Looking for help/advice on combining Pinegrow with a data-driven workflow

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:

  1. A visual-based tool that exports clean, static HTML and CSS files
  2. An honest-to-god desktop application that is not tied to a proprietary hosting service
  3. 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?

What operating system do you use?

I use Windows 7 and 10. My solution was to install Apache webserver, PHP and MySQL database for Windows. There are several options for automated installation one is WAMP and there are similar for other operating systems. I chose to manually install these as it gives me more control and options for scalability.

If you do a search in the forum there are multiple discussions and options shared on this topic.

Hi, This is a very good description of your desired workflow.
I was starting to look into this whole, SSG methodology a little while ago, but got somewhat sidetracked.

I will start to look back into it again shortly.
In the mean time, have you checked out the likes of forestry


the Free version there allows 3 people. It was around the same time I was checking out Jekyll and some of these…mm I will look now< I think I still have the browser tabs open.

ok yes I have found them.

Right, well I dont know if I should post any of this as it is just a list of things I was looking into ,

and then the old stalwarts, like Jekyll.

as I was thinking of starting off, checking it out with Github pages,

since they made and supported it and Jekyll uses Ruby, and my Mac has Ruby installed whereas a lot of the other methods or *stuff8 require quite a build system to set up!

But this would just turn into collection of links Ive looked at, although the hacker news discussion along these lines is interesting. as people push Wordpress and other pull back and rail against it.
Good! :slight_smile:


Windows 10 on my primary PC, though I have a Win 7 laptop too.

How does your setup work for you? I really want to avoid dealing with PHP and actual databases as much as possible, I’m not a web developer by trade. I’m interested in using a data-driven workflow, but I want to be able to output a 100% static site that I can just upload without any extra server-side configuration.

I have seen these three! My first impression of Forestry was that it offered a visual gui (of sorts) for posting via Hugo/Jekyl, which is nice, but I’m not entirely sure that it’d fit my needs. (I’d be the only person posting to my site.)

Jekyl’s dependence on Ruby immediately put me off. I know that Github has made Jekyl very popular, but I feel that I shouldn’t have to learn a programming language in order to make a website.

I initially wrote off Hugo for similar reasons (saw a bash prompt in the Getting Started pages and was immediately put off – command line tools are exhausting), but I do like that it uses a directory structure + markdown as input for building websites. I’ll have to investigate it further.

Wappler actually does 1, 2 and 3 - it creates clean and semantic HTML/CSS - exactly the same as pinegrow. You can alter code manually in code view or split view :slight_smile:
You can use its data tools to bind JSON data to static pages. So there’s no need to deal with PHP and databases if you don’t want to.

Heck, you’re right, code view is right there. Either I got Wappler confused with another app (I’ve looked at a bunch of them), or I just simply didn’t look close enough (also very likely, oops).

I did see that Wappler doesn’t appear to have a perpetual license option, which is a serious bummer (the option to buy a perpetual license is also why I keep looking at Pinegrow). But if it can really handle JSON data input for static pages, then I’ll have to dig deep into Wappler properly.

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Wappler brought me about as close as I’ve ever been to achieving my goal, thanks to its App Connect integration, but I ultimately had to abandon it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t have any static site generator features (in my case: the ability to bake data fetched from JSON files into static HTML pages, replacing all {{data}} with flat values), and that’s what I really want.

Well, well done on exploring it! and filling us in on the outcome.
how do. you see it proceeding now then? what do you fancy?

Seems like a combo of PG and WP API is in order… might even find a WP plugin to handle JSON updates.

Something else that might work with a little bit of coding is something simple like JOCMS.

I do hope that I am understanding the OP question correctly.

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Thanks for sharing – looks like a really nice, tiny CMS. :+1:
I am also looking for a data-driven workflow with Pinegrow. And something like this simple tool might become handy.

A little late to replying, but the way I proceeded was ultimately:

  • Make a template page that has everything I would ever need on any given page, with a little in-line CSS section built to simplify some of the per-page style rules.
  • Write up a document that contains all the information about every single project to be posted on my site. Title, description, alt-info, links for Twitter cards, CSS colors, everything.
  • Fill out the template manually, using the above document. Copy and paste. Delete unused HTML.
  • Do the same for the gallery index page. DIV template, filled out manually with info from the document, copy and paste.

And the results of my manual efforts are here:

Admittedly, I’m bummed that there’s nothing out there that can provide a wholly local in-program CMS with flat static HTML output via SSG, but at this point I’ve accepted that my wants for HTML tools are pretty damn niche. I’ll live with the manual work.

Well! that’s a BOLD website :smiley:
Some of the nav seemed to be lagging but I like it! It could have been my Mac maybe, but then went on and checked out your tunes!
SCORE! banging Gay Trot! super.
Loved it.
Now I shall look at it some more and try and figure out some stuff maybe, if I have time.
cheers for getting back to us :slight_smile: