Dynamic vs. static web pizza… er, pages


Yesterday I wrote about why I preferred WordPress over Blogger. Most of my decision was based on how at the time, WordPress allowed for dynamic web pages, whereas Blogger was limited to static web pages.

I’m going to try explaining static vs. dynamic web pages by comparing them to how a pizza parlor makes pizza. Let’s pretend that each slice of pizza represents a single web page, and that each slice’s ingredients (sauce, peppers, mushrooms, etc.) represent the content of that particular page.

Most pizza parlors have pizzas-by-the-slice that are sitting on the counter, waiting to be devoured. Pizza-by-the-slice is similar to static web pages in the following ways:

  • Both are made before you arrive
  • Both are already cooked, ready to “consume”
  • Both are limited in offerings

Now suppose you want more offerings than what’s available with pizza-by-the-slice. Unfortunately, as in most pizza parlors, you can’t get only a slice of whatever pizza you want (except maybe the Jackson Creek Pizza Co. in Medford). You usually have to order a brand new pizza. That’s where dynamic web pages are similar to the custom pizza you order:

  • Both are made after you arrive
  • Both have to be “cooked” before you “consume” them
  • Both can be customized to feature whatever ingredients you wish.

So as you can see, both forms of pizza are like both forms of web pages. Each has their benefits and disadvantages:

  • Pizza-by-the-slice is good if you just want a basic pizza to munch on. Static web pages are good if you just want a simple site that’s not going to require any changes.
  • Customized pizza is preferable if you want something customized to your tastes with only the ingredients you choose. Dynamic web pages are preferably if you have a lot of “ingredients” that you want to be able to customize.

Now this analogy fails in one aspect: With the pizza-by-the-slice, the pizza is ready to eat, whereas the custom pizza can take up to a half hour to bake. This is not the case with web publishing. While it does take a few milliseconds to “bake” dynamic web pages, you barely notice the difference.

I hoped this explained static vs. dynamic web pages. Have any questions? Please leave a comment or question below.