Static Sites for Publisher content

19 Jan 2016

Publishers, online books, online content, static sites,

Static Sites are in the spotlight right now and publishers need to be aware of their power and potential.

Static Sites are in the spotlight right now and publishers need to be aware of their power and potential. To quickly explain what a static site is:

Static web site pages are delivered to the user exactly as stored.

Dynamic web site pages are generated by a web application.


Browser power has increased amazingly in the last few years. Browsers are now stand-alone operating systems and there is so much more that can be done between a static web page and the browser with the assistance of Javascript, available APIs and connected supporting solutions.

Generally static pages are faster and more load tolerant than dynamic web pages plus browsers handle caching issues elegantly. (IE. If the static web page has changes to any files the browser will update the local cache.)

Static Sites are one of the digital content delivery formats in IGP:Digital Publisher (DP). Using IGP:Digital Publisher the same file that is used to produce print and e-books can also be used for static site publishing.

Every publisher should be looking at Static Sites at least to understand them and evaluate this approach as an option for the delivery of their content directly to end-users. Even if it not used for a full book it is great for previews and can have links to e-commerce sites.

Static sites are not new

Publisher has been able to create static sites as one of the output formats since 2012. The important difference between IGP:Digital Publisher (DP) and other Static Website Generators is that DP is designed primarily for the many production complexitiesnonbreakingspace required for all types of publisher book content.

That means one master HTML5 file can be created, authored, edited and reviewed. Then from the same master content source multiple formats are available at the click of a button. That means:

  • PDFs (print, online)
  • e-books (Mobi and Kindle, ePub reflowable and/or fixed layout)
  • stand-alone Web-apps
  • transfer packages (Eg: SCORM for LMS systems, archive packages)
  • Static Sites (of course)

This is the power of using the right digital content production environment. It also means that:

  • Multiple editions, versions or revisions can be handled from the same single source
  • New and emerging packages and formats can be supported into the foreseeable future.

We use our own tools

All of the Infogrid Pacific websites are static sites (and there are a number of them). This blog article was authored in IGP:Digital Publisher and with a single click published online as a static web page. Even the SVG graphic was created in the IGP:Digital Publisher environment.

Each page has had SEO metadata inserted and external linking of file resources such as fonts. The statistic tools (Chartbeat and Pywik)  and Disqus comments are inserted at static site generation time. Then the page is sent for indexing on the site search engine (a separate server). All of this happens transparently, automatically and very quickly.

AZARDI Online books are static sites

AZARDI:Content Fulfilment (ACF) Online book delivery is also a static site concept. In this case ePub files are uploaded, processed and "parked" in their online delivery ready location. The difference between pure static sites and the ACF delivery package is the uploaded files are processed ePub2 or ePub3 packages and have the IDPF ePub specification limitations on the content.

Why Publishers should care

2016 is going to be an interesting year for digital publishing. Technology is advancing so fast the ePub book format concept is probably going to fall to the side.

Perhaps digital trade books will plod on with Apple/Amazon as the primary delivery systems because of the so-called "discoverability" challenges.

However education, training, institution, corporate and academic publishers need to be seriously aware of Static Site delivery option for their content to their controlled audiences. 

Low complexity, low cost


Using the Infogrid Pacific static site generation tools makes getting book content online and secure as easy as it should be. The content will be ready for any platform or device in the market.

IGP:Digital Publisher has all of the default social and SEO components built into the format. To get started with a static site content distribution system the publisher needs to have in place the required look and feel template design for the book content and site, and produce their content in IGP:Digital Publisher.

If the site is to be only accessed from a dedicated IP address (Eg: a login site) this needs to be configured on the storage system. 

If search is required a small (AWS) Server will also have to be deployed.

The sort of content that can be published is pretty much anything. That includes:

  • Trade books. Consider a sample chapter site with links to e-retailer sites
  • Academic content. Books, journals, proceedings, research information with secure rules based delivery to institutions where you have access agreements in place.
  • Education content. Full textbook content and/or supplementary learning resources. And those additional resources can be fully interactive without the limitations of the ePub3 specification and inconsistent reading system support of interactivity. This can be made secure and only accessible to users with the digital textbook (especially if you are using AZARDI).
  • Training content. Business and institution training course content can be easily made available to controlled audiences. It can be linked from digital books and to existing LMS systems if required. It can be incredibly interactive and is not limited by the cut and paste interactivity of LMS system.
  • Other Published Content. There are many organizations that have valuable content that needs to be authored, maintained and made available to a controlled audience.

Publishers of all content categories owe it to themselves to evaluate a Static Site strategy for their published content.

Cost example

If a publisher want to use static sites they are very low cost to create and maintain (other than the web page and content production). We use the Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 (Simple Storage Solution) and it is very cost effective. A smaller publisher may find that it costs nothing for the first year because of the free tier structure. (There are a number of other cloud services but we have no experience with them).

Infogrid Pacific operate a lot of servers and storage buckets in all AWS regions around the world. In addition we maintain sites and servers for many of our software licensee clients. In addition we have been able to reduce our in-house servers considerably and back those servers up to AWS S3.

References and more information on static sites

This Smashwords article Why Static Site Generators Are The Next Big Thing gives some good background on the whys, wheres and hows of static sites. Warning it is very long and techy.

Infogrid Pacific Static Site Map

IGP main website 

AZARDI Reading Systems Information and downloads for the various AZARDI e-book readers.

2010-2015 Blog Hundreds of articles covering print and digital content production for publishers.  

2016 New Blog A fresh start ready for a new digital world 

Apex@IGP Our general digital content information site.  

Learn@IGP User manuals for our products IGP:Digital Publisher, AZARDI:Content Fulfilment and IGP:Distribution Manager.   

SVG Tutorial Site An in-house (and publicly available) SVG interactive learning site.  

We also have a number of private static sites for development, clients and other things.

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