Developing a DocPad website and deploying it to an Ubuntu server
January 18, 2015
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of development in Node.js and decided I was going to change my website over to a Node.js-powered tool. I was looking for something lightweight, simple, and optimized for developers.
My experience with DocPad
After a bit of research, I opted to try Docpad, an open-source static site generator built using Node.js. This tool is a pretty good tool for developers, allowing you to author your content in Markdown format and generate static HTML files. I opted for a database-free installation, so all of my site’s content can be checked into version control as text files that are later generated into HTML on the server.
There are still a few quirks with it, and, from my experience, and that of others, performance during development can be slow or come to a halt (i.e. file watching and re-rendering)—and this problem grows as your site does—but it works for small, low-maintenance sites. I would not personally use it for enterprise or client sites—unless your client’s site will be very small and they will be completely hands-off—but it’s a great, open-source tool with a good amount of plugins available for commonly desired functionality and build tools. At the time of this article, DocPad is actively being maintained.
I think DocPad is in its early stages and has a lot of potential to be a great tool for developer websites provided that the performance kinks get worked out.
Serving a DocPad website on Ubuntu
Ubuntu is my operating system of choice when it comes to serving a website.
Digital Ocean is an affordable VPS platform with plans as low as $5 per month with 512 MB of RAM and 20 GB of storage on a solid-state drive. A LAMP stack would require the next plan up to run reliably but the $5 plan works great for a static site with minimal dynamic functionality.
I wrote a tutorial for Digital Ocean that provides step-by-step instructions on deploying a DocPad website to Ubuntu.
If you are interested in learning how to serve a DocPad website on an Ubuntu VPS, please see the tutorial article How to Deploy a DocPad Application on Ubuntu.