#64 – Patrick Posner on Using WordPress To Create Static Sites – WP Tavern

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My identify is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox is a podcast which is devoted to all issues WordPress, the individuals, the occasions, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and on this case utilizing WordPress as a option to create static websites.

For those who’d prefer to subscribe to the podcast, you are able to do that by looking for WP Tavern in your podcast participant of selection. Or go to WPTavern.com ahead slash feed ahead slash podcast. And you’ll copy that URL into most podcast gamers.

If in case you have a subject that you just’d like us to function on the podcast, I’m eager to listen to from you. And hopefully get you or your thought featured on the present. Head to WPTavern.com ahead slash contact ahead slash jukebox. And use the shape there.

So on the podcast right this moment, we’ve Patrick Posner. Patrick is a solopreneur and has been growing with WordPress since 2010. He’s labored in all types of environments as a freelancer, a senior developer in a WordPress product firm, and since 2020 he’s been working full-time on his personal initiatives.

One among his initiatives is a plugin referred to as Merely Static. It’s goal is to make a static model of your web site. This after all begs the query, what’s a static web site?

Again within the early days of the web, earlier than WordPress, in the event you wished to place an internet site on-line, you needed to write the HTML your self. You opened up a textual content editor and began to sort. Once you’d completed, you had an HTML file which you uploaded to a server someplace. And if somebody wished to view that web page, the server would ship over that file.

It labored, however fortunately, it didn’t keep that manner for lengthy. Software program for desktops had been developed, which might create the HTML for you. CMSs akin to WordPress would take this additional and create the HTML and CSS based mostly upon the content material you’d created, and the theme that was lively. This was extraordinarily handy, however when all is alleged and carried out, the output remains to be the identical because it was years in the past. HTML, CSS, and presumably some JavaScript.

Relying upon your setup in WordPress, numerous sophisticated operations are wanted to generate that code. Caching apart, is there a case for saving your HTML information, importing them to a server, after which taking WordPress offline? Patrick actually appears to suppose so.

We discuss how this flattening of your web site takes place, and what the benefits could be by way of pace and the price of internet hosting.

We additionally get into the professionals and cons of adopting the static web site method. Are there any websites that are extra suited to being static than others?

We additionally focus on what options are on the market to make this occur, from Patrick’s personal plugin, to the internet hosting suppliers and SaaS options which allow issues like search and kinds to nonetheless operate.

It’s a extremely attention-grabbing topic and one that you just would possibly prefer to discover, and this podcast is a good primer for that.

For those who’re concerned about discovering out extra, yow will discover all the hyperlinks within the present notes by heading to WPTavern.com ahead slash podcast, the place you’ll discover all the opposite episodes as properly.

And so with out additional delay, I convey you Patrick Posner.

I’m joined on the podcast right this moment by Patrick Posner. Hi there Patrick.

[00:04:16] Patrick Posner: Hey Nathan. Glad to be right here.

[00:04:18] Nathan Wrigley: Thanks a lot. That is actually going to be a extremely attention-grabbing matter. I feel there’s going to be lots of people on the finish of this dialog who go away and begin to fiddle with their setup. As a result of we’re going to be speaking a couple of actually totally different manner of serving up your web site.

We’re strictly within the bounds of WordPress. All the things that we’re going to be doing right this moment is WordPress, however we’re going so as to add a little bit little bit of a twist, and that is the best way that WordPress is served as much as your purchasers.

Patrick is the proprietor and developer of a plug-in referred to as Merely Static. I’m going to hyperlink to it within the present notes. There’s a model on the WordPress repo, which is accessible free of charge. There may be additionally a paid model and we’ll get into all the totally different items of that. So we’re going to be speaking about static websites right this moment, primarily. Ironing out the issues, determining what all of it is and what Patrick’s resolution does.

Earlier than we start that, let’s go into Patrick’s origin story. Patrick, in the event you wouldn’t thoughts, simply inform us about your relationship with WordPress. Inform us the place you might be, what you do for a dwelling, how lengthy you’ve been doing it, and all of these good issues.

[00:05:25] Patrick Posner: Yeah, certain. Glad to share. So I’m a WordPress developer since 2010. And I moved from a number of steps into the profession I’m having right this moment. I began with an company as a developer, constructing shopper websites. And, after a few years I moved into self-employment and began getting some freelance purchasers. Constructing my first WooCommerce shops and extra superior WordPress web sites.

After a bunch of years I bought employed once more and labored as a senior plugin developer for one of many greatest WordPress product firms right here in Germany. Simply earlier than Covid, I made a decision to get again to self-employment once more, and since then I’m working full-time on my WordPress merchandise, primarily plugins.

[00:06:16] Nathan Wrigley: Thanks very a lot. You’ve bought an internet site which individuals can discover. It’s patrickposner.dev, and I’ll hyperlink to that within the present notes, however you possibly can see the vary of various issues that you’re doing over there. However we’re going to be focusing very a lot on one in every of your endeavors, which is a static web site producing plugin.

