Redbean web server and the Fullmoon framework
redbean is an open source webserver in a zip executable that runs on six operating systems. The basic idea is if you want to build a web app that runs anywhere, then you download the redbean.com file, put your .html and .lua files inside it using the zip command, and then you’ve got a hermetic app you can deploy and share.
If the above sounds like magic that’s because it kind of is. Zip a directory of files, execute it, and you get the following running out of the box, across six operating systems:
- A fast static-file server
- Support for Lua scripts
- Embedded SQLite
- Integrated SSL support
- HTTP/HTTPS client
- Crypto and password hashing
- DDOS protection
It doesn’t get any easier than this if you’re hosting a static website on a server. Generate some SSL certificates using cerbot, bind Redbean to port 80/443 and off you go!
Paul Kulchenko authored Fullmoon, a zero depedency web framework based on Redbean. With it, you get:
- Routing, redirects
- Streamed responses
- Form validation
- Cron syntax
- DB management with migrations
This is quite incredible. You can use this to build full-fledged web application.
The vertically integrated web server
A typical webapp using PHP, Python, or Node.js requires you to put a webserver like NGINX in front of it. This separation of concerns makes sense for many reasons, but it still represents extra complexity and overhead. A seasoned engineer might not fret, but less experienced developers tend to struggle here.
A web server like Caddy bridges this gap for certain use cases. Its built-in support for templated responses and custom plugins may allow you to forego a backend for dynamic responses. Yet, you’ll quickly hit the limits of what you can do as it is still first and foremost a web server.
What excites me about Redbean and Fullmoon is that you get a vertically integrated web server and web application. Of course, there are many other considerations to account for a serious project but this makes sense for a lot of projects out there. Throw in htmx to the mix and you get an accessible, minimal yet capable stack that is easy to deploy.