Minimum Viable Frameworks

During the process of redesigning my personal blog, I evaluated several pieces of software including Jekyll, Flask (a Python micro-framework) and Toto among a few others. I decided to go with Jekyll as it seemed to meet most of my requirements:

  • No database; posts are stored in plain text, markdown or some other equivalent
  • No server-side language requirements
  • Can integrate easily with Git
  • Can be themed and extended
  • Has well-written documentation and good community adoption

Since the redesign, I've really embraced this type of site-building platform and I think many others are starting to see it's appeal. The popularity of these micro-frameworks has grown tremendously over the last year or two. I've read numerous blog posts from users leaving larger CMS-based blogging platforms like WordPress in favor of more minimalist, git-powered projects. Their reasons for switching vary, but one common theme is apparent: It's simple.

"I really wanted something simpler than WordPress. I didn’t need a CMS. I barely need a blogging engine. I update so infrequently. I want something that creates well formed html (hah), static content and is easy to use."

Source: Harper Reed

A few web service providers are also catching on, offering extremely affordable (and sometimes free) hosting. Amazon recently announced the availability of website hosting on S3, their storage service. Heroku has offered a free, albeit somewhat diminutive, tier for rapid-prototyping, staging, and testing purposes, as well as actually running lightweight apps. Google App Engine also offers cloud-based solutions, which can be pushed further with tools like DryDrop. DryDrop enables you to host your static site on Google App Engine and update it by pushing to GitHub. That's pretty rad.

If you're looking into micro-frameworks, check out the following articles for more information: