Static websites give you the advantage of being insanely fast. You might be thinking “static is fast, but isn’t it limited?” That was the case years ago—not anymore. Static tools such as Ember.js, Firebase, and Zapier give you the ability to create a powerful, fully capable web application.
We’ve been thinking about static websites a lot recently because we competed in a 48-hour, static website hackathon competition called “static showdown” the A team (from our very own ranks) created Plates, a static web application for sharing links.
Client Side, Meet Server Side
It’s clear that putting the majority of your website in the client will have a huge impact on speed. You no longer need to listen to a server to make logical (business) decisions. This is accomplished using client-side frameworks (Ember.js or AngularJS). If you have a need for a database, using a tool like Firebase can free you from a server. If you need additional functionality and interaction, using a tool like Zapier can save the day. You won’t need a beefy server either; you can get by with a minimal cost, low-end web server and still be crazy fast.
Your web application needs structure. Ember.js gives you the classic Model View Controller (MVC) framework—client side!
Firebase is part of a new breed of ‘Backend-as-a-Service’ offerings. As a data persistence service, it caters to Single Page Applications by providing real-time events of data changes via Web Sockets. This covers a big gap filled by post-back style web applications. Need real time aspects to your web application? Firebase gives you real time. It also is a fast and easy way to get data stored, without spinning up a server. There’s also Parse and PouchDB to suit your data needs.
Zapier is the glue that brings services together. You can use it to handle actions such as tweeting or emailing (yes emailing) based on Firebase events. It’s a way to automate the things that would otherwise require a server.
There are even content-management-as-a-service options available to you. No longer will you need a server just to host your dynamic content! Content from an API is on the rise. Contentful and Siteleaf are some good ones to check out.
Other Static Options
We also use Assemble, along with Grunt, to create our static web pages. This is perfect for simple informational websites. No need to throw a huge CMS behind a simple site. You get the benefit of speed and agility if you pair your static site up with automated deployment.
Static: Saves Time, Saves Money
Writing a static web application will save you time and money. You’ll be writing code faster than ever using these techniques. And you won’t need to throw a crazy powerful server to serve static files. It’s just not necessary! Of course this may not be the right approach for all web applications or projects, but before you start your next web application, consider making it static.