The “Baked Data” architecture pattern

I learned about this recently from this blog post, and it seems like a really robust tool to have in my tool belt:

[M]ost of the site content lives in a SQLite database, and I use custom Jinja templates to implement the site’s different pages.

This is effectively a variant of the static site generator pattern. The SQLite database is built by scripts as part of the deploy process, then deployed to Google Cloud Run as a binary asset bundled with the templates and Datasette itself.

I call this the Baked Data architectural pattern — with credit to Kevin Marks for helping me coin the right term. You bake the data into the application.

It’s comparable to static site generation because everything is immutable, which greatly reduces the amount of things that can go wrong — and any content changes require a fresh deploy. It’s extremely easy to scale — just run more copies of the application with the bundled copy of the database. Cloud Run and other serverless providers handle that kind of scaling automatically.

Unlike static site generation, if a site has a thousand pages you don’t need to build a thousand HTML pages in order to deploy. A single template and a SQL query that incorporates arguments from the URL can serve as many pages as there are records in the database.

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