From Scratch in Zola

The 10-year journey of static site generators led me to Ruby (Octopress), Python (Pelican) ultimately to Javascript (NextJS). Minimalism was always dear to my heart, but in this iteration of my site I practiced ultimate minimalism, not only in aesthetics but also for accessibility by low power, low bandwith devices.

When I started my blog in 2012 I used Octopress (I was a Ruby fan back then, last release in 2015), then Pelican (Python) and ultimately NextJS (Javascript) to generate my static website. NextJS is powerful, however, it's too complex to add simple functionality such as RSS and Javascript library dependencies are just scary (security). On top of that, I optimised the site for aesthetics using heavy fonts such as Cardo (~400kb from Google servers) and quiet complex layout that was hard to translate to mobile. It looked great on a Macbook, but accessibility via low power, low network bandwidth, devices was shit.

Smol web & Permacomputing

You might ask why all of a sudden the change to become a smol/handcraft web, no javascript enthusiast? I got inspired by the concept of Permacomputing and folks like 0xff and Gavin who managed to pull off a beautiful, clean and functional site with few KBs. Other examples include XXIIVV's webring site, 250kb club ( is less than 10kb now, without images), Emersion, Max and the classic Motherfuckingwebsite. My made up requirements were modest: very simple CSS, dark mode, RSS feed, responsive design, no web font and of course markdown input.

A sharp tool

So I finally started this site from scratch again. And instead of building my own static site generator how all the cool kids are doing it (and what I initially planned to do, with the help of kerkour), I turned to Zola. Zola is a static site generator written in Rust and it's basically just a binary. The documentation is clean and easy to grok. Just took me less than an hour to create a theme from nothing. It worked so well that I decided to write a piece about Zola. It just took me a few hours to set everything up, and will probably (hopefully) last for many years to come.


This site is part of a webring