Need for Open Source Comment System for static websites

Current state of blogging

After installing Hugo on this blog I came to the problem of enabling comments. In case you are not aware, Hugo is a static website generator. You write each post as a Markdown file and then run hugo “build” process to generate static HTML.

“What?” I hear you ask. “Static HTML?” I see your lips saying while your eyes increase in size twofold. I have to agree that I also can feel the smell of 90’s when I hear about static HTML. But there are very good reasons why static HTML sites and software like Hugo are becoming popular:

All that tech things are interesting, but they create a lot of debt and work. You need to update PHP, MySQL, WordPress, WordPress plugins, PHP modules, OS, etc. Using some hosted platform can be an answer, but brings additional risks and limitations:

Which can be good trade off for you, but it is not for all people.

At the end, sometime you just want to focus on writing, not technology.

Decline of blogging platforms and tech answer

Long-read as format is currently in decline. Blogger, LiveJournal and others either almost completely forgotten or loosing audience year by year. More and more people are using FaceBook, Instagram and other media to create and read small “snackable” pieces of content.

There is also new products appearing which tries to tackle this issue by enabling authors focusing mainly on text content and forget about tech complexity:

This website is currently generated by Hugo, which is some sense reminds me of Golang a little bit. Its like a breath of fresh, clean air after Wordpress. Just write text file with basic formatting (which still supports images, embedding and other things) and generate static html which you can host anywhere without worrying about PHP/MySQL/Apache versions and vulnerabilities.

Why blogs usally need comments

There is one bit of dynamic content which blogs need though: comments. Lets face it, if I just wanted to keep diary I would not need to publish it to internet, I can just leave this markdown file lie on my disk and re-read it when I want.

We want feedback, we want our ideas to be heard and interacted with. We want to interact with other people and get their feedback. This is why blog need comments.

Current solutions for comments on static websites

There are several options of what you can do when it comes to comments on static websites:


I was not happy with any of solutions above. This is one of the reasons I decided to write my own simple open source comment system. I will write about this process in this blog, the first post would be about requirements for it.


After I’ve shared this post, Kostya sent shared couple of links of other systems, one the most interested is: Talk, part of Coral project by Mozilla which aim is to create software for journalism. Checking out documentation, here are first impressions:

Its definitely worth looking at Talk, I like that they try to solve the same points (openness, owning of data, simplicity), but I am concerned about the size and number of components in their system. Need to get it up and running to see.