We’ll get into the way it works, that individual plugin in a second. However I feel to begin with we should always clear up what a static web site is. So simply to reiterate, we’re utilizing WordPress, however there’s one thing totally different about the best way that WordPress distributes the pages and posts that we save. So, might you describe to us, any quantity of element, I suppose, contemplating it is a WordPress particular podcast you actually can go into the weeds with this in the event you like. However simply inform us what’s a static web site? What are the advantages? Why ought to anyone making WordPress web sites have an interest on this?

[00:07:12] Patrick Posner: So think about stepping again 20 years. The web consists of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. You don’t have any database interplay. You don’t have any advanced server setups, simply plain information. You’ll be able to edit them instantly, you possibly can add your photographs, PDF information and different stuff. Which can be static web sites.

And because the world and particularly the web is getting increasingly advanced, persons are actually having fun with the benefit of static web sites, as they don’t should deal with with updates with a database, with advanced deployments and all that stuff. In order that’s a fundamental thought of static web sites.

They don’t have a database. They’re fairly safe and virtually unhackable as they don’t have any connection to a conventional server. So there’s no PHP exploits, having no database the place individuals can or the place hackers can fetch your person knowledge, or set up any malicious code or one thing like that.

One other actually helpful factor of static websites is part of internet hosting. So you possibly can principally host a static web site all over the place, on a fairly low cost commonplace webhosting package deal. However there are additionally a bunch of extra optimized internet hosting suppliers like Netlify or GitHub Pages, which cowl a few frequent issues. We might get into element a little bit bit later for that. However, let’s say 404 pages or a search integration or fundamental type integration, the place individuals can submit the shape and the content material of that’s forwarded to you by way of electronic mail.

[00:08:56] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, so simply to rehash a little bit of that and go into the weeds on a number of the bits and items there. So that you talked about that 20 years in the past, I keep in mind it properly, truly. For those who wished to browse an internet site, primarily you’ll go to the url, and in the event you inspected the supply code, you’ll simply see a listing of HTML, there could also be some CSS in there and so forth, and maybe some photographs had been linked to.

However usually that HTML would’ve been written by a human in all probability. They might actually line by line, have gone by and written the entire thing. And the one factor crossing the wire was the HTML. So the web page that you just requested was a file.

You’ll request index.Html and the web, wherever that was served, would offer you that file. That file was someplace. Quick ahead 20 years, now we’re into WordPress territory. And once more, there’s a complete broad spectrum of those who take heed to this podcast, and a few of them might not be conscious that the second you request a WordPress web page, a complete litany of very sophisticated issues are happening within the background, relying on what number of plug-ins you’ve bought and what it’s that you just’re requesting. However it’s not so simple as I request a web page, WordPress serves the web page. No, there’s a complete theming engine and all types of database requests are being constructed on the backend on the time you request them.

Now, usually, you understand, if it’s a extremely lean web site, you may not discover that it could be very, very fast. However while you begin to do extra sophisticated issues, the time it takes to construct that web page provides up. So what you might be proposing is which you could nonetheless use WordPress, however the output is saved and it’s the output which is served up similar to it was 20 years in the past. Have I bought that roughly proper?

[00:10:52] Patrick Posner: Completely completely. In order that’s precisely what the static web site technology does inside WordPress. You’ll be able to edit your content material in WordPress, however the result’s only a static web site.

[00:11:05] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, proper. So hopefully we’ve cleared that bit up. Now you talked about that there’s entire bunch of advantages to this. Primary, I feel, actually can be the pace. The truth that there’s nothing being constructed by WordPress. So seconds, milliseconds. I don’t actually know. It is determined by every particular person occasion of WordPress.

However the level is, there’s nothing sophisticated happening the background. You request a file, a file is served again at you, and in order that’s faster. Now, alongside for the experience there may be additionally the safety profit. And also you stated that these web sites are usually unhackable. And once more, that could be a thriller to individuals. Are you able to clarify why the safety posture is improved by going static.

[00:11:52] Patrick Posner: Yeah, certain. So safety is usually neglected in the case of static web sites. However for me, that’s as vital because the efficiency facet of it. So you could have principally a layer earlier than your WordPress web site. So you could have your WordPress web site, and the complete web site is protected by fundamental authentication, for instance. And even higher, you could have your WordPress web site in your native pc with a device like Native WP, and your WordPress web site don’t even contact the web instantly.

And you exchange the WordPress web site to a static web site. And this static web site don’t have entry to your WordPress database. There’s no means to execute PHP, for instance. So there’s nobody that may entry your server and do something you don’t need.

