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DatoCMS for static websites

The first thing to understand is that — unlike other solutions — DatoCMS is API-driven and decouples the content of your website from the Git repository that contains the static website project. That is, content is created and managed independently from where it's used, and is always accessible through our REST API.

Put simply, DatoCMS is a client-friendly interface over a database – that means you can focus on your schema instead of a specific static generator setup.

To make the integration with static generators convenient, we built a set of libraries and command-line tools that let you declare exactly how content needs to be converted into Markdown/Yaml files, so that they can be "digested" during the build phase of your static website generator just as if they were written by hand.

Where possible — ie. with GatsbyJS and Middleman — we developed specific integration plugins that enable an even smoothier experience.

Advantages of an API-based approach versus a Git-based approach

Our decoupled architecture offers many advantages over the traditional storage of content within the Git repository of the project:

  • Hybrid websites: the content of your website, while being used during the build phase of the site to produce the static HTML files, can also be queried using client-side AJAX calls: this allows a whole set of new dynamic functionalities, like search pages, that would be otherwise impossible to achieve with static websites;

  • Future-proof: pretty much any present (and future) static website generator is compatible with DatoCMS. You are also free to switch to a different static website generator at any time, simply editing the configuration files that map remote content to local files;

  • Interoperability: using our REST API, the content of your static website can easily be used in other contexts (ie. mobile/desktop apps).

Guides

We developed a number of detailed guides for each of the more popular static site generators available: