Kicks Condor

Browser-Side Includes in Beaker Browser

A proof-of-concept for enjoying HTML includes.

It seems like the Beaker Browser has been making an attempt to provide tools so that you can create JavaScript apps that function literally without a server. Their Twitter-equivalent (‘fritter’) runs entirely in the browser—it simply aggregates a bunch of static dats that are out there. And when you post, Beaker is able to write to your personal dat. Which is then aggregated by all the others out there.

One of the key features of Beaker that allows this is the ‘fallback_page’ setting. This setting basically allows for simplified URL rewriting—by redirecting all 404s to an HTML page in your dat. In a way, this resembles mod_rewrite-type functionality in the browser!

What I’ve been wondering is: would it be possible to bring server-side includes to Beaker? So, yeah: browser-side includes. My patch to beaker-core is here. It’s very simple—but it works!

Quick Example

Beaker editing index.html

Here is Beaker editing the index.html of a new basic Website from its template. I’m including the line:

<!--#include file="inc.html"-->

This will instruct beaker to inline the inc.html contents from the same dat archive. Its contents look like this:

<p style="color:red">TEST</p>

Beaker displaying index.html

And here we see the HTML displayed in the browser.

But Does Beaker Need This?

I’m not sure. As I’ve been working with static HTML in dat, I’ve thought that it would be ‘nice’. But is ‘nice’ good enough?

Here are a few positives that I see:

Appeal to novices. Giving more power to HTML writers can lower the bar to building interesting things with Dat. Beaker has already shown that they are willing to flesh out JavaScript libraries to give hooks to all of us users out here. But there are many people who know HTML and not JavaScript. I think features for building the documents could be really useful.

Space savings. I think static blogs would appreciate the tools to break up HTML so that there could be fewer archive changes when layouts change subtly.

Showcase what Beaker is. Moving server-side includes into Beaker could demonstrate the lack of a need for an HTTP server in a concrete way. And perhaps there are other Apache/Nginx settings that could be safely brought to Beaker.

The negative is that Dat might need its own wget that understands a feature like this. At any rate, I would be interested if others find any merit to something like this. I realize the syntax is pretty old school—but it’s already very standard and familiar, which seems beneficial.

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.