That begins with kinds. So somebody submits like malicious code in your type, and the enter isn’t actually escaped. So it doesn’t matter on a static web site as you by no means have the issues that somebody submits a type and will probably be instantly transferred to a WordPress web site.

The identical is true for executing code. So when you have a static web site, there aren’t any PHP information, and most statics hosts even block PHP information from executing typically. You’ll by no means have one thing like a malicious script in your aesthetic web site that sends spam emails or accumulating person knowledge you don’t need. All of that’s gone upon getting a static web site.

[00:13:30] Nathan Wrigley: So that you talked about the situation the place, and I might encourage individuals to discover this a little bit bit, as a result of it’s fairly an attention-grabbing situation. You talked about that you can use an area set up of WordPress. And so you could, for instance, have come throughout a device like Native, which is a desktop software. So you possibly can obtain it for the Mac and home windows and so forth. There could also be variations for Linux, I truly don’t know.

However you possibly can have an area model of WordPress and actually, it solely works in your machine while your machine is switched on. The precept being that you could be use it simply to check out a plugin, or you could use it simply to check one thing out that you just need to do shortly. You’ll be able to spin up an internet site, however that web site doesn’t actually have an internet presence. For those who swap your pc off on the finish of the day, it’s gone, it’s nowhere. It doesn’t exist.

However in your situation, you possibly can create your web site in your native machine. Then export the pages since you’ve primarily scraped the output HTML and discovered the place the CSS and the information are and so forth. After which you can push that to the server after which shut your pc down and the web site will nonetheless work. However there’s completely no database on-line. There’s no PHP information getting requested, and so in that manner, it’s safer.

[00:14:49] Patrick Posner: Yeah, completely. Additionally means that you’ve got like a staging atmosphere routinely. So your WordPress web site is your staging web site, proper? So so long as you don’t push an replace to your static web site or to your internet hosting, you are able to do no matter you need along with your WordPress web site. Putting in a brand new plugin, testing a brand new theme. Updating or not updating WordPress can be wonderful. Your static web site stays on-line it doesn’t matter what.

[00:15:17] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it’s an actual a technique relationship, isn’t it? No matter is in your WordPress web site is all the time in isolation, in the event you like. And you must publish the modifications and push them to the server. So in that manner, nothing comes again as a result of the server actually, in a way, has no data of the truth that there’s a WordPress web site. It simply is aware of that, properly someone’s requested a selected web page. Have I bought that web page? Sure, I’ve. Right here it’s. It doesn’t know that there’s a WordPress web site there in any respect.

[00:15:51] Patrick Posner: Yep, that’s proper.

[00:15:52] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, and also you talked about one other advantage of this method was the truth that it may be hosted, and my understanding is that may in lots of circumstances, relying on the dimensions and scale of your web site, it may be hosted actually, actually affordably. And by affordably, I imply extremely affordably. Now, I don’t know if there’s a dozen, tons of of firms that are devoted to any such atmosphere, however are you able to simply speak us by the type of price advantages of doing it this fashion? Static.

[00:16:24] Patrick Posner: Yeah, true. So, internet hosting a static web site is totally totally different in the case of the pricing tag connected, in comparison with any form of a press internet hosting. We’re speaking about like $1 for a whole yr of internet hosting.

There are additionally a bunch of suppliers that you should use free of charge, like Cloudflare Pages. Cloudflare Pages lets you do like, I’m not completely certain, it’s 500 updates to your static web site monthly free of charge. They don’t cost for the quantity of information or the used knowledge, the used house. In order that’s one factor that you should use fully free of charge. There are others the place there’s a little bit price connected, but it surely’s all the time insanely low cost in comparison with conventional WordPress internet hosting.

[00:17:16] Nathan Wrigley: You actually are in lots of circumstances speaking a couple of handful of US cents, not {dollars} monthly.

[00:17:24] Patrick Posner: Yeah.

[00:17:25] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it truly is wonderful. You talked about earlier that the internet hosting firm does tackle a barely totally different burden, in that as a result of it’s simply pages and that’s all they find out about, then a few of these internet hosting firms do tackle further obligations. So for instance, within the situation the place someone unintentionally searches for a url which doesn’t exist.

Properly, WordPress, in the event you’ve bought a conventional WordPress web site, which is on-line with a conventional host, it handles that and it serves up a 404 web page. Plus it could possibly do issues like seek for you. That’s not the case right here. And you must take further steps for these issues to be catered for. So 404, search, issues like kinds. Do you simply need to speak us by the way you overcome these issues?

[00:18:10] Patrick Posner: Yeah, so you possibly can, there are two totally different instructions you possibly can go right here. You are able to do it your self. It’s not that arduous to offer an htaccess file to serve the request to a particular web page. That’s a technique. So there are numerous customers, particularly within the Merely Static world, doing all of that by itself.

