In about a week BowTie is entering the next phase of testing and development: public beta. We’re incredibly thankful for the ongoing support and feedback we received during our private beta, and we’re excited to share what’s next.
The Future of the Static Web
What if you could benefit from the speed, security, and stability of static web generation without losing user interaction, payments, and the convenience of an admin interface? What if the static web wasn’t so static?
BowTie has come a long way since our MVP, but our mission hasn’t changed. We believe in a world where shipping feature-rich static sites is easy, site security is commonplace, and developers are allowed to focus on their ideas rather than the cruft that gets in the way of execution.
The BowTie public beta release is a major step forward for our platform. We hope you find the improvements valuable when shipping your next project, client site, or static application.
Domains and SSL
We’ve tried to take the hassle out of domain management and SSL configuration. You can now add, remove, and reassign hosted and purchased domains with more control and ease. SSL certificates are automatically created and assigned with every domain purchase. And you can now route domains to a specific target environment and branch within your repo using a simple form. More
Users, payments, and stats are now contained within distinct environments, tied to a branch of your repository and a unique domain. Every BowTie project includes two environments by default -
live. You can easily create custom environments, mapping them to any branch and domain attached to your repository.
If you are using our Stripe integration, we automatically map your Stripe test key to your
test environment, allowing you to create test transactions without polluting your production data. More
New Policy Controls and Visitor Users
To augment our hosted user management forms we added a new Twitter and Google OAuth feature. Enable the services from our dashboard, and your users can register or sign in. You’ll have access to their OAuth access token after authentication. More
Payments Integration and Products
BowTie makes it easy to take payments on your static site, without having to direct traffic to a third party page. We recently added ‘Product’ records which allow you to capture payments with Stripe Checkout. You can use ‘Products’ to sell practically anything, and set policies around the purchase - for registered users or visitors. If you need recurring payments, you can use our Stripe subscription plan integration. We’ve also made it easier to run test transactions using the new BowTie test environment. More
Sharing access to your repository is now easier than ever. Access your project team page to add additional collaborators (each will need a BowTie account with an SSH key registered). Team members will see your project on their Projects page and in the Projects dropdown on their dashboard. More
We are now partnering with Zapier. Zapier extends your site by connecting BowTie user events to hundreds of common web applications. You can build Zaps for practically anything without additional programming. Or, explore some pre-built Zaps (such as sending BowTie user data to a Mongo database on registration).
No More WYSIWYG
We removed the simple WYSIWYG editor included in our MVP. While we see the value of WYSIWYG editors for quick content creation and management, our early adopters told us that they preferred to use their desktop editors (Vim, Atom, Sublime, etc.). We’re working on some additional functionality to allow developers to provided managed access to a repo for their content marketers or clients.
Documentation is a challenge with any project, especially an early one. We’ve taken to heart the feedback we received in private beta, working to improve our documentation with every new feature. We’re now using slate-docs to provide a more streamlined, searchable interface to our technical docs, augmented by a series of User Guides and example sites for less technical users.
Example Templates and Guides
Sometimes the best way to understand something is to reverse engineer an example. This release includes a set of open source Jekyll components and templates to help illustrate BowTie’s core features. Use our components as is, style them, or take them apart and remix them. More
Our local client has been updated to work with BowTie’s new environments feature. Install it with
gem install bowtie-io or learn more here.
We’ve updated the BowTie Dashboard to serve as a project based command/control center. You can now quickly switch between project environments, see information related to that environment (customers, revenue, webhooks, OAuth, etc) displayed in the primary sidebar nav. Project settings that span environments can be found under ‘More’ settings (domains, environments, team). We’ve also made it easier to remove projects and attach custom domains by relocating those tools to your Account settings. More
Where are we headed next?
BowTie’s public beta is a new chapter in our quest to build a better static web. We have some big changes planned for the future, as we continue to optimize our current feature set.
Here are a few of the big ideas in our development plan and a few additions you can expect to see in the coming months:
- Fully customizable user sign in / registration options
- An interface to map custom forms to user profiles
- Additional OAuth integrations
- Fully local development
- Automatic CDN integration
- Remote template management for use with 3rd party repos
- Repository access from your frontend so you can provide controlled content creation to clients
- Integrated support to deploy and use other static generators
If you have an idea or would like to help, we’d love to hear from you.
Welcome to public beta
If you are a static site enthusiast, we welcome you try our public beta. Many thanks to our private beta participants; your assistance and feedback was invaluable. We look forward to seeing what you build with the new BowTie.