Why Static?

January 8th, 2021

Static websites are really cool. They load fast, they can look good with real minimal design, it’s dead simple to scale the elements in a static page with minimal css programming, and the webpage doesn’t take 200 mb of memory in order to load. (shout out to motherfuckingwebsite.com) Moreover, countless tools exist to convert formats that writers are used to (markdown namely) into static html with a simple command, and can be used to dynamically generate articles that can be added to a massive website seamlessly.

So why are they so rarely used, even for simple news sites?

Well, I really don’t know. It likely has to do with personalization, tracking, and advertising requiring dynamic loading of content using complex client server models with user authentication and whatnot, but the point of this post is to justify my decision not other people’s.

The main draw of static webpages to me is simple: it’s free through github pages. It’s also extremely simple to setup an ad-hoc hack build system that auto generates my html from markdown, which I find really fun and insightful to maintain. And if you don’t want to do that there is no shortage of other better designed systems to generate beautiful looking html (Jekyll to name one).

It’s really funny to me that a few lines of make and some text files can not only make a fully featured website with blogging capabilities, it also vastly outperforms most other ‘simple’ website solutions that target non-programmers while looking not too much worse. (although running make is definitely too arcane for the average non-nerd).

That’s not to say that this is inherently better than using a more complicated react based solution with an inbuilt editor, user auth, rss feed manager, etc. however for my purposes this static website is perfect. I can even automatically manage an rss feed using git hooks or Github webhooks (which I plan on doing soon).