Astro - static site generator made of dreams

Fri, Oct 29, 2021

So for the past few years I've been obsessed with static site generators (SSGs). At work we've been building a lot of static sites for clients, mostly using Gatsby.js. Static sites are great for a lot of things. There are also, as with all things, some drawbacks.


  • Ease of deployment - only requirement is that the host can serve web assets
  • Security - less surface area for attacks, since the only software running to serve a website is the HTTP server.
  • Speed - there is no database that needs to respond, there's no server-side application logic that needs to make any decisions. User just needs to download the HTML and assets


  • No server rendered dynamic content
  • Content changes usually require a CI build - meaning things like previewing content changes can be a challenge
  • Harder to implement / plan / think about


Before Astro arrived, I had actually thought a lot about building my own static site generator. I wanted one that could just run simple queries with very simple setup, use something like a simple file based router, along with just javascript to fetch content for each page and render through some html renderer.

The not-so-nice part of that approach is that if you needed a React/Svelte/Solid component for anything, that part would have to be manually implemented - and you have the potential of having some of your site component based and some if it in some other way.

So Astro's approach is pretty much the same as I had dreamed of, except that it also supports fully static renders of components and automatically hydrates them for you. Also in general the whole thing is thought out much more than I ever would have with some clobbed together stuff.

On top of that it has a lot of really nice features, including its own component system which just renders out html with no javascript.

"Framework agnostic"

So I re-implemented this website using Astro, and in theory could have gone with no javascript at all, but I also added a Solid.js based graphical element, just to figure out how well integrated the concept was.

So that part is actually super powerful. Not only does it server render your component, but it also allows you to pass props into it, as if it was all part of the same component system. So this is probably the first fully "framework agnostic" tool I've seen that works so well and fully from server to code.

I believe they are also planning an SSR-based approach, so you could have your cake and also eat it.

All in all, I'm super excited to see where this thing goes.

I think you should give it a try:

If you are curious how I built the site, you can take a look at the github repo: arnorhs/

PS. I actually contemplated naming this post " launches (again)", which would be an apt name. Because since last time I posted, I actually rewrote this thing in "Astro".