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Static Web Rising

Every so often the web development world experiences a tectonic shift as new technologies inspire a new way of thinking about application architecture and development. We began our work at Intridea in 2007 by focusing on the then-nascent Ruby on Rails world. What was once a niche is now universally recognized and powers everything from tiny startups to some of the largest applications on the internet.

We love Ruby (and Rails) and will continue to evangelize and utilize it for our clients, but our mission is to make, not to make using a single technology stack for every application. More and more, we see a best practices approach including static web applications.

In some ways, static web applications are nothing new. They're made up of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript like many other applications. The difference is static web applications make use of modern browser technology to perform dynamic processing on the client instead of on the server. So why are we excited to build static apps?1

Broad Appeal. Static web applications are built using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. While web developers may specialize in languages and frameworks such as Ruby, Python, or .NET, just about every web developer (as well as many designers, entrepreneurs, and students) is familiar with these universal building blocks of the web platform.

Rapid Development. Using modern frameworks such as Bootstrap and AngularJS, and tools such as Divshot, you can quickly "sketch out" an interface and turn it into a rough static prototype. That prototype can then become your application by hooking it to back-end data services.

Simple Scalability. Static web apps are just files stored on a web server and sent to the end user as-is. They can be scaled to millions of users with off-the-shelf technology. You'll still need efficient, scalable back-end services, but such services are increasingly available from third party vendors. Static apps let you focus on your application, not your infrastructure.

Day One Modularity. All web applications at scale separate into some form of modular architecture. This allows developers to build pieces of the overall application using specialized technologies that are well-suited to specific problems. Static web applications encourage this modularity from the beginning by forcing all back-end data to be provided by services separated from the front-end interface.

Increased Flexibility. It's easy to build alternative interfaces when front and back ends are separated. Building a mobile application, exposing a public data API, making a command-line client, creating an administrative control panel, and more become much simpler when the back-end and the front-end are built independently.

We are proud to be an early believer in the static web platform and are closely tracking further advancements such as Web Components. Stay tuned to this blog and follow us on Twitter as we dive further into static web tech. Also, check out the Static Showdown a 48-hour worldwide hackathon for static apps taking place Feb. 8-9, 2014. We're sponsoring!

1 Content reused with permission from StaticApps.org, a community resource site for static web applications.

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