However you can too use a supplier like, let’s say Netlify. Netlify offers a straightforward option to configure a 404 web page, and so they deal with all of that for you. So that you principally sort in a search and if there’s no end result arising, Netlify will deal with the redirection to the 404 web page for you. Additionally they deal with issues like kinds. So you possibly can principally add a little bit ID into your current type, and they’re going to ahead the submission to your electronic mail tackle that you just additionally configured inside Netlify.

There are a bunch of options for various use circumstances. You’ll be able to all the time resolve to make use of a extra like multi function resolution like Netlify, or use your conventional internet hosting package deal and use companies like Formspark. Formspark is a static web site type device. You’ll be able to simply configure kinds on Formspark and embed them. You get a little bit HTML snippet. You’ll be able to embed them in your WordPress web site and so they deal with all of that for you. Spam detection, forwarding, CC, BCC connections, automations with Zapier. So let’s say you need to, you could have a, like a, publication type and also you need to, every time somebody submits the shape, you need to routinely submit this person to your Mailchimp checklist.

You are able to do that with Zapier or inside Formspark. I’m probably not certain, however I feel Formspark also have a automation with MailPoet proper now. So there are a bunch of how you possibly can deal with that. And all of them, or most of them, don’t require to be like an expert developer or one thing like that.

[00:20:12] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I suppose that’s an vital level, isn’t it? So there are numerous advantages which you could checklist. You recognize, it’s fast, it’s safe, it’s inexpensive. However there’s additionally a couple of little further hurdles. It’s important to in a roundabout way handle search. Indirectly handle 404, and kinds and so forth. And, it sounds just like the trade round static web site internet hosting is starting to mature to the purpose the place there are off the peg options.

So that you talked about Netlify can configure it in order that 404 is taken care of. You don’t have to essentially handle that your self. And once more, you talked about a SaaS service, which is able to ship kinds to your electronic mail tackle. And I’ve had a little bit little bit of a play with Formspark, and in all honesty, it was trivially easy to stay up a type and get it sending the information that was consumed by that type to my, my electronic mail tackle, it solely took a matter of moments. It was actually good.

So, what we’ve talked about there may be what a static web site is. And since you’re on the podcast, it’s clear that you just’re into that space and in reality, you’ve bought an answer to show a WordPress web site right into a static web site. It’s referred to as Merely Static. I’ll hyperlink to each the paid model and we’ll go into the variations a little bit bit later, however I’ll additionally hyperlink to the WordPress repository model, which is able to get you actually going. Inform us what merely statics method is. What’s it doing? How lengthy have you ever been engaged on it? Is that this yours? Did you’re taking it over from someone? Simply give us the rundown of what’s Merely Static.

[00:21:46] Patrick Posner: So Merely Static is a static web site generator as a WordPress plugin. It principally acts like Google or an everyday person. So, when you begin an export inside Merely Static, there’s a crawler behind it that visits every web page in your web site and downloads the complete HTML rendered, and all of the CSS information, JavaScript information, and naturally all the photographs.

And, on the finish, it zips the complete outcomes. So you should use it to add it, for instance, to Netlify. I adopted the plugin in 2020 from Scott Blaine, who does an unbelievable job placing collectively the preliminary model of Merely Static. I bought involved with Blaine as a result of the truth that I used to be a person of the Merely Static plugin, and I used it for a shopper web site the place we had issues that we hadn’t full management over the server configuration.

It was like a conventional internet hosting package deal. And the shopper booked a TV business and we anticipated an enormous spike in site visitors for that day, and we want a option to deal with that. So nothing could possibly be worse. And as soon as TV business was out the touchdown web page would merely get away. And so I might by no means restart once more as soon as TV business was on. So, I stumbled upon merely Static and it wasn’t working at the moment, however I believed, okay, so working as a WordPress developer for like 12 years, I ought to be capable of make it work.

And, I fastened the issues in like one or two hours and offered a patch and Scott carried out that one and we bought in a little bit dialogue about the way forward for Merely Static and he instructed me that he was having his third or false child, I’m probably not certain, and he don’t actually have the time anymore to take care of and even prolong Merely Static any more.

And I believed, okay, so I’m working by myself merchandise for like six years or seven years and I actually, being a fan of advanced merchandise. So my different merchandise like Password Safety or Safe File Switch, it’s all the time one thing a little bit bit nerdy and I believed, okay, Merely Static is a fairly good match for my current portfolio, so why not taking it over and delivery all of the patches, all of the options individuals had been requesting for years. And yeah, that was virtually two years in the past, or two and a half years in the past, I’m not precisely certain. In order that was the brief historical past of how I get into Merely Static.

[00:24:31] Nathan Wrigley: Excellent. So that you took it over and ever since 2020, it’s been below your stewardship. And also you simply described that while you click on publish in the identical manner that Google go across the web and seize what’s in your webpage, they’re not actually, properly, they in all probability are as properly, however usually they’re not taking a picture of what’s in your web page, they’re wanting on the supply. So that they’re wanting on the HTML and every other issues that could be connected by way of that HTML.

