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Matt Layman
Matt Layman

Posted on • Originally published at mattlayman.com

WhiteNoise Shenanigans - Building SaaS #79

In this episode, I worked on a method of adding static content to a site that didn't involve the staticfiles directory, a separate domain, or a reverse proxy like Nginx. We had to get clever with Heroku buildpacks and how to configure WhiteNoise.

I want to put a blog on my side project for content marketing purposes.

I want the blog to be statically generated and have content come from Markdown (just like these show notes that you're currently reading).

My preference is to put the blog on a path like mysite.com/blog/ instead of using a subdomain like blog.mysite.com.

I could do this easily if the blog lived at /static/blog/ by working within Django's staticfiles system, but those URLs look gross.

I could also do this with a reverse proxy like Nginx, but that complicates my Heroku deployment setup.

Instead of picking any of those strategies, I wanted to find a way to make WhiteNoise, the package that serves static files in my Django app, serve the blog.

To get started, I added a Heroku buildpack that would run Hugo to generate the blog output. This took a while to get right because I had to create a Hugo project in a way that didn't pollute the root of my project with a bunch of Hugo directories.

Once I was successful with Hugo, we moved on to the WhiteNoise setup. I created a custom subclass of the WhiteNoise middleware so that I could add the blog output to the set that WhiteNoise would serve.

We got the middleware set up and I proved that the app could serve the blog. To finish off the stream, I did some validation of the cache headers to see the behavior of the blog files and how WhiteNoise would cache the files.

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