Give me a diagram!

It happens so often.

I read some blog post or a book or a github repository or I talk with someone, and the discussion is veering towards describing a process. Immediately I feel the need for a diagram. I didn't think I was a visual guy, but the more it goes, the more it drives me mad.

Look at gulp, or any of it's plugin, they are all describing a workflow process and there isn't a single diagram in any of the docs or books I am reading on the topic.


Static Site Hosting

Everyday I found out about a new service provider for static site hosting, it seems that everyone and their dog is providing the service, the latest one, surge.sh seems to be doing everything I have been looking for in such a service. So it's probably time to actually list what features I am looking for in a static site hosting service:

  • command line update
  • Documented CDN
  • No constraints on file types
  • SSL subdomain
  • SSL custom domain
  • Some kind of source control system (integration with a git provider is ok)
  • Online editing (for chromebooks)
  • drag and drop updates (not required, but nice to have)
  • minimal monthly price (free is fine)
Another I looked at recently is cloud9, which originally was only a web IDE, but seems to have evolved to be a full blown vm provider as well where you can run any command you like (a la runnable.com) probably a bit toomuch for what I am after, but interesting none the less.


2 more static site hosting solutions which are not

Today I realised that using Google Drive or Dropbox for static site hosting is probably no the best idea, as they don't support relative path and needs to hardcode each file dependencies in the html + there is not way to provide a custom a domain - so this should be reserved for the ad-hoc single-page site.


10, 100 days challenge

I challenged my kids to a 10 and 100 days challenge of blog post, after 5 days, we are all still there... very exciting to see them post stuff everyday.
check out their blogs at


3 static web site hosting solutions - Day 3

My three pick for the day are:

  • https://getforge.com/
  • https://neocities.org/
    Very cute UI, super simple, online editor, though the restriction to avoid abuse stopped me form uploading my website which contained sccs files, once deleted, the upload worked with a single drag&drop. After the free tier, there is only one tier at $5 a month, which gives you CNAME (custom domains), generic SSL and remove the restrictions, definitely chromebook friendly - would recommend for 1st time users and kids. But the lack of versioning or automation (beside the webdav mount on the payment tier) is a no-go for developers.
  • https://www.dropbox.com/
    There is a lot of documentation on how to host a website as a shared dropbox folder, but no matter how hard I tried, that feature doesn't seem to be available through the free account setup.


3 static web site hosting solutions - Day 2

Today I explored:

  • https://www.netlify.com/
    I couldn't get the git integration to work, but drag& drop was great, though they have both github and bitbucket integration
  • https://www.paperplane.io/
    You can login with twitter, facebook of github. The first one to support dropbox, great integration, simple, no docs but it just works! This is my favorite for the day, not because of feature, but because of its simplicity.
  • https://divshot.com/
    Very complete offering, drag&drop of zip files, or custom npm module, it supports environments and promotions between them. I couldn't find a way to restore previous version, but you can download them and redeploy. Though it is missing deploy form git. This is probably the most advanced offering I have explored so far.
URL https://www.netlify.com/ https://www.paperplane.io/ https://divshot.com/
Name netlify Paper Plane DivShot
Tag Line Because static sites are safer, faster, cheaper & simpler Radically simple static hosting. Blazing fast CDN, simple CLI deployment, hassle-free test environments. And much more.
Login GitHub, Bitbucket,email facebook, twitter, github gitHub, email
setup npm install netlify-cli -g dropbox npm install -g divshot-cli
create d&d or push or netlify deploy dropbox or github d&d or client
upload d&d or push or netlify deploy dropbox or push d&d or client
update d&d or push or netlify deploy dropbox or push d&d or client
Free Plan forever but logo forever
1st tier $9/month SSL
dynamic tracking no
url scheme http://*.netlify.com http://*.paperplane.io http://*.divshot.io/
http yes yes yes
https 1st Tier no 1st tier
CNAME yes 1st Tier 1st tier
CNAME https yes no 1st tier
notes can't make git work, but nice featureset, forms, proxy, redirect, oauth simple, just works, but no docs environment promotion
Chrome book compatible no no
deployed http://generators.netlify.com/#/ http://generators.paperplane.io/#/ http://generators.divshot.io/#/
Domain http://gen.roumanoff.com/


3 static web site hosting solutions - Day 1

Today I explored three of the provider I listed yesterday:

  • Aerobatic
    This one is actually not free, only in public beta, the publishing is bit complicated, requires a npm package (so nodes and command line) and a special directory structure, but it provides an api gateway, and supports oauth with popular services, and has a simulator mode, so it provides some extra services, but it is cumbersome to setup and your require a GitHub account to sign up.
  • Bitballoon
    This is the simplest one of the lot, just drag and drop your folder and BAM, it's published. I am pretty sure they worked very hard to build this one feature. Sign up with GitHub or Persona (the Mozilla id) - you can automate through a ruby gem or a REST API published at https://github.com/BitBalloon/bitballoon-api. It has some very nice versioning feature (you can restore previous version) and provides some password protection for private site, and collect form data for you.
  • GitHub Pages
    This is by far the most complete solution, but entirely based on git, Though it compatible with Chromebook because you can do all the editing online, in their basic but working editor, using markdown, or just HTML. They have an option to generate a site with templates (using markdown). You can also setup your own domain by editing a CNAME file in the repository.
Comparing those three, I would say BitBalloon wins for it's simplicity, but GitHub wins for it's completeness, I wasn't overwhelmed by Aerobatic if it wasn't for integration with bitbucket which could redeem them - but I have yet to explore more this integration build on the new Atlassian Connect API for BitBucket.

Stay for another three providers review tomorrow!
URL Login setup upload Free Plan 1st tier deployed
http://www.aerobatic.com/ github, then userid and secret key npm install -g yoke-cli yoke deploy free beta for 45 days $30 per month – not public yet http://generator.aerobaticapp.com/#/2
https://www.bitballoon.com/ Persona + GitHub none drag&drop forever $7/month http://generators.bitballoon.com/#/6
https://pages.github.com/ custom online, site generators,git git push forever


Static hosting of web site

Recently I discovered there was a plethora of services providing free (or nearly free) hosting for static web sites.

Here is the initial list I came up with:

My plan is to explore those services in more details, figuring out to which one is the most free, what feature they provide, how easy is it to get started, to update content, if there is integration with source control system (such as the github one), if they support SSL and custom domain (and both, eg SSL on custom domain)