This is a double interview with Michael Rose, who was interviewed by {static is} The New Dynamic. I borrowed their questions and answered them myself. Please also read his interview, as it is very inspiring.

Hi Joost, how would you introduce yourself?

I consider myself to be a front-end developer. I graduated as Industrial Design Engineer, but started as a self-thought self-employed programmer as soon as I finished my masters 10 years ago.

How did you come to adopt Jekyll as a publishing platform?

I already sold static websites since 2000, using Adobe Contribute as client CMS, and people asked me increasingly often to fix their hacked WordPress sites. That is why the Smashing Magazine article Why Static Site Generators Are The Next Big Thing immediately got me interested. I looked up what the most popular SSG was (a lesson I learned from using WordPress) and got started. Before 2000, when I started using Adobe Contribute, I was using a static site generator called ‘Merlin’, built by my twin brother. It was built in 1996 in PHP and was database-driven. It used a custom type of Markdown in combination with FTP for deployment. The rise of flat files for content and version control in Git have improved things a lot, since then.

What kind of websites are you working on?

I build websites for designers/advertising agencies. I think I build around 30 static websites each year. They vary from one-pagers to big corporate websites with all the bells and whistles.

What do you like about the SSG workflow?

There are two things I like about working with SSGs. First of all their simplicity. Flat files are easily viewed, edited, and tranformed into HTML. There’s no magic to process, you can build the workflow you want. Second of all their robustness. The fact they don’t rely on (communication to) a database means you have got so much less to worry about. Any hosting environment will do and security is not an issue (anymore).

What is your most favorite feature in Jekyll?

I do not really have a favorite feature. But what stands out about Jekyll is the fact that it has a solid community. I love things like JekyllConf, a Jekyll conference, the excellent documentation and the fact that there are so many different good graphical CMS systems. CloudCannon is absolutely fabulous, but Jekyll Admin and are pretty good too. These things are most definitely all related.

What feature do you miss the most?

Build speed is my main problem with Jekyll. Not for this website, as this one builds in under 5 seconds, but some of my client sites take several minutes to build. That is why I am currently porting this website to Hugo at I want to be able to choose Hugo when needed and might even switch to Hugo completely in the future.

Why is there so few Jekyll quality themes?

Yes, that is really strange. I think most Jekyll developers are people like Michael Rose. They are pretty good at CSS and they love to build themes and layouts. Jekyll also makes that really easy. Maybe it is too easy to build your own theme… I really don’t know.

Why aren’t there more webdesigners working with Static Site Generators?

I think a lot of webdesigners think that SSG’s cannot deliver an high-end editing experience for clients. They think manual image resizing is needed, form builders are not an option and that graphical CMS systems have too limited functionality. Also… clients often explicitly ask for a WordPres solution, as that is the only thing they know. They also often think that WordPress sites get the best Google ranking. So basically because Static Site Generators are not very well known yet.

Joost van der Schee

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