Get Static

Programming - Mar 31, 2024

In this piece, Eric Meyer argues that performance is more important than ever right now — especially for websites that contain critical information for the public:

If you are in charge of a web site that provides even slightly important information, or important services, it’s time to get static. I’m thinking here of sites for places like health departments (and pretty much all government services), hospitals and clinics, utility services, food delivery and ordering, and I’m sure there are more that haven’t occurred to me. As much as you possibly can, get it down to static HTML and CSS and maybe a tiny bit of enhancing JS, and pare away every byte you can.

What Eric means by “it’s time to get static” is that we need to serve regular ol’ HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to the browser with server-side rendering. That way, our sites are faster and with fewer bottlenecks that can render the whole website useless.

On this note, Zach Leatherman recently looked at 200 sites built with Eleventy and found that the mean Lighthouse performance score was 93.7! In other words: static site generators are gosh darn fast. And if that’s not a great reason to make the switch or to start learning about static site generators in general, then I don’t know what is.

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