Static website editors

The vision of Netscape Composer and HotDog, finally realised

December 30, 2014 — October 10, 2023

computers are awful together
doing internet
faster pussycat
plain text
Figure 1

This website is a static site, by which I mean, it is a folder of files on my hard drive. Se static sites for more on that. My editor is VS code, which is a code editor, and which I basically live in so it is comfortable for me. People who are not full-time nerds might like a friendlier interface. This is where I list friendly GUI apps that can edit such a site.

1 Local editors

If your static site system comes with some kind of app that will edit that site it is called a CMS, for content management system. There is a continuum between that and an editor with integrated static site generator capabilities. Also there is no sharp distinction truly between online and offline editors, for all that I have tried to make one below for the sake of simplicity. Sometimes the local CMS can run on the internet, sometimes that would be unwise or inconvenient.

If you use markdown, which is the de facto standard markup for plain text blogging, it might be a good start to simply preview that in the old code editor. If you are using some other weirder specialised markup, I wish you good luck, but I will not assist. Presumably if you know enough to do that, you know the consequences.

Preview tools, that show you plain text as rendered web-style HTML, make it all nicer.

1.1 Note taking systems with export function

See note taking.

1.2 Stackbit

Now owned by Netlifyand seemingly where their frontend development budget goes now.’ Looks very cool, but the pricing steps price mw out. Their free plan is trivial and only handle “one project” and two templates”, and the next plan up from that is USD449/month.

Stackbit Docs

1.3 Lektor

Lektor is a static site generator with an integrated local CMS that looks Wordpress-like. For people who are comfortable installing local python apps, and doing command-line stuff, but after that things are easy.

1.4 Publii

publii is a desktop-based CMS with integrated site generator for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is great that you can just download and go; it sidesteps the git-based workflows. However, things seem to get rather complicated if the blog is shared between people. At that point it starts to feel that the “simplicity” is rather complicated; sharing stuff via google drive is crap compared to git. Concealing the complexity does not eliminate it.

1.5 Misc editors

  • Text editors Atom and vs code have built-in markdown preview, which is rough but often helps.

  • RStudio has sophisticated integration with blogdown blogs.

  • (USD4/month)

    A blogging platform with no interface

    Why a blogging platform with no interface? So you can blog with your favorite tools. Blot turns a folder into a blog. Drag-and-drop files inside to publish. Images, text files, Word Documents, Markdown and more become blog posts automatically.

    Support mathematical markup.

  • Hokus is one just for Hugo sites. (Untouched for two years).

  • As mentioned above, Caddy has a built-in automatic hugo editor.

  • marked is cheap macOS markdown editor/previewer…

  • restview is a previewer for an alternative markup called ReST

  • mou is cheap and looks nice.

  • and (free! open source! mou-like design): Macdown

  • livereload turns any browser into a preview tool.

  • Experts can run a localhost dev server which will host a local copy of the website

2 Online editors

Websites that edit my website for me.

2.1 Decap


Decap CMS (formerly Netlify CMS) is an open source content management system for your Git workflow that enables you to provide editors with a friendly UI and intuitive workflows. You can use it with any static site generator to create faster, more flexible web projects. Content is stored in your Git repository alongside your code for easier versioning, multi-channel publishing, and the option to handle content updates directly in Git.

2.2 Tina

Tina, by the creators of, is a re-do of that. At launch is specialisds for NextJS in particular.

User experience last I tried it was ungainly; there weremany logins required to various different service providers (hosting, code, the CMS) and the default config didn’t actually set up a working site for me, and now I cannot work out how to even delete it. But the demos look impressive. Maybe it will get better?

Tina is a Git-backed headless content management system that enables developers and content creators to collaborate seamlessly. With Tina, developers can create a custom visual editing experience that is perfectly tailored to their site. Advantages of Tina Backed by Git

  • Both developers and editors collaborate on a single source of truth making site management harmonious.
  • Collaborate on content in real-time with live multi-user editing and change tracking.

Visual Editing

  • Get instant feedback with Tina’s intuitive sidebar editor. Allow your editors to preview their changes before publishing live to your site.
  • Select and build using your predefined components. Edit text. Adjust the style. Empower editors to edit.

2.3 Prose

Prose provides a beautifully simple content authoring environment for CMS-free websites. It’s a web-based interface for managing content on GitHub. Use it to create, edit, and delete files, and save your changes directly to GitHub. Host your website on GitHub Pages for free, or set up your own GitHub webhook server.”

It is indeed lovely and minimalist. The subset of markdown that it supports is also minimalist, so this blog looks funky if I edit it in prose. If you do not need mathematics and citations this might be a simple option?


forestry seems popular. It has a rather good interface and I quite like it, but there are red flags Discontinued.

2.5 Gitit


Gitit is a wiki backed by a git, darcs, or mercurial filestore. Pages and uploaded files can be modified either directly via the VCS’s command-line tools or through the wiki’s web interface. Pandoc is used for markup processing, so pages may be written in (extended) markdown, reStructuredText, LaTeX, HTML, or literate Haskell, and exported in ten different formats, including LaTeX, ConTeXt, DocBook, RTF, OpenOffice ODT, and MediaWiki markup.

2.6 Misc editor web apps

  • gitbook is a markdown website GUI and publishing toolchain.
  • Draft is a collaborative frontend for document editing although not AFAICT publishing.
  • Commercial option Cosmic can do lots of stuff, but for multiple users is expensive (USD99/month)
  • Wagtail plus django-bakery together render static sites from a dynamic database. One could fashion an UI out of these parts if enthusiastic.
  • cactus is a plain website generator, that features a GUI-ish client, cactus for mac
  • classeur attempts to be friendly for more than nerds.