Front-end heavy web sites

Sometimes it is necessary or preferable for a web site to be almost front-end only, i.e., to have no backend scripts written in PHP/Perl/Python/whatever, only server side includes. While this is not the case for the UH Manoa Mathematics web site, at some point it was. A snapshot of the site at the time is available on Google App Engine:

Since there is little backend one can mostly understand the setup just using View Source in the browser. (Actually in this example the SSI backend has been replicated/simulated using PHP for Google App Engine.)

You may notice that a rudimentary “database” system is used, namely the databases are JSON (Javascript object notation) files that are accessed using Ajax. Another approach is to just put the data in a .js file which can be included using a <script> tag.