Skip to main content

Looking over the fence at Eleventy

First of all: I’m happy with Astro. It’s an exciting project that provides the tools necessary to build websites in the way I want to build them. The future is bright for Astro.

But… I still find myself looking at alternatives. I’ve written previously about Astro’s relentless releases, and it continues to be a source of stress for me.1 Every other week it’s a fresh release and reminder that I am behind. Are there alternatives that provide me some of the same features without the release cadence?

Thanks to the recent “International Symposium On Making Web Sites Real Good” conference and its positive reviews, Eleventy has caught my eye again. Robin Rendle’s recent experience returning to Eleventy was insightful. Once upon a time this site was previously built with Eleventy, and I liked it too… until I didn’t.

Eleventy was fast and focused, but the lack of opinions meant that you could easily architect yourself into a corner. I was so bogged down with Nunjucks templates, filters, and shortcodes in the end that I gave up and rebuilt in Astro.

That said, I still admire what Zach Leatherman is doing with Eleventy. and the community that he is building. I like the ethos, and that gives me confidence in where the project will be in 3-5 years. Can I say the same for Astro?2

I’m not going to re-write this site. But I think I’m going to reach for Eleventy the next time I’m building a simple or long-lived website. If all I need is a way to generate a bunch of HTML with linked CSS and JavaScript, Eleventy seems like the better option of the two.


  1. At the time of writing, I am five minor releases behind and counting.

  2. I think the answer is no. They have received venture capital and need to find some way to make a return on that investment. Since I’m not a paying customer, I don’t have great confidence that the project will grow in the direction that meets my needs.