Why not use javascript on a site?

In a web developer’s eternal quest for efficiency and fast page speeds, nothing beats a purely static site.

Removing Javascript from the equation decreases the requests the browser has to make, as well as the ‘time to interactive’ Google page score.

No Javascript does mean no:

In my case, I have a small agency website MB Media which doesn’t need updating very often. As a front for my web work, I want it to be quick to showcase what I can do for clients!

What is Vite?

Vite is a very quick opinionated build tool that provides a dev server and build command to bundle and optimise your exported code.

It was originally designed for Vue but is now framework-agnostic. It’s faster than Webpack and offers a bunch of features out of the box such as typescript support and Hot Module Replacement (HMR).

My tools

I’ve chosen to use Vite as the build tool, and Tailwind for the styling. Storing the source code on Github means I don’t need a CMS – I can make any small edits locally and push my updates.

Hosting it with Netlify or Render means it gets deployed on a global CDN, can rebuild the site when the Git repo changes, and better yet – hosting for static files is free!

How to setup Vite

This the project structure we’ll end up with:

File structre in VScode

According to their docs, to create a new Vite project open VS Code and the integrated terminal and run:

npm create vite@latest

Choose a name and select ‘vanilla’ as the template:

To start everything up, follow the prompts:

cd my-vite-project
npm install
npm run dev

If you haven’t used Vite before, try editing the index.html or js/main.js file to see just how fast the reloading is!

To build your site ready for production run: npm run build to create your index.html and bundled assets into the dist/ directory.

Relative Links

By default Vite uses absolute paths, so if you use an extension like Live Server to preview your dist/index.html, the console will show 404 errors.

To fix this, we can tell Vite to use relative URLs by adding the flag —base=./ in our build command. Open the package.json file, and edit the scripts section to look like the following:

JavaScript
"scripts": {
    "dev": "vite",
    "build": "vite build --base=./",
    "preview": "vite preview"
  },

Deleting javascript and tidying up the project

Let’s go ahead and delete main.js, and edit the index.html file to take out references to it:

HTML
<div id="app"></div>
<script type="module" src="/main.js"></script>

Link your css file into the index.html since it was referenced in the now deleted main.js.

HTML
<link rel="stylesheet" href="./style.css" type="text/css" />

To make managing the project a bit easier, we can move our working files into a new directory.

Create a src/ folder and move index.html and style.css into it.

To let Vite know we’ve changed the main file path, create a vite.config.js file and add the following:

JavaScript
module.exports = {
    root: 'src',
    build: {
      outDir: '../dist',
      emptyOutDir: true
    }
}

Add compression plugin (optional)

To optimise your build bundle even further you can install vite-plugin-compress with npm i -D vite-plugin-compress

Import the plugin into your vite.config.js with the default options so it now looks like this:

JavaScript
import compress from 'vite-plugin-compress'

module.exports = {
    root: 'src',
    build: {
      outDir: '../dist',
      emptyOutDir: true
    },
    plugins: [
      compress(),
    ]
}

Install Tailwind

To install Tailwind and an auto-prefixer, run npm i -D tailwindcss autoprefixer.

Create a tailwind.config.js file and add in your rules.

JavaScript
module.exports = {
    content: ["./**/src/*.{html,js}"],
    theme: {
      extend: {},
    },
    plugins: [],
  }

In your src/style.css file, add the base Tailwind styles:

CSS
@tailwind base;
@tailwind components;
@tailwind utilities;

Lastly, link autoprefixer and tailwind together with a new file postcss.config.js and add in the following:

JavaScript
module.exports={
    plugins: [
     require('tailwindcss'),
     require('autoprefixer'),
     ]
    }

To test it out, edit your src/index.html folder and add a class name like so:

HTML
<h1 class="text-cyan-500">Test</h1>

Now you have a framework for creating super-light websites!


Further reading

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