WebMetaLecture - a lecture about Website Meta LanguageWhy Static HTML?

2. Why Static HTML?

Why Static HTML?

Server-side-generated HTML is:

  1. Necessarily slower than static HTML.
  2. Prune to bugs, security holes and security breaches. (eval($q->param("code")) anyone?)
  3. For many sites, whose content does not change very often, it is completely unnecessary.

Static HTML Done Right

Maintaining static HTML by hand is painful. Usually it creates crammy sites, which either don't have a navigation bar or have one that has to be maintained across all pages. Some sites put all the pages into one directory to simplify cross-referencing them. Cascading Style Sheets can help a bit here, but they are not a panacea.

Another option is to use WYSIWYG Content-Management Systems such as Microsoft FrontPage. This is known to create bloated or browser-dependant HTML, and you are often limited by the functionality that was built into the CMS.

Yet another option is to create your own ad-hoc content management system. (e.g: a perl script that will render your pages) However, this will have to be extended in time, and you'll probably invent something that is not as good as Website Meta Language which is already very mature and complete. I remember writing something like that myself in PHP for an older incarnation of the IGLU site, and know other people who created similar solutions for their own need. None of them was as good or as versatile as Website Meta Language.

Finally, Website Meta Language and pre-rendered XSL stylesheets give you fine control on the HTML generated while allowing you to do anything Turing Complete. Website Meta Language has been around longer than XSL. By virtue of integrating Perl it can do anything Perl does, while XSL is a virtual machine without much capabilities of interaction with the outside world. I also think WML has a better human-factors engineering, but that's a matter of state.


Written by Shlomi Fish