At its core, Engineer is a static website generator. In other words, Engineer let’s you build a website from a bunch of files - articles written in Markdown, templates, and other stuff - and outputs another bunch of files - HTML, mostly - that you can then copy wherever you want.

Engineer was inspired by Brent Simmons, Marco Arment’s Second Crack, Jekyll, Octopress, and Hyde.


Write posts from anywhere

Posts can be written/edited in Markdown and stored/synchronized using Dropbox or another file synchronization solution.

Preview your site locally

Engineer includes a small development web server that you can use to preview your site locally without deploying anywhere.

Manage your site remotely

Even baked sites need a little management, and many existing static generators require you to load up the terminal and execute a command to rebuild your site. Engineer lets you do that of course, but also provides Emma, a built-in mini management site (optional) that lets you do most of the common management tasks remotely.

Themes make it easy to change your site’s appearance

Themes provide flexibility in the site look and feel without starting from scratch or rewriting a bunch of content. You can write your own Themes as well.

Use LESS instead of CSS

Engineer lets you use LESS instead of CSS if you’d like. LESS can either be preprocessed on the server (requires that lessc be installed on non-Windows systems) or processed client-side using less.js.

It’s fast

Engineer outputs content quickly (and I’m working to make it even faster), and because the output content is completely static, it is blazingly fast to serve, scales up very well, and is completely independent of any specific web server or technology. Once generated, you can copy your site anywhere and use any web server you like. In addition, Engineer can optimize your JavaScript and CSS/LESS to minimize their size. Engineer is all about speed.


Despite all of these great features, there are some things that you might not like:

Dynamic things require a bit more work

Static sites can feel limited if you’re accustomed to doing something super-dynamic every time a page is loaded. Most of these things can be handled using either client-side JavaScript (e.g. timeago.js) or clever uses of the Jinja 2 template system (see the navigation highlighting functionality in Engineer itself for an example of things that can be done).

Might not fit your site’s needs

If you have a lot of one-off pages (Template Pages or other such things) then managing them can get a bit cumbersome. Engineer really excels when a majority of your site’s content has a similar look and feel and you can leverage the Metadata for a majority of your content. Engineer isn’t limited to blogs, per se, but it does make some assumptions that most of your content comes in the form of articles.

Only supports Markdown and Jinja 2

While ideally this will not always be true, currently Engineer requires your posts be written in Markdown and any templates you create be written in Jinja 2. This may change in the future, but for now you have to use those two languages.

Engineer is not a CMS

If you’re looking for a full-blown content management system, then... keep looking. Engineer is decidedly not what you want. Engineer operates on the basic principle that your content is stored in text files with minimal metadata in the files themselves, so if you’re looking for rich URL management, image/file manipulation capabilities, etc., Engineer will make you very sad. It’s not designed to do that stuff.



Engineer is primarily controlled by a command-line program aptly called engineer. It’s used to build sites, configure Emma, start the development server, etc.

Theme Infrastructure

Engineer exposes a basic infrastructure and API that lets you create your own themes or use themes that others have created.

Plugin Architecture

Engineer provides a set of Included Plugins plus a way to create your own.

Requirements and Dependencies

Engineer requires Python 2.7+ and runs on Linux (Ubuntu and CentOS have been tested) and Windows. Chances are it will run on most platforms that Python and the Python packages Engineer depend on support, though exhaustive tests have not been run.

Engineer has not been tested on Python 3, and almost certainly will not work as-is since I have been a bit sloppy in my use of Python constructs that are deprecated in Python 3.

All relevant dependencies except Python itself will be installed when you install Engineer. The complete set of packages Engineer depends on is as follows: