How useful are static web generators, really?

I recently came across an article from Smashing Magazine that made a very strong case for static website generators. They even dedicated a website called StaticGen, as an open-source directory of static website generators.

Website generators have always been around since the dawn of the web. Aren’t they the same as static website generators in principle? Kind of. Checkout the search results comparing the two; it’s barely visibile, but static website generators first appeared in 2013.

More recently, developers began using them more heavily — as opposed to creating a dynamic website, which may typically have lower performance — especially if it’s running on bloated systems like WordPress or Drupal — or is improperly secured, configured and optimized.

With a custom dynamic CMS — like the ones I build — I get exactly the same performance benefits as a static website would — even if it takes several dozen files and database connections to render. That all takes from 1/1000ths of a second to 5/100ths of a second on my properly configured environment. To me, properly configured entails the website is secure & optimized for performance.

Despite my reluctance to utilize static web generators — they may prove useful in the near-future for automating development and deployment of several-page websites and apps, where the content is not dynamic. I do look forward to experimenting with and utilizing static web generators when the need arises!