Simplicity, consistency, and getting out of the way

There are many new methods for deploying web applications in a predictable way, fast, and while having fun. You might forget about system administration, database administion tasks, security updates, etc, if you get used to this.

We will get into details about the coding aspects and the diverse setup options in future articles, but for a quick introduction to how it feels like working this way, read on.

My toolchain for building and deploying simple sites currently includes a static site generator such as Jekyll or HarpJS and a static web hosting service such as GitHub Pages or DivShot.io. For example, for this very site you are reading now, I am using HarpJS and DivShot.io.

Here are the steps involved when I am making an update to the site:

  1. Run the development server, and see the result of changes live as I am updating my code (Markdown, HTML, CSS, etc).

    $ jekyll serve
    (or harp server for HarpJS)

  2. When ready to deploy, run the static HTML generation command. In the case of Jekyll the static HTML code is generated into a subdirectory called _site. With HarpJS the convention is to use a www directory you create yourself.

    $ jekyll build
    (or harp compile -o www for HarpJS)

  3. Finally, run the deployment command, for pushing the updates to my static host, using the DivShot CLI tool which is already installed on my computer:

    $ divshot push production

Period. Simple. Done.
A few minutes later, though I might need to refresh the browser cache to see the updated site, my changes are live for the world.

I have created the following presentation slides on how to get started with static sites, and I use them for a meetup I am currently organizing for people based in the Geneva area. Enjoy!

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