, and it seems like the next best option for my needs, but what drives me up the wall about SSG is that every single SSG out there seems to require compiler environments or bash tools. As far as I can tell, there’s no such thing as a visual-based SSG.
I want to be able to build a personal portfolio/gallery that I can maintain, without having to create every static page manually. I can easily foresee myself updating and tweaking my site’s design in the future, so I’d prefer to keep all my site content separate from the actual pages, so that I do not have to repeat any process of recreating pages manually – but I also want to avoid using a Dynamic CMS at all costs.
Frankly, I enjoy using Pinegrow, but it’s obvious that it can’t fulfill all of my needs. If Pinegrow has no plans of adding data binding features to its toolset, then I’d like to use Pinegrow alongside another tool at the very least. But short of figuring out how to set up Broccoli to do what I need, I’m out of ideas.
Help? Advice? Ideas?