Creating static content websites for government

The evolution of website generators has been exciting to observe since it is increasingly possible, and cost effective, to create a static site and leverage the benefits of templates, cloud hosting, and content tagging without a backend database. Projects such as Jekyll offer flexibility and the option to leverage services such as Github for content hosting. 

It now seems that the option of static website creation is coming to the US Government in the form of Federalist. The simple site creator tool combined with some standardized templates looks like it will be leaving beta and proceeding into production in early 2016 for any US Government office or agency that wants to use it. This presents some useful possibilities such as:

  • Location-specific websites - for embassies and public/private partnerships Federalist might be a scalable and quick-to-implement solution. The site(s) could also be maintained by a rotating staff if people are rotating into and out of a location on a regular basis. 
  • Training resource sites - if an office or agency conducts a training program, related resources and reference links can be posted to a dedicated site. This might be particularly useful for sessions that are open to public participation and then need to be accessible after an event.
  • Reporting sites - for projects that are intended to create a specific product or set of data, a dedicated site can be a straightforward way to showcase the results. 

It will be interesting to see what sites result from the availability of Federalist from 18F.

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Sean M.'s picture