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Charge is an opinionated, zero-config static site generator written in JavaScript. It supports a wide variety of common uses and it does it without needing to be configured or customized. It’s fast, it’s simple, and it works the way you probably expect it to. That’s it.


Yeah, I know, another static site generator. Let me be clear, I really did not want to make a static site generator. It’s really the very last thing I wanted to do.

I went on StaticGen and looked at every JavaScript-based one. I could not find a single one that I thought was simple, well-documented, had the features I needed, was actively maintained, and was designed and worked the way I wanted. So here I am, making a static site generator.


How is Charge different from GatsbyJS?

Gatsby is really cool, but it’s very different than Charge, with two particularly large differences.

Gatsby is configuration over convention. It can be used to build complex web applications, but because of that it can be very difficult to understand how to use it. You’ll need to know how to use Webpack, which personally gives me nightmares. It’s likely that you’ll need to spend time learning other tools and then configuring and tweaking Gatsby before you can use it for your site. Charge is convention over configuration. In fact, it has no configuration, it “just works”.

Gatsby renders pages client-side. That means it serves React and some related libraries to the browser along with your components in order to render the pages. Routing also happens client-side. Gatsby can render the initial page load server-side, but there’s no way to not serve hundreds of kilobytes of JavaScript to the browser. Charge uses React to render everything server-side. It generates a truly static site.

More practically, Gatsby is great if you’re building a large, complex website and want lots of control over how you build it. Charge is probably better if you’re building a small website and don’t want to waste time fiddling with configurations and cobbling different tools together.


Charge can be used for blogging, but it’s not a tool specifically for blogging, if that makes sense.

A blog is really just a set of patterns around how content is displayed. There is typically a list of posts, possibly paginated. Permalink pages. An archive. RSS and JSON feeds. A sitemap. Etc. You can do all of that with Charge, but it doesn’t have any specific patterns or configuration around that, which is what many people are looking for when they want a blog.

Put another way, if you’re looking to make a simple blog and don’t mind a little work, you can use Charge to build a blog in the same way you can use a static site generator to build any website, but if your blog is complex or you’re looking for something that just works right out of the box then you’d probably want to look for a tool specifically for blogging.

If you’d like to see what a simple blog with Charge might look like, here’s an example of a switch from Middleman to Charge.