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Introducing Contentz

Sergio Daniel Xalambrí
Originally published at sergiodxa.com ・3 min read

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 lines of JavaScript.

Originally published at https://sergiodxa.com/articles/introducing-contentz/

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I originally made my website and blog using Next.js with its static export feature, but building it on each deploy take a few minutes and required me to generate the JS bundles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 too, and the basic template took even more time than my Next.js 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 on my website like generating a service worker for offline first cache, and creating plugins to extend them would require me work with Ruby or Go, languages I don't use daily since I'm frontend.

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

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
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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
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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
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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

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

$ contentz build
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This will create a public directory with your whole website generated. You could now upload it to any HTTP server like GitHub Pages, Netlify, ZEIT Now, etc.

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
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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 even more features you could read in the documentation like slide support, analytics, i18n, Patreon support, and more, if you want some features issues and/or pull requests are welcomed.

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

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