Interview with Olga Skurativska and Thomas Jaggi: Static Site Generator Odyssey

As a diamond sponsor of the Frontend Conference Zurich on 27 and 28 August, we had the exclusive opportunity to conduct interviews with selected speakers. You shared your experiences and opinions about the exciting interplay between design and technology. Thank you for the inspirational food for thought!

Our frontend engineers Olga Skurativska and Thomas Jaggi held a talk about their «Static Site Generator Odyssey» at the conference.

To paraphrase Stephen Hay: There are 393 static site generators listed on https://staticsitegenerators.net. Do we really need another one?

If you filter them by JavaScript as the main language, you end up with only 72. But jokes aside, our main premise for it was to be as flexible and as fast as possible. That is why creating our own set of Gulp tasks turned out to be an obvious choice.

We use Estático to create static frontend prototypes for every project. It needs to be trivial to satisfy custom requirements. A perfect example would be a current project where we use React for specific parts of the website. Adding a new task to take care of the JSX transformation was very easy. Having a completely customized living styleguide is just as simple: We just modify the base CSS and templates used for these views.

How was the response so far?

We did not actively communicate it in advance of the conference but had already gathered some inputs on Github. When Vitaly Friedman tweeted about it during the presentation, we started to receive feedback like the following, which is exactly one of the reasons we decided to open-source our approach.

What is your roadmap with Estático?

Since it is the main tool our frontend team uses in its daily work, development is mainly driven by whatever problems or missing features we encounter along the way. An important task would be to write tests for every Gulp task we use. Currently, we only check the two most important ones automatically.

Which other talks did you enjoy the most?

Thomas: I very much enjoyed “Improving Web Fonts Performance”. It highlighted a very important fact: Web fonts are a crucial aspect when it comes to rendering performance and there are viable approaches to improve the current situation.

Olga: I was hugely inspired by Patty Toland’s “Design Consistency for the Responsive Web”. It was interesting to see what the communication between Filament Group members and their clients looks like. Also, she put strong emphasis on the importance of progressive enhancement. The presentation was full of real life examples of fantastic, complicated responsive websites and clever solutions. To be recommended!

2017 – Trends, business cases and strategic steps

Customer expectations are higher than ever before: In the course of purchase decisions, the experience factor is becoming more important than the price or specific product characteristics (Customer 2020, Walker). Therefore, we are convinced that in 2017, in order to increase commitment to their brand, companies will have to take a closer look at how they inspire their customers in the digital world.