There's a new CMS in town, and it offers a fresh new approach to building a website from scratch. Publii is an open-source desktop app for Windows and Mac that lets you create fast-loading, secure static websites without the need for any web-development experience, and comes packed with modern options that will drag static websites into the new internet age.
If you're interested, you can head over to the Official Publii Website to get your download, or read on as we look at six reasons why Publii could be your best choice for your next, or first, website project.
1. It works right on your desktop
We'd like to think that we're always online, but the reality is usually that this is far from true. Between spotty wi-fi access on the move, service outages and throttling, there's many times that working on a server-based CMS like WordPress can be an exercise in patience.
Publii avoids these issues with one simple solution; it isn't online. That's right; unlike most CMSs, Publii is installed and your website created directly on your desktop. That means you can modify the layout, add and edit posts, tags; pretty much manage every part of your website while offline. And once your updates are finished and you're ready to add the changes to your website, simply click the "Sync" button and let Publii take care of uploading and replacing all the necessary files in the background. It's fast, flexible and easy as pie.
2. Publii-based websites are static, making them load super-fast
The benefits this provides are twofold, with the first being faster load speeds. Usually when a browser connects to a website and requests the website files from the server, it's not as simple as just sending the complete website; the actual content on a CMS-based website is stored in a database, so code must first be executed on the server-side to dig out the necessary information from the database, then further actions ran to generate the page elements and code, which can then be sent to the browser.
This is a simplification of the actual steps, but you get the idea of what's happening; a lot of the processing of the page doesn't begin until the request from the browser is received by the server. In a static website, all of the page code has already been generated; the browser then only needs to request the core files which are stored on the server, with no need to any time-consuming database queries, page generation or additional actions. What you get instead, is a website that loads blisteringly-fast, which improves both the user experience and your site's SEO performance.
3. Since the Publii CMS works offline, it's ultra-secure too
Hacking has become a constant feature in online news in recent years. As the power and ubiquitousness of the web has grown, so too has the opportunities for hackers to take advantage of weaknesses in software. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to find and exploit vulnerabilities in CMSs such as WordPress and Joomla! to allow them to farm information or even take control of a website entirely.
Thankfully, the teams contributing to development of these CMSs are keenly aware of the issues, and release regular updates to patch any potential issues. However, these regular releases mean that anyone running a CMS-based site must be constantly vigilant for new patches; failure to update in a timely manner could increase the risk of their site being hacked. Updates bring new problems too; code changes can lead to extensions, themes or other elements added to a website to break, or behave erratically, with the site owner relying on the creator of the extension or theme releasing a patch to fix compatibility issues; something that's not always possible. In the modern world, staying safe can be costly and time-consuming.
Static websites, however, don't suffer the same risks. Since the site code has already been completely executed and generated before being sent to the browser, there are no code vulnerabilities for a hacker to exploit. And since Publii is desktop-based, rather than server-based, there's no login-screen or other server access method for hackers to attempt to brute force. In fact, the only real vector for hacking your site would be via your desktop computer, and since you don't even need to be online to makes changes in Publii, you can easily mitigate the risk of your computer being hacked by following basic online safety guidelines, making your website even more secure.
4. Publii solves the common problems with static websites
Run a search online about the differences between static and dynamic websites, and there's always a few key points that cause problems for static sites. For example; each page must be individually written in HTML, so if you change your footer on one page, you'll have to go through every page one-by-one making the same change to keep things uniform. Static websites are harder to update the content for, since you have to manually modify the files, find the correct spot in the code to add your content, and make the changes. Static sites lack the options of modern CMSs; there's no SEO options, no styling options; everything must be done manually in CSS. The list of issues with static websites seems neverending.
But Publii is different. The website it outputs may be static, but the app itself is anything but. Updating content such as posts, menu items and headers or footers is all immediately available in the app interface, and any changes will be automatically disseminated between all the necessary pages; no need to manually connect to the server, no need to repeatedly add the changes to each page; it's all automatic.
On the design side of things, Publii includes a multiple themes, each boasting a different look and layout, and packed with unique options to control the number of posts on each page, their styling, theme coloring and more. And once your site is ready and you need to grow your audience? Well, you'll find robust SEO settings, social media share buttons, AMP support and much more that will raise your ranking on search engines and help your content travel far and wide across the wild Web.
5. Publii is beginner friendly
What makes someone decide to make a website? Is it the prospect of figuring out how to upload files to a server, how to pick the right CMS files to upload, how to create databases? Is it the subconscious desire to wrestle with updates, learn the difference between widgets and extensions, or reveal the complexities of CSS?
Noble as these goals would be (learning new things is always good!), for the majority of people the core reason for their decision to make a website is that they want to create meaningful content. In other words, the website itself is merely a tool, a means to an end; the end being the creation of a repository for their thoughts in the form of a blog, displaying their portfolio as a designer or creator, or raising their company profile and getting the word out to the world.
Publii is specifically designed to give people a clear path to realizing this goal; taking the comfort of a CMS, and removing all of the barriers that make building a website such a challenge. Users can install the app, create their first site and start writing their very first post in mere minutes; you don't even need a server, since Publii stores everything offline; it evens autosaves drafts to protect users from accidental app closures or power cuts! It's entirely possible to complete your website, from tags to posts, frontpage and author page, offline. Then, once you decide to put your site online, you can just purchase some hosting, enter the server credentials into Publii, and from then on you can sync any changes to your site in a single click of a button.
The Publii UI is intuitive, with large, color-coded buttons, clearly-marked sections, and a simple separation of content; one area for posts, for tags, for menus and for theme/customization settings. And when it comes to looks, there's a growing number of free themes that offer a range of page styles and frontpage designs, so whatever your site's niche, there'll be a style to suit. If making content is your primary focus, then Publii is a great option for simplifying your workload.
6. Publii is open-source, and constantly improving
The beta version of Publii was recently released, and included a whole bunch of new features, fixes and enhancements; over 100 of them, in fact. The idea for these improvements wasn't just cooked up by the Publii developers; one of the core principles of Publii's design philosophy is that it's development path should be built around what its users want. From the moment of the alpha release, the Publii team have been collecting feedback from a wide range of users, from experienced web-developers to newcomers, and using it to shape the feature list and development roadmap for the future.
The community is the driver for innovation with Publii; feature requests, quality-of-life suggestions, noticed bugs; all this feedback is taken onboard. But, being open-source, there's also room for more hands-on contribution. Publii includes support for Handlebars, and utilizes semantic HTML5 and CSS3 in its themes, so designers can dive in and start making their own themes or features. The community will continue to grow, and Publii will continue to improve, so why not come along for the ride?
So there you have it; six reasons why Publii may well be the solution you need for your website's needs. The beta release of Publii is ready for download on the Publii Website, so head on over there and give it a try; and remember, no matter your skill level, your feedback is valuable; if you have any suggestions for improvements or features you'd like to see, make sure to let the Publii team know!