And primarily that’s what your plugin does. For those who’ve bought a brochure web site, let’s say it’s bought 10 pages. Once you click on the button in Merely Static.

[00:25:08] Patrick Posner: Generate.

[00:25:09] Nathan Wrigley: The generate button, thanks. Then it should scrape these 10 pages and put it into a zipper file. That zip file, within the free model, you then take to a internet hosting supplier and we preserve speaking about Netlify, so we might as properly go along with that. Take it to Netlify, add it, and it’s then reside, you’ve bought your new iteration. So it’s a course of of making your WordPress web site, saving issues as you’ll usually, clicking generate, carrying the zip file over to Netlify, placing it over there, after which from that second on the world, in the event you’ve bought your DNS arrange appropriately, is wanting on the flat html, the static HTML information, that merely Static has generated. Is that proper?

[00:25:55] Patrick Posner: Appropriate.

[00:25:56] Nathan Wrigley: Excellent. How is the mission going? You recognize, you’ve had it below your stewardship for a few years. It seems like static websites have develop into a little bit of a scorching matter. So I’m imagining that the plugin is experiencing development.

[00:26:10] Patrick Posner: Yeah, so Merely Static had an enormous development inside the final two years. We virtually 4x’d quantity of lively set up. So in the meanwhile I took over the event of Merely Static was like 10 Okay lively installations. We are actually reached 40 Okay lively installations. One factor I’ve carried out on day one, as I took over Merely Static and the GitHub repository was switching it to public.

So it’s actually a neighborhood pushed mission. You’ll be able to all the time examine the complete code base on github.com/simplystatic. And, you can see a little bit roadmap. You discover points we’re engaged on. You’ll be able to present pull requests. Or you may make recommendations for brand new integrations or issues that might not be working as anticipated.

So we had that case with Elementor final week the place Merely Static isn’t capable of extract the bundled js that Elementor is producing to enhance the efficiency. And we deal with all of that, attempt to be as open as doable about the way forward for Merely Static. How issues are going. Which course we’re going. Why I do issues the best way I do.

So, for instance, the crawling half, there are different options that do it extra in a WordPress manner. So that they fetch all of the customized put up sorts and the generated archives and issues like that. And it’s a sound method, however I believed search engine optimization is such a well-liked factor right this moment and why not work as shut as Google as doable to provide an anticipated end result when you generate a static web site.

So see it by the eyes of Google, and the eyes of your customers and ensure your content material is linked correctly. You might be having legitimate URLs. You aren’t having a bunch of 404 errors in your web site. All of that’s issues Merely Static is taking good care of to make the export as simple as doable.

[00:28:17] Nathan Wrigley: It’s attention-grabbing since you and I are each clearly deeply embedded within the WordPress neighborhood. We like it and we in all probability obsess about WordPress greater than is wholesome for us. However a typical, I’m plucking this out of skinny air, however I’m imagining there’s some fact in what I’m about to say.

I might think about a major proportion of implementations of WordPress might actually profit from being static. And what I imply by that’s, they’re actually a web site which isn’t actually getting up to date. It was constructed for let’s say a small enterprise. And, that small enterprise, they simply want an web presence. They should be on the market. They want a contact type. They want some description of what it’s that they provide. One thing pretty simple.

The customers of that, there’s a chance that they don’t need the burden, as a result of the web just isn’t what they do for a dwelling. They don’t need the burden of getting to resume licenses. They don’t need the burden for having to replace plugins. They don’t need the burden for updating WordPress when it reaches the following model and so forth. And I suppose in a way, your resolution form of obviates that a little bit bit, since you don’t actually, now, forgive me for saying this, as a result of everyone will in all probability shoot me down for this.

The positioning would nonetheless be safe, serviceable, workable even in the event you didn’t do all the updates. As long as while you put it aside and generate your file, even in the event you’re on a extremely, actually outdated model of WordPress, as long as the HTML that comes out the opposite finish is legitimate and works, you might be wonderful..

[00:29:52] Patrick Posner: Yeah, completely. So one factor I preserve saying to, numerous customers and clients is, let’s take WordPress offline in a great way. So we will use WordPress as among the best instruments to create an internet site. That may be in your native pc, on a protected atmosphere, someplace hosted. And might make certain that the outcomes exported statically remains to be safe.

Even in the event you don’t replace otherwise you don’t replace your plugins frequently, you don’t replace WordPress every time. It’s possible you’ll not even replace your theme out of a worry that it could break one thing. And all of that’s coated by Merely Static because of the conversion. So use WordPress as a strong editor in your web site and use Merely Static to have peace of thoughts that your web site is quick and safe even in the event you don’t get that a lot involvement within the WordPress world and you might be all the time on observe on all the safety vulnerability reviews and what’s new on Google web page pace and all of these issues.

