Cricket for web development: static website

 

 

Java is generally not a language of choice when it comes to build websites. This is because most of the popular application servers are very complex and require a lot of learning to use them efficiently. For this reason web developers choose other tools, such as the LAMP platform.

Fortunately, there is another option to avoid investing in tools that we do not prefer and to use the huge potential of Java instead.

Cricket MSF allows us to build a variety of backend and web application solutions: from static websites through dynamic webapps to multi-node systems using micro services architecture. Cricket has been designed from the beginning as a microservices framework, so it can also be used to run a website service. In the future, you will be able to extend your website with new functionalities by adding more services.

In this article we will show you how to start.

Preparing the website

To prepare our website we need to:

  • select and download the template of a static website
  • unpack it to the folder of choice
  • create subfolders as required by Cricket MSF
  • modify texts inside index.html, change images and CSS files according to our needs

To create our example website we will use "Ballet One Page Free Website Template" offered for free by WebThemez https://webthemez.com/ballet-one-page-free-website-template/

This template consists of one HTML file (index.html) with supporting CSS and JavaScript files located in subfolders. All the website content is contained in index.html so we can modify texts and images easily. The one exception is the contact form located at the bottom of the webpage. Originally, PHP must be installed on the server to handle request from this form. Required PHP and JavaScript files are not provided with the free version of the template but this is OK for us because we do not want to use PHP in our solution. Let's put this part of the website on hold for a while - we will return to this in the upcoming article, while discussing dynamic websites.

Our procedure consists of several simple steps, as shown in the following example.

# create dedicated folder for the website
mkdir mywebsite

# download the template archive
wget https://webthemez.com/downloads/free/ballet-one-page-free-web-template.zip

# unpack to the created folder
unzip ballet-one-page-free-web-template.zip mywebsite

# rename the template default folder name to "www"
cd mywebsite
mv ballet-one-page-free-web-templatete www

# create subfolders required by Cricket
mkdir data
mkdir logs

# edit index.html file using a text editor, for example nano
nano index.html

After editing index.html according to our needs, the website is ready.

Running the website on Docker container

Depending on our preferences and we can run the website with Java SDK or using a Docker container.

The simplest way (assuming that we have Docker installed) is to use dockerized Cricket MSF library which contains embeded HTTP server.

cd mywebsite
docker run -it -p 8080:8080 -v $(pwd):/usr/cricket/work gskorupa/cricket:website.1.0

When run with -it option, we can see the service output on the terminal and can stop the service by pressing Ctrl-C.

Our newly created website is visible at http://localhost:8080

Running the website on plain Java

It is also easy to run our website without Docker when we have Java 8 or 9 installed. In this case we need to download the Cricket MSF library.

cd mywebsite
wget https://github.com/gskorupa/Cricket/releases/download/1.2.33/cricket-1.2.33.jar
java -jar cricket-1.2.33.jar -r

The runtime parameters are preconfigured in the library and the website is available at http://localhost:8080

Summary

In the article we presented how to build a static website based on template and how to run it with Docker or with plain Java.

The next step will be to add dynamically managed elements, i.e. possibility to modify the content and handle the contact form. We will write about it in an upcoming article.

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