An audio introduction to Fill Pouch

What is FillPouch?

FillPouch is a simple, yet quite sophisticated website generator. It is simple because you can start creating a website with something as raw as plain HTML files. With no care about how it looks. Just merely the contents.

But FillPouch is also quite sophisticated. You can start using the clever features of FillPouch at any point in time when you are comfortable, at your own terms. FillPouch does not ask you to get into pre-made templates or some other rigid structure. Yet, you develop your own template-like arrangements; as you go along. Again this is done as per your own terms.

Why did we write FillPouch?

Like many others, we too first used popular HTML website editors such as Pinegrow, Mobirise, Bootstrap Studio and several others. Then we also experimented with other static site generators.

There were two common problems in all of them: One is that the visual look of the website was getting entangled in the content of the website. The second problem was more subtle but quite troubling: The more you proceed with your website design; more the system pulls you into its way of working which you cannot really retract. This makes iterating a design quite difficult.

Designing anything is not a kind of linear movement from simplicity to complexity. A good design process needs to be nimble. It should be highly iterative. You should be able get into all the sophistications of a website alright. But you should also retain the capability to change the sophistication as per your needs, at a moments notice -- how much ever you may have proceeded with the design.

Mr Sabu Francis; who wrote FillPouch, is an architect by training and passion. He is quite familiar with the iterative nature of architecture design. The same kind of problems can be seen in Computer Aided Design: More the architect proceeds with a design using C.A.D systems; more the software captures the architect into rigid ways of working -- and it is not easy to retract what the architect did and return back to a simpler arrangement and rebuild the complexity back in another way.

Let's come back to FillPouch and website design.

Imagine creating a website and as you get into it; you have now written lots of content. But at some point you or your team thought something else has to be explored. In the meantime, quite a lot of data has been put into place. Not just the content but even the ways to dress up the contents using CSS, etcetera. Since form and content are inextricably intertwined in all those systems, one is hesitant to change anything in there as you proceed.

In short; more work you put in, more your design fate is sealed. It gives an empty feel inside and you are left wondering "Did I explore other ways to do this?"

So the objective of FillPouch is to start as if FillPouch really did not exist: It should start with the assumption that the designer is only using raw HTML and CSS manually. Then, the designer should be able to tap into the features of FillPouch at any point in time, at the designer's own terms.

That is what really FillPouch does. It does very little insistence on what you should do or should not do. It does not throw its features into your face and insists that you MUST use them. This results in one nice eventuality: At the end of the design process; the content is kept separated from the things that went to decorate the content. So you now have all the freedom to concentrate on the content. You can even go back to an alternative, and dress up the content in some other way.

How to use FillPouch?

There is a small list of conventions you have to learn. It is mainly to do with the folder structure you are required to use. And how to create a project file that would be used by FillPouch for the site generation. Nothing is so rigid that it affects the quality of your website or limits the aforementioned design iterations.

In fact, you can start with just writing simple HTML itself. Use simple HTML elements such as B for bold and I for italics. And use the HTML element BR for line breaks,

As you proceed, you would notice that you can re-factor parts of the HTML and place fragments in different files; and leave behind meta-instructions. Fillpouch will intelligently read those meta-instructions and learn how to stitch up to form the entire HTML.

We hope you will be very productive with FillPouch and enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed making it.