Pete Hodgson

Software Delivery Consultant

Microstatic: radically simple static microsites

January 17, 2014

I’m a bit fan of static sites, and have created a fair few little static one-page demos and toy apps over the last few years. I like to host these off of S3 and expose them under subdomains of my domain, In fact, you’re reading one of those S3-hosted static sites right now!

With modern infrastructure like S3 and Route 53 the process of setting up a new microsite is pretty straightforward, but the manual steps started to grate on me after a while. “I’m a dev”, I thought to myself. “Why can’t I automate this?”. And so of course I did.

I started off with some shell scripts around s3cmd, but eventually moved to an assemblage of ruby functions driving the fog gem. Prompted by an internal thread at ThoughtWorks (particularly by @gga) I cleaned things up and packaged this functionality into a gem called microstatic.

Max Lincoln also gave me lots of guidance and good ideas. He was keen for me to use fog so that microstatic could support alternate cloud provides such as OpenStack/Rackspace. I failed to keep to that vision, but I’m very happy to take pull requests to get back on that path.

A gem in two parts

Microstatic does two things. Firstly it provides a command-line tool that makes it ridiculously simple to create a new microsite. Secondly it provides a rake task that makes it ridiculously simple to push new content to the microsite.

Creating a new microsite

microstatic setup and you’re done. This will create a new S3 bucket to hold your microsite, and then add a Route 53 entry to wire that S3 bucket up to a subdomain.

Deploying content to your microsite

rake deploy and you’re done. Microstatic ships with a rake task that will sync your local contents with the S3 bucket hosting your site.


Here’s a 24 second demo. I’m creating a brand new microsite from scratch, setting up S3 buckets and DNS entries, and final deploying some initial content to it.

Pretty neat, huh?