[00:30:59] Nathan Wrigley: It’s, actually attention-grabbing. I’m simply enthusiastic about home equipment in my kitchen. So an instance can be my dishwasher. I don’t need my dishwasher to be on when there’s no dishes that want cleansing. It simply must be off. Flip it off, then periodically return to it and when it wants it, swap it on. After which as soon as it’s carried out, swap it off once more. It’s the identical type of precept right here, isn’t it?

WordPress, as on off-able. You turn it work together with it, publish the modifications, get the modifications onto the internet hosting in a roundabout way, and we’ll speak in regards to the totally different strategies in a second, after which flip it off once more, and take away any of the issues that WordPress being switched on on a regular basis might convey with it. Yeah, so I actually like your description of it there.

Now, simply transferring the topic forwards a little bit bit. Static websites, I really feel that the phrase static websites and headless are getting used loads on the minute. And in lots of circumstances there could also be confusion that these are actually the identical factor, {that a} static web site that we’re speaking about right this moment is identical as headless.

Now it’s probably not true, and I’m wondering in the event you might describe the variations. We might actually go into the weeds right here, however I don’t suppose we’ve in all probability bought time for that. So a easy description of how they differ can be good.

[00:32:11] Patrick Posner: I feel easy is one of the simplest ways to explain the distinction between headless and static web sites. So a headless web site is extra like a technical problem. You normally have your WordPress web site on-line someplace on a regular basis while you run a headless setup. The headless web site repeatedly makes use of the REST API for WordPress to fetch content material. To submit kinds. To do all of dynamic stuff, however with JavaScript and never with PHP.

And, one of many issues with headless web site is that you just virtually ever should be a developer or you could have a developer sustaining your headless web site. And that’s not the case with static web sites because of the static technology, you will be just about anybody, and use the advantages a headless web site affords with out the technical challenges concerned.

And you’ll even use, and that’s an enormous level for lots of people, use your current theme. So headless web sites are usually constructed from scratch, principally in an enterprise context, and the theme is constructed with JavaScript and a contemporary JAMstack. So issues like React are concerned, Subsequent.js, simply to call a couple of of the instruments concerned within the stack.

And they’re advanced and much away from finish person pleasant. A static web site you employ the instruments you already know, however you get the advantages of a headless web site. So the safety enchancment and the efficiency.

[00:33:44] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I feel it’s vital to say that each implementations, static and headless, they actually do have advantages. There’s clearly advantages that you just’ve described for static and clearly there’s advantages for the headless method. And as you described, enterprise stage purchasers, and the truth that they could have entry on faucet to builders is a doable requirement there. I imply, you could be an extremely technical non-developer, however I might think about that it’s true to say that static websites are a little bit bit extra simple to implement.

Okay, with that in thoughts, let’s undergo some examples of locations the place static websites are match. And it is vitally vital to say it’s not all the time the case. There may be undoubtedly going to be some examples the place switching WordPress off just isn’t what you need to do. So let’s do that in two methods. Let’s do the great first, let’s have some examples the place with the ability to flip WordPress off utilizing a static web site is an effective match. Let’s try this first.

[00:34:46] Patrick Posner: Certain. So, match for a static WordPress web site is a company web site. It’s probably the most fundamental instance. So yeah, conventional WordPress web site in your plumbing service or no matter you do for a dwelling. These websites are an ideal case for static websites. They not often change. They don’t have any extremely dynamic interplay with the WordPress web site. You export them, depart them on-line, and that’s all you want.

One other good instance are blogs. So you possibly can serve your total weblog as a static web site and use little methods to make one thing like feedback work. So there are a bunch of instruments and they aren’t that costly to make feedback work in your static web site. You’ll be able to publish new articles fairly simply with Merely Static. In order that’s case too.

There are extra particular forms of web sites which are additionally good match. Consider documentation web sites, the place you add or enhance the copy of the documentation, however you not often swap the complete design, for instance, for a documentation web site.

One other good match are touchdown pages or lead technology web sites. Consider AdWords touchdown pages or simply an search engine optimization touchdown web page optimized for a particular key phrase. These pages are principally small, so the static export is kind of quick. And also you don’t have to fret about updates or is my lead technology type working and all of that.

One other factor that’s usually offloaded from the standard web site, and is extra frequent in an enterprise context are profession and division web sites. So you could have a separated profession portal for all the roles you might be providing otherwise you’re planning to supply to begin a brand new division. And these pages are sometimes separated from the primary web site. So like department-x.my area.com, for instance.

[00:36:45] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, good. So primarily what we’re saying there may be, if the positioning is kind of static, then it’s a particular match. So a company web site. However even when it’s being modified, not essentially being modified each few moments, then a weblog for instance. That is good. So all of these eventualities are an ideal match. For those who can say that you just’re going to change it not each second of daily, then it appears to be match.

