The Static Web Revolution

By Steven Hicks

Elevator Pitch

Dynamic back-ends run much of the web, but they come at the expense of simplicity, performance, and security. The current tooling for building static websites is remarkable. This talk will cover static generation tools and services that can help eliminate unnecessary architecture and complexity.


The web is changing. For years it has been built on frameworks that run on the server. These dynamic back-ends give you the ability to do many things, but they come with a price - complexity, performance, and security.

But static websites are back. Static websites have no back-end and are simply HTML. The modern tools for building them are remarkable.

In this session, we’ll survey the landscape of static site generation. We’ll look back at the history of the web and identify the ideal scenario for static websites. We’ll look at the simple tooling you can use to get a high-performance, secure website on the internet in a matter of minutes. We will also discuss the mighty JAM stack, and look at the many services available to make static websites interactive.

Static websites help you eliminate unnecessary architecture and complexity. If you’ve found yourself spinning up an instance of a CMS and the complexity didn’t feel right to you, this session is for you.


I have over 15 years of experience as a web developer. Many of those years have been spent searching for the right CMS. Until recently, I felt like I was just trying to decide which was the least bad - but then I stumbled across the world of static website generators. In the perfect scenario, I find them to be a great replacement for spinning up another instance of your “favorite” CMS. Worst case, they are an intriguing reminder of how the web came to be.

I’ve presented this talk at Open Source North 2017 (Twin Cities), and That Conference 2017.


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