The Static Web is here
The Static Web is blisteringly fast. The Static Web is ultra efficient. The Static Web is cutting edge. And now it has a hero.
rack = require 'asset-rack'
The Static Web is an incredibly modern, high-performance platform for delivering apps and services. But before you dive-in, you need to start with the basics. You need to understand the fundamental building block of the static web, the asset.
What is an Asset?
An asset is a resource on the web that has the following three features:
- Location (URL): Where on the web the resource is located.
- Contents (HTTP Response Body): The body of the response received by a web client.
- Meta Data (HTTP Headers): Gives information about the resource, like content-type, caching info.
This simple definition is the theoretical bedrock of this entire framework.
Let's look at a simple example.
asset =url: '/hello.txt'contents: 'hello world'
Need to serve that asset with a blisteringly fast in memory cache using express?
Hash for speed and efficiency
What's cool is that this new asset is available both here:
That long string of letters and numbers is the md5 hash of the contents. If you hit the hash url, then we automatically set the HTTP cache to never expire.
Now proxies, browsers, cloud storage, content delivery networks only need to download your asset one single time. You have versioning, conflict resolution all in one simple mechanism. You can update your entire entire app instantaneously. Fast, efficient, static.
One Rack to rule them All
Assets need to be managed. Enter the Rack. A Rack serializes your assets, allows you to deploy to the cloud, and reference urls and tags in your templates.
Say you have a directory structure like this:
/static # all your images, fonts, etc. /style.less # a less files with your styles
You can create a Rack to put all your assets in.
assets =urlPrefix: '/static'dirname: __dirname + '/static'url: '/style.css'filename: __dirname + '/style.less'
Use in your Templates
After you hook into express, you can reference your assets in your server side templates.
Which gives you the html tag.
Or you can grab just the url.
Which gives the hashed url.
We have some professional grade assets included.
- Browserify - Create browserify assets that allow you to use "node-style" requires on the client-side.
- Snockets - Create snockets assets, to get the node-flavor of the "sprockets" from rails.
- Less - Compile less assets, ability to use dependencies, minification.
- Stylus - Compile stylu assets, ability to use dependencies, minification.
- Jade - High, performance jade templates precompiled for the browser.
- AngularTemplates - AngularJS templates for you AngularJS folks.
- StaticAssets - Images(png, jpg, gif), fonts, whatever you got.
Roll your own
Asset Rack is extremely flexible. Extend the Asset class and override the create method to roll your own awesomeness, and watch them get automatically ka-pow'ed by your rack.
SuperCoolAsset = rackAsset
Or, for those with more refined taste:
:@contents = 'even easier with coffee'@emit 'created'
Checkout the tutorial.
Deploying to the Cloud
Your assets need to be deployed! Here are the current providers that are supported.
Rackspace Cloud Files
Why is this better than Connect-Assets?
- It works with node.js multi-process and cluster.
- More built-in assets.
- Un-opionated, connect-assets dictates your url structure AND directory structure.
- Ability to deploy to the cloud.
- Easy to extend.
- Simpler to use.
With all that said, much thanks to Trevor for writing connect-assets.
Why is this better than Grunt?
Grunt is a great build tool. Asset Rack is not a build a tool. It never writes files to disk, there is no "build step". Everything happens "just in time".
If you have "genuine" build issues, then by all means use Grunt. You can even use Grunt with Asset Rack.
However, if you are only using Grunt to manage your static assets, then you should consider upgrading to Asset Rack.
Why is this better than Wintersmith(Blacksmith)?
Asset Rack is a static web framework, and at it's core there are only two abstractions, the
Rack classes. Wintersmith is a high level framework that solves a more specific problem.
Wintersmith could consume Asset Rack as a dependency, and if something more high-level fits your specific use case, then by all means that is probably a good fit. If you need more flexibilty and power, then go with Asset Rack.
©2012 Brad Carleton, Tech Pines and available under the MIT license:
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.