As we were looking for a WordPress replacement, we created a sandboxed website with Publii. Publii is a combo between a Content Management System (CMS) and a Static Site Generator with GUI that runs locally on your computer.

What do we mean by:

a combo between a Content Management System (CMS) and a Static Site Generator with GUI that runs locally on your computer

You can create your entire website on your computer and check all the settings from their UI (you do not have to code anything). It is a CMS because you have a CMS experience to write articles and pages. And then, Publii packages a static site in a few seconds/minutes. Once you are satisfied with your content and your settings, you only have to upload the entire website to a hosting provider (CDN or other).

We have been very satisfied to discover Publii. We think it is a wonderful tool to host static websites, particularly on Netlify. Furthermore, we love their premium themes and were ready to pay a few $ (every 6 months ... which is a weird renewal period) to use their Editorial theme. As bloggers, the solution provided by Publii is simple and easy to implement.

Positive feedback

For privacy matters, we do like the idea of a CMS that is configured on your computer. As long as you are not satisfied with your changes, nothing happens nowhere.

It is really interesting to use synchronization services to share your website built with Publii with other participants. You can use Dropbox, Resilio Sync, Nextcloud, Box, ... to edit files with a team.

The last step is the upload of your static website on the web. A static website is a very secure thing so you can focus on building your content and value to your visitors. They are safer than traditional CMS (WordPress, Joomla,...).

You can use Publii without needing a developer. Every blogger can use it. Publii is very simple to use and configure with Netlify. A CDN like Netlify provide a worldwide network. Your website will be loaded quickly for every visitor. As you host your website on CDN, it is as fast as the web can be. It is only HTML. And Netlify will charge you $0 (it may vary with other host/CDN). As of a few weeks ago, Netlify is now charging the processing time (we did not test this impact).

In our Publii tests, we liked a lot the post editor. As it is on your computer, you do not feel any delay and the options are good to express your ideas the best way.

Last but not least, the Publii app is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux as open-source software.

Negative feedback

The project looks good but may be a little under-staffed with few updates.

Every theme is built with Handlebar.js. It could be a better project with Gatsby or Hugo themes in our opinion. We are in a new era of front-end development.

The big bad side of Publii is that you have to re-upload your whole website at every modification. So we can see the use case for a presentation website but not for blogs. But they developed themes only for blogs... We do not see the point. When re-uploading, you have to work every image again and again. And it can get very painful with time. Furthermore, we are not granted very good Internet connexions in our country so it became a nightmare for a intense usage.


Missing an incremental feature for blogs

The project may become very popular the day they add an incremental update feature. It will be awesome. Note: we have no idea if this will or can be added in the roadmap. Meanwhile, re-uploading our website each time is not a viable option until we get a much better website connexion.

Edit 05/25/2020: with the release of Publii 0.36, the developers made some progress. Thanks to Tom for pointing that out to us.


Start of the weekly newsletter model

As per usual, we keep our word count the lowest possible. And for the first time, you can now subscribe for the newsletter. Basically, you will get the new articles directly in your mailbox for free. For the blog future, we are wondering about a weekly newsletter model. That could mean one or two big changes:

  • changing the random publication rhythm to a post every week (and this blog would only be the access point to the Newsletter model)
  • potentially a premium subscription model to cover the expenses we face running this blog/newsletter

We will populate this blog with more articles before switching to a paying business model.