However that leads us onto the areas the place probably it’s not match. And actually that is the place the dynamic stuff is available in. Any web site which wants entry to the database as a result of it’s doing database intensive queries, that’s in all probability the world the place it’s not such match. So let’s go into the not good suits then.

[00:37:30] Patrick Posner: So what the dynamic is essential right here. So there are a bunch of forms of web sites that clearly aren’t match for a static web site. The commonest one is eCommerce web sites. So consider WooCommerce as the most well-liked eCommerce resolution for WordPress. You don’t actually need to run a WooCommerce retailer as a static web site. Individuals want to have the ability to add issues to their cart. They want to have the ability to log in to their buyer account to obtain invoices or evaluation their orders, and all of such issues. I imply, you are able to do that with a static web site, but it surely’s actually a difficult half and also you don’t need to try this.

One other frequent factor, particularly within the final couple of years are membership or neighborhood web sites. So all form of web sites that basically are extremely interactive. Individuals commenting. Individuals sharing. There are subtypes of that like, boards otherwise you even use like BuddyPress to have your individual little social media house or company intranet the place individuals discussing matters and also you don’t actually have a management over the publishing. There are numerous customers, excessive interactivity. It wouldn’t simply make sense to publish a static model of a discussion board thread every time somebody submits a brand new reply to it.

[00:38:48] Nathan Wrigley: You think about issues like LMSs and e-commerce web sites, the place roughly all the pieces that the tip person needs to do entails sucking one thing out of the database. So yeah, I can see why these eventualities gained’t work. In order that’s a pleasant clear definition. There’s undoubtedly good suits right here and there’s areas the place, yeah, you in all probability might make it match, however actually, at that time you’re in all probability needing to essentially push the boundaries a little bit bit.

By way of the product that you just’ve bought, so Merely Static,. You might have a model on the WordPress repo, however you even have a paid model. Typical case is, if there’s a paid model, there’s in all probability some additional options. Would you similar to to stipulate the distinction between what you must do with the free model and what you are able to do. We’re recording this at the start of 2023, so caveat emptor, issues might change, however at this second in time, what’s the distinction between the 2 totally different merchandise that you just provide?

[00:39:44] Patrick Posner: Certain, comfortable to make clear that. So, Merely Static Professional works form of like an add-on to Merely Static. And, the foremost distinction is the comfort and the quantity of automation offered. So whereas you should use Merely Static within the free model to generate a static model of your web site, getting a zipper and importing it to Netlify. Merely Static Professional affords automation.

Meaning you possibly can join Netlify instantly, or you possibly can join companies like Bunny CDN instantly. And also you don’t even have to log into Netlify to publish a static model. You’ll be able to simply merely use the generate button. And when you arrange the configuration, all the pieces is automated. So that you generate the web site and the information are routinely transferred to Netlify.

There’s additionally some extent of comfort within the means to export subsets of your web site. So that you do a full static export in the beginning and you’ve got your web site operating on Netlify and also you simply need to publish a brand new put up. Otherwise you need to export a set of pages with their photographs based mostly on a taxonomy, for instance. That is the place additionally Merely Static offers further options, like single exports and construct exports. Construct exports, work like a taxonomy. You connect posts, pages, photographs, further information, and you’ll export the complete subset with a easy click on of a button. These are two of the primary causes persons are utilizing Merely Static Professional.

One other factor is the thought to keep away from exterior companies as a lot as doable. That’s why Merely Static Professional’s additionally delivery with a kinds integration, for instance. We’re presently supporting Contact Type 7 and Gravity Types, however we additionally discovered methods to make use of Elementor kinds or Formidable Types and a bunch of others. To make use of them with no service like Formspark we talked about earlier.

The concept is that your WordPress web site is on a protected space and Merely Static Professional is forwarding the requests out of your static web site to your dynamic WordPress web site by authenticating and submitting it again to WordPress and receiving the request on the static web site with JavaScript, the place I’ve an analogous method with the in-built search integration.

So Merely Static Professional ships with two totally different instruments to make search work. One is fuse.js. It’s principally dependency-less JavaScript resolution for search. We’re constructing json file, it’s a bodily file in your server that comprises all of the search outcomes which are obtainable as content material in your web site.

We’re fetching the titles, the outline, and the entire, the total HTML content material of every web page. Storing that on a bodily file and as soon as a person begins typing the search, there’s a auto full function suggesting outcomes. Consumer clicks on it and the search integration handles a redirection to the right web page.

There’s one other integration with Algolia. Algolia is a paid service. It’s like an internet search resolution, which is kind of highly effective as they deal with fuzzy search and synonyms for you or typo tolerance search. So if somebody sorts in a key phrase of a typo, Algolia makes certain that he nonetheless finds the right content material.

