So, while I was catching up on T Bryce Yehl's blog since missing his transition to MovableType, I caught an interesting blurb he wrote with regards to Phil Ringnalda's ponderings on FriedPages and BakedPages in weblogs:
"Funky caching" could be useful for a static publishing system as well. Weblog archives can consume a great deal of space, yet those pages are infrequently requested. Why not GZip entries from previous months and use a 404 handler to extract pages as-needed?The funky caching to which he refers involves implementing a 404 (page not found) handler that, instead of just supplying condolences for a missing page, actually digs the page up out of cold storage if it can. I think I need to look into this for my site - throw all the old blog entries away into gzipped files, or maybe a tarball per month, and have a funky 404 handler dig them out when needed.
There are issues with this - such as what happens if I want to edit old content, or I change templates, or what not - but I think there could be decent solutions for those. Hell, maybe this is an easier way to blog locally and publish globally - don't rsync directories of files, just publish locally and upload a new tarball. Then, on the remote site, delete the index, RSS files, and other affected files and watch happy updates ensue. If a massive site change is made, rebuild locally, re-tarball every thing, upload the new tarballs, and delete all remote content to trigger revivification. Scary but possibly nifty.