Building and Working with Static Sites in Ruby on Rails

Ben Scofield, Senior Developer, Viget Labs

Date: Friday, May 18
Time: 1:50pm - 2:40pm
Location: Oregon Ballroom 203

Rails is a tool – a hammer, if you will – and it's great at what it does. It's so good at its job, however, that developers who use it can easily fall prey to the "everything looks like a nail" fallacy. Rails is not the answer to every web development problem.

One such problem is that of static (or mostly static) sites – those too small for a full-fledged CMS, but big enough to make building and managing by hand painful. Rails out-of-the-box is not a great fit for such sites.

In this talk, we'll look at the problems that arise when a static site is built in Rails, and we'll identify reasons that you might want to continue despite them. We'll then look in depth at one approach that addresses those problems and provides several unexpected benefits. Finally, we'll explore two refinements of this approach: the first expands it to deal with hybrid sites (sites with significant amounts of both static content and dynamic elements), while the second shows how to build a bare-bones, customized CMS from the groundwork already laid.

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