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Lightning (lx)


An opinionated—I dare say idiosyncratic—take on the static site generator, written in Rust,[1] and built for the very specific needs of my own website publishing. I do not intend to make this a general-purpose tool. It is public because I default to making things public, but this project is distinctly personal, and in it I will experiment freely and build exactly what I want over time.

Accordingly, I'm not really looking for collaborators, and I will not be taking feature requests. (If it works for you, that’s great, and if you happen to spot and fix a bug, I won't argue, though!)


This project's main goals are:

  • speed
  • ease of use, even for more complex ways of structuring a site
  • good out-of-the-box defaults (‘zero-config’, ‘convention over configuration’, etc.), but with human-readable and -writable configurability

It is an explicit non-goal to be an exact drop-in replacement for any other generator, or indeed to be useful for anyone but me!


  • Render Markdown

  • Templating

    • Taxonomy-specific views
    • Standalone pages
    • Fully customizable "formats" to enable e.g. link-blogging, podcasting, slide shows, etc.
  • Generate RSS

    • support podcast elements for RSS
    • render template not only into rendered content but also RSS/Atom
  • Server mode

    It's nice to be able to generate everything statically, but depending on the site it may also be nice to have an actual server application, whether for generating content or simply for serving it in a non-static fashion if so desired. (There's a lot of thought that would need to go into figuring out what this flow would look like.)

    • Watchers – I want to be able to tweak content and regenerate it on the fly, or especially to be able to tweak a template and have it rebuild on the fly.
    • SCSS integration
  • Embrace parallelism!

    • Via threading, e.g. with Rayon
    • Via async/.await?
  • Supply (and make it easy to extend) a create command and interface. lx create note, lx create journal etc.


  1. Because I've spent the last half decade fighting with different solutions, and ultimately found all of them wanting for my personal site needs—which are, in a word, quirky.

    The short version is: my online presence includes everything from academic papers in theology to series on programming languages and from the POSSE-style source of my microblogging to poetry to music I've written.

    I need a combination of things no other single static site generator provides, including:

    • custom taxonomies, allowing overlapping/non-hierarchical relationships beyond a single kind of 'tag': something might need to live in both Art and Family as top-level subjects, while going specifically in Poetry and Cat, while also being filed specifically as Writing rather than, say, audio. That kind of overlapping categorization exists in very few other tools.

    • citation processing (probably, at least initially, via Pandoc)

    • speed: I have a steadily growing site, and I do not want to be spending thirty-plus seconds to generate it when I just want to write a blog post. This means two things:

      1. It needs to be fast—really fast—right out of the gate.
      2. It should ultimately include a caching strategy, or possibly even a database, but should always be writable via plain text files.
  2. Because I really like writing Rust.

    There are other tools out there that I could bend to my will here, e.g. Eleventy, which I have bent to my will. But I'd really rather work out something new in Rust than spend time fighting with a plugin system in

  3. Because I want to see if I can make the fastest (or at least: one of the fastest) static site generators out there. When all is said and done, this should be as fast as Hugo or Zola or similar.


  1. And therefore, not to be confused with the other lightning static site generator: that one is written in Python.