Daft to Say Static Sites are “Dying”

by cdwise 21. April 2010 04:36

I’ve got several Google Alerts set up and one that came in to day pointed to an opinion piece in PC Pro Magazine “Dreamweaver is Dying” http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2009/03/05/dreamweaver-is-dying/ from a current thread on a NetObject Fusion forum talking about how “static” sites are dead and “long live Drupal”. (Does anyone besides me find it ironic that this thread is on the web forum from a point and click WSYIWYG web editor support forum?)

I’ve seen similar posts in other places going back as much as 8 years ago with the only difference is the CMS proclaiming that static sites are dead in favor of PHPNuke instead of Drupal or Joomla or DotNetNuke. Yet, here we are with sales of Dreamweaver and Expression Web showing little signs of decline. The number of online site builders offered not only by services such as MySpace, Intuit (for business sites), Office Live,  but as part of hosting with your own domain for as little as $3 a month has expanded exponentially. That doesn’t even begin to count the number of low end entry level do it yourself web editors like  CoffeeCup, EZWebBuilder, Namo and yes, even NetObject Fusion and those are just the a few of the hundreds of Windows web editors. There are plenty for Macs starting with iWeb, Rapidweaver (good choice if you don’t have the budget for Dreamweaver) and at least a hundred others. Even Linux has WYSIWYG web editors like Kompozer, EditLive and Quanta.

When I read some of the posts from people who say that all websites “now” should be “dynamic” and “database” driven I can’t help but laugh because many sites don’t need the added layers of complexity that using a full rich backend adds. Take the AmeriVespa site I last blogged about. It uses Drupal. I know this only because I looked at the code yet I can see no reason other than possibly the registration page that benefits from using Drupal. Yet, the registration page submits the form to PayPal.

The site uses 15 base stylesheets and 1 IE conditional stylesheet (that breaks the site in IE 6+). The only rationale I can find for using Drupal is so that the event organizers can update pages but I can’t say I’ve noticed updates in the almost three months that I’ve been visiting the site.  There are only 5-6 pages that would need updating regarding the event and they could be easily handled by something much simpler to deal with like ContentSeed, InContext Unity or QuickChange without the need for back-end databases or a dozen stylesheets to control the look and feel.

The web is a very diverse place and many sites simply do not need the complexity of a full fledged, feature rich CMS system. For every site that needs the capabilities of a Drupal or Community Server there are probably at least a hundred that are a brochure site with minimal updates. Sites that need robust back-ends are those that have ecommerce with a variety of products, large sites that are frequently updated by multiple people, those who are active bloggers or have active forums/social networking going on. (I’m not including inserting your twitter or facebook feed on your site’s home page in this category either.)

Unless you believe that the brochure and small business sites and single event/activity sites are going to go away to say static sites are “dead” is just plain daft.

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