Over a year ago (time flies!) I posted something about a project called Alva. Let me quote myself:
Alva is almost the opposite of Nikola. If Nikola is about making static sites, Alva is a dynamic site. However, as Hegel suggests, from the thesis and the antithesis comes the synthesis.
So, Alva is about dynamically creating static sites. If you want to have Nikola in your server instead of in your own computer, and have the convenience of an online tool, that's the niche Alva tries to fill.
So, you would install Alva, and use it like any other web-based blogging tool. Yet, behind the scenes, you would have Nikola, and all the performance and security benefits of static sites.
And maybe someday, I (or someone) will put up a multi-user version of Alva, and you will be able to get hosted blogs, knowing all the data is yours and you can leave anytime and do your own thing.
The approach I was taking at the time proved to be unsuccessful, and there were a few other failures along the way. Of course, the problem was in how I was approaching the task. So I did the right thing, and learned how to do it "right".
Still not usable, still not hosted anywhere, but already semi-functional: Alva lives now
There's a lot of work still to be done. But I now know how to do it. To prevent the usual arguments, here is a little explanation of motivation, tooling, etc.
I want a way to host blogs very cheaply. How cheaply? I want at least 1000 reasonably active users in a $5 VPS. That would make Alva a reasonable alternative to hosted multi-user wordpress,
which means it would be a reasonable solution (if setup is easy enough) for small-to-medium organizations which don't want to setup expensive infrastructure yet want to own their data (think schools, small businesses, FLOSS projects, etc.) I also want to provide that service, for free. Which is why another reason I want it to be super cheap.
How does Alva help provide this super-cheap blog hosting?
It needs to scale following the number of edits not views.
If it gets too busy with edits, changes take longer to appear, but the site itself doesn't get any slower.
Editing and serving can be provided by separate services, so I can use some super-fast static file server and a super-configurable WSGI deployment.
Individual pages can be heavily optimized so that they download fast