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I have a friend that wants a desktop-based content management system -- one that publishes entirely to static HTML (and images, CSS, etc). What are the best options?

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closed as not constructive by John Conde Mar 29 '13 at 16:21

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Are u searching for the CMS which works without database? – Amit Gupta Oct 1 '10 at 8:33
I want something that publishes to static pages on the webserver. In that respect, there should be no database for the active website itself. Whether or not the tool uses a database on the local end doesn't matter. – Craig Walker Oct 2 '10 at 15:09
up vote 3 down vote accepted

See http://stackoverflow.com/questions/186290/best-static-website-generator for a relatively comprehensive list.

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Sadly, that question has been deleted, and there's no migrated version on another site. – Craig Walker Apr 22 '12 at 19:12

A couple of years ago Fog Creek's Citydesk was popular for this. But it's an orphaned product, the developers are not building on it any more.

There are several that I know of, but no clear 'market leader'. Most projects are smaller, and have a fairly small user base.

Therefore Jekyll is arguably one of the current 'market leaders', in the sense that it powers Githubs Pages, and thereby sees a fair amount of use. It's Ruby based.

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You could consider running a CMS locally to manage content and then use a website scraping tool to extract and upload a static version.

If you are running Windows getting a CMS up and running locally is really easy with WebMatrix and there is a lot of free open source CMS's to choose from.

Here is a sample approach - my selection of CMS is slightly biased, but it does contain a demo site option for quick proof of concept testing:

  1. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/web/webmatrix/ and install WebMatrix
  2. When installed, launch WebMatrix, create site from Gallety
  3. Select the CMS called 'Composite C1'
  4. When installed, launch it - 'next' through the wizard steps. Select the 'demo site'

The whole process can be seen in this video.

Once the demo site is there use a tool like HTTrack to extract website content - this tool should be able to sync with a mirror site - giving you the 'from CMS to static site' feature you want.

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Alternatively, there are CMSes that let you generate static HTML pages or full-page caches. So you'd basically do the same thing, except you just upload the cached HTML files instead of web-scraping. – Lèse majesté Nov 23 '10 at 14:56

How about http://www.tiddlywiki.com/ ?

Not an CMS per-say but it's an editable offline wiki, runs in almost all recent web browsers.

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Etomite is a lightweight CMS that has an "Export to HTML" option. So you can make your changes and export the whole thing every time.

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My company wanted something similar for a set of kiosks that we were running at a large tradeshow we hosted. Internet access was a problem. We found Citydesk and some other solutions, but they weren't as configurable as we wanted.

We ended up going really low-tech: we dropped an install of WAMP on each computer and ran the CMS of our choice. For one show, we ran a version of the company's website CMS, on another we ran Joomla because it was quick. Regardless, each option gave us total control over look and feel and it was easy and free. Couldn't go wrong there!

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Best option is to use FTP. You can easily add/remove/update html/css/js/images on your website with it. And a there is wide support for it in multiple software packages, either stand alone that only handle FTP ... or parts of bigger packages that create the content in the first place.

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That's fine if your site/kiosk/etc. consists of only 15-20 pages and won't get updated after it's created, but if you have 50-60 pages or more and need to maintain the site for a couple of years, then I would seriously advise against just manually maintaining a static website. At the very least you'd want to use SSI and a flat-file based CMS. – Lèse majesté Nov 23 '10 at 14:53
Would be better to use version control like Git, naturally. But systems like jekyllrb.com are becoming very popular and what they do is basically very similar to copying files via ftp. – Evgeny May 9 '12 at 5:31

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