However ultimately it really works the identical manner. The foremost distinction right here is that Fuse.js has a bodily file, which I wouldn’t advocate for a fairly big web site, but it surely’s wonderful for the standard web site. So when you have like a easy company web site, you possibly can be happy to make use of Fuse.Js. However when you have like 150 Okay pages company web site, I wouldn’t advocate Fuse.Js as a json file. I imply, you possibly can think about that the json file is including up in dimension fairly shortly when you have 100,000 outcomes saved in there.

That’s the place Algolia comes into play. Algolia can be actually low cost. So that you pay nothing for like 10 Okay searches monthly and I don’t know, $2 for an extra 10 Okay search outcomes. So it’s not an enormous price connected to your static web site general price.

[00:44:14] Nathan Wrigley: The primary factor that I take away from that’s the professional variations actually is including, for the standard person, it’ll be including comfort. The power to, in the event you like, sync your WordPress web site with wherever it’s hosted. So slightly than having to obtain a file, take it over and add it, you simply click on a button and the plugin takes care of that. Comes to a decision about what it’s that should pushed over and so forth. So, yeah that’s actually attention-grabbing.

Patrick, we’re operating out of time, however simply very briefly, final query actually is all in regards to the future. You’ve clearly had expertise of this now for 2 years. It sounds such as you’re in it for the lengthy haul. What have you ever bought within the pipeline? What’s on the roadmap for the following time frame?

[00:44:56] Patrick Posner: Yeah, so I simply completed the roadmap for this yr for Merely Static. So a bunch of issues deliberate. One factor I’ll be launching simplystatic.com subsequent month? Yeah, I feel will probably be subsequent month. And it’ll comprise all info collected for Merely Static and Merely Static Professional. All tutorials, a free course on tips on how to use WordPress as a static web site generator that I’m simply in the midst of the manufacturing section.

We’ll additionally enhance the onboarding for brand new builders and optimizing the best way of contribution on GitHub. Meaning writing guides, tips on how to contribute, providing documentation, how the code fashion is working, and what we anticipate from a commit or pull request. Providing a bunch of recent points to choose from. I bought numerous inspiration from the WordPress mission itself. So you possibly can think about discovering issues like good first challenge. Sooner or later on the GitHub repository of Merely Static.

There’s additionally an enormous relaunch plan for the complete admin space of Merely Static. I’m already six month in a brand new ui ux idea for Merely Static. I attempt to fully modernize the look and the sensation of Merely Static and the configuration, and simplify numerous the these issues to make it simpler for finish customers to make use of Merely Static, and get all the advantages with out figuring out about what’s GitHub or what’s deployment or issues like that.

So, simpler wording, simpler configuration. Somewhat wizard that asks a few questions and preconfigures Merely Static for you, to make it as simple as doable. There’s additionally an ongoing job that we’ve just about like each WordPress plugin on the market. So we like to enhance the combination with standard plugins like Elementor, search engine optimization plugins.

This week we simply shipped an enormous replace for the Merely Static free model. That comprises an automation for XML web site maps. So we routinely examine which search engine optimization plugin you employ, finds the XML web site map and add it to the static export so that you don’t should even know that you’ve got a XML web site maps, so long as you could have a search engine optimization plugin put in and principally configured, Merely Static will now be capable of go the XML sitemap and extract all URLs offered there.

We’re additionally planning to construct an official integration with the actually standard Autoptimize plugin, make the HTML, CSS minification and bundlings that Autoptimize affords work with Merely Static with none further configuration.

[00:47:38] Nathan Wrigley: Feels like there’s loads.

[00:47:40] Patrick Posner: I’m all the time planning loads, however I additionally onboarding new individuals to the workforce. So, there’s a developer serving to me proper now with the Merely Static duties and I might be able to onboard an extra developer, or perhaps if somebody is prepared to lose the job, somebody serving to with help.

Be happy to succeed in out in case you are a technical individual and perhaps not a developer, and also you want to assist with buyer help for Merely Static. So I might actually respect it.

[00:48:10] Nathan Wrigley: Excellent segue Patrick, as a result of the ultimate query I need to ask is how do individuals contact you? The place are you on-line? That could possibly be something you want, an electronic mail tackle, clearly your contact type web page in your web site, however Twitter deal with. No matter you want.

[00:48:23] Patrick Posner: Yeah, so patrickposner.dev is my web site. You discover all of the details about Merely Static and Merely Static Professional right here. And you’ll all the time attain out to me at hey@patrickposner.dev. I’m additionally fairly lively on Twitter, so @patrickposner_. Don’t ask me why there’s an underscore. That’s the 2 greatest methods to succeed in out to me.

[00:48:47] Nathan Wrigley: Patrick Posner, thanks very a lot for chatting to me on the podcast right this moment. I actually respect it.

[00:48:52] Patrick Posner: Thanks for having me.

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