DEV Community

Shawn Wildermuth
Shawn Wildermuth

Posted on • Originally published at on

Do I Always Need ASP.NET?

nginx The last couple of years I've needed a couple of new sites to promote things I'm working. Because I'm a .NET developer, my first instinct is always to just File->New an ASP.NET site. But should I?

Instead of using ASP.NET, these sites are typically one-pagers to promote something. I've done this with my,, and most recently my COVID-19 state-by-state tracking site:

The benefit of skipping ASP.NET in these cases is simplicity. They're just HTML/CSS/JS. Since I don't need any server-side code running, I just create the HTML and post it. Even in the cases of the film sites, I use widgets (in my case with MailChimp) to collect emails instead of doing the email work server-side.

It's more about combining services than my own ‘platform’. Let me be clear, this is an option, not the way I would implement many websites. But for read-only content, this is a great, simple way to get something up fast.

During Development

Let's talk about how I'm doing the development first. If you want to reference the code, it's at

The project structure is pretty simple:

 - src
   - index.html

There are more files there so I can build it and such, but to start out, I just create a simple index.html.

I usually use John Papa's great lite-server (link) to use during development. It's as simple as just opening up a console and:

d:\CovidStates\src>lite-server .

It hosts the source code and uses browser-link so you can just change the code and it will update in the browser. This is where I do 80% of the code. Since most of the work is building the HTML. This works great for most cases.

In the case of the Covid-19 tracker, there is client-side code I wanted to write. In that case, I initialized NPM and brought in a few packages that I'd need (mostly chartjs ). To avoid having to copy the entire node_modules folder, I opted into using webpack to just build the code I needed. This included the libraries I used for the site design(e.g. Bootstrap and jQuery). Finally I added babel to compile the code in the site. My webpack file was still pretty simple:

module.exports = {
  mode: "development",
  entry: {
    "main": "./js",
    "libs": "./js/libs"
  devtool: 'inline-source-map',  
  module: {
    rules: [
        test: /\.css$/i,
        use: ['style-loader', 'css-loader'],
        test: /\.m?js$/,
        exclude: /(node_modules|bower_components)/,
        use: {
          loader: 'babel-loader',
          options: {
            presets: ['@babel/preset-env']

Then I just created a couple of scripts in my package.json so I could easily run the builds:

  "scripts": {
    "build": "webpack --config",
    "dev": "webpack --watch --config"

Then I just needed two consoles to run the two commands: ‘npm run watch’ and 'lite-server .'.

Then I could just develop the web site.


The magic for me is that deployment becomes really easy. I could have opted to using GitHub Pages which I really like, but since I've been dropping these in Azure AppServices, I opted to just create a super simple container.

A while back my eyes were opened to nginx. This is a simple linux distro that is super small and just serves files. By using it, my dockerfile ends up incredibly simple:

FROM nginx:alpine
COPY ./src/*.html /usr/share/nginx/html
COPY ./src/dist /usr/share/nginx/html/dist

All I needed in this case was any HTML that I needed (the /usr/share/nginx/html is the directory where your site will be hosted in) as well as the compiled code.

While not exactly elegant, I decided to include all the CSS with webpack too which is any I just need the dist folder in my case.

Then it was as simple as creating a simple command to push the container to a registry (in this case since it's public, I just used docker's registry):

cd ./src
npm run build
cd ..
docker build . -t covidstates:latest
docker tag covidstates:latest shawnwildermuth/covidstates:latest
docker push shawnwildermuth/covidstates:latest

THis command builds the production code, then builds the docker image. Tags it for docker's registry and pushes it up. With that done, you can just point a new AppServices' instance to this new container. (See my previous article on AppServices and Docker images for how to do that here:

Whenever I make a change, I just push a new copy and it's live. Useful links:

Lite Server



COVID-19 Tracking by State

GitHub Repo

Let me know if this was useful!

Creative Commons License

      This work by [Shawn Wildermuth]( is licensed under a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License](  
      Based on a work at [](

If you liked this article, see Shawn's courses on Pluralsight.

Top comments (0)