This is a question looking for advice. My/our non-profit website distributing a free pdf physics textbook was started over 20 years ago. The site consists of about 80 static html pages that are coded and edited by hand with the help of a text editor and are uploaded via ftp. It is done on OSX.

I'd like to simplify the maintenance of the html pages, to keep them consistent. (Uploading works well and needs no special tool. A version tracking tool is also not necessary. A big website development system like Typo3 is also not needed.)

After 20 years, many software tools arose that did not exist at the time. What advice would you give to minimize maintenance of 80 html pages? No large overhaul and no big extension of the website is planned. At most one page a year is added.

  1. Would you keep using an editor? Which one?

    1a. An editor that can make use of HTML code snippets?

    1b. An editor that can use HTML code includes?

  2. Should one use a template engine? Which of the 200 different ones?

  3. Should one use a development environment?
  4. Should one use content management system?
  5. Should one use use an online website development tool?

Answer. Many people have emailed answers with excellent advice.

The simplest solution, one that needs no installation of SW at all, appears to be (1b), the use of an HTML editor that uses code includes. Alpha is an example of such an editor, found at https://alphacocoa.sourceforge.io/ , but there are many others. They also allow to update a whole folder of html files at once, after the includes have been changed.

Code snippets (1a.) are too simple to be helpful. Template editors/engines (2.) are the next possibility and also useful.

Development environments (3.) are similar to template engines, but usually for other languages, and do not need to be taken into consideration. CMS (4.) are too heavy. Online tools (5.) are too inflexible.

Answer 2 (final). It took only a few hours of work to clean up all 80 html pages using the method (1b). The advice to go for that method was the right one.

  • Questions that ask for recommendations of external websites or resources attract lots of self promotion and spam answers. In addition, answers to such questions quickly become out of date. Such questions are closed as off-topic. webmasters.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic – Rob Jun 29 '19 at 13:00
  • Thank you; I edited the question and took the link out. Self-promotion is not needed, given the large amount of traffic that the site is getting. I am simply looking for advice on software tools. – Motion Mountain Jun 29 '19 at 13:07
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    This is probably not a good question for this site. When I moved on from pure HTML I moved to SSIs, then PHP (which I still use), and now usually use CMSs. I would make or find a simple templating engine to write out all the common elements of the page (head [your TOPBANNER and TITLE] , aside [your LLMENU], footer, etc.) -- Wordpress/Django could do it, but it's total overkill (except perpahs to use multiple natural languages). I'd look at Twig/Smarty and similar template engines. Depends how you want to develop it. – pbhj Jun 29 '19 at 16:37
  • Thank you. I rewrote the question and the text to make it interesting for others. – Motion Mountain Jul 1 '19 at 4:26