I spent today learning how to create a static website with Middleman.

Middleman is a static site generator using all the shortcuts and tools in modern web development.

I’m a fan of static websites and excited to see that static site generators are proliferating like mad lately.

I’ve created static sites using Movable Type, Emacs (org mode), Hugo, Jekyll, and completely hand-coded HTML files. I wanted to try something new, and decided upon Middleman. Middleman uses Ruby and feels much like working with a Ruby on Rails app, which I’m familiar with.

The installation went pretty well. I did need to deal with some RubyGems issues, which is par for the course. Once installed, I had no further problems.

Middleman isn’t as easy out of the box as something like Jekyll, but it seems significantly more flexible. It’s mostly just Ruby in Erb templates.

For a simple blog, I’d go with something else. Most of the static generators lean toward creating blogs by default. Middleman requires extra configuration and setup in order to get rolling with a blog. Middleman should shine for building sites that are more complex than a basic blog.

As a test, I ported Fusionary’s site (currently built with CraftCMS). It took a few hours, and I don’t have the asset pipeline stuff worked out, but it was easy. I’ll try a few more, but so far so good with Middleman.