My post on free apps “was linked from Daring Fireball”:http://daringfireball.net/linked/2011/03/18/manton-app-store a few days ago. Tons of new traffic, but my site didn’t go down. Why? An ancient but reliable version of Movable Type spitting out static files, with just a tiny bit of PHP for “Mint stats”:http://haveamint.com/.
“Brent Simmons talks about this lost art”:http://inessential.com/2011/03/16/a_plea_for_baked_weblogs of publishing to static files instead of serving from a database:
“It’s an old technique, actually, but too rarely practiced. (Lots of weblogs in the ’90s were rendered as files-on-disk. They were built from a database plus templates and scripts and uploaded to a server. We did a bunch of this when I worked with Dave Winer at UserLand Software.)”
I couldn’t agree more with Brent’s advice, and in fact I ran this blog on Radio Userland for its first couple of years. In addition to performance, static files are portable. I can pick up this site and move it anywhere. The old web is fragile, and as web sites age, being able to permanently host them somewhere cheap and stable is going to become a big deal.
I hope a modern equivalent to Movable Type emerges eventually. For now, I’m thankful that the only time I have to worry about a web site outage is when a Dreamhost sysadmin trips over a power cord.