My PhD supervisor always told me that we write papers "for the ages". The publication system being what it is, we cannot go back and update any links, so we should not cite or reference a source that may be gone in five years.

With that in mind, I'm looking for a place to host a small open-source web-application, consisting only of static assets (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), and I would like to link to it from my paper. GitHub being as big as it is, I suppose I will trust them for storage, but they do not offer hosting. Ideally, someone reading the paper should be able to go right to a URL and run the app.

Any thoughts?

  • 6
    "they do not offer hosting" - yes they do.
    – Rup
    Jan 9 '16 at 16:37
  • Aha. So they do. :-) Because of the existence of services like rawgit, I guess I just assumed they didn't. In keeping with the spirit of stackexchange, would you like to put this in the form of an answer?
    – mhelvens
    Jan 9 '16 at 16:54
  • 1
    Thanks but there's more to say though, and I think you want an answer from someone who's actually put something in their papers like this. You could also e.g. just register a domain name and put that in your papers; it's then up to you to maintain that I suppose but that ought not be too problematic.
    – Rup
    Jan 9 '16 at 16:57
  • 1
    Does your university have an institutional repository? They're designed for long-term preservation. Jan 9 '16 at 17:16
  • @menzenski: Sure. But I don't think it's suitable for this. It's meant for documents, and I believe they are strict with the file-types it accepts. Even if it somehow works, they never intended it to be used for hosting web-apps, so I do not trust that any solution I come up with will continue to work in the future. To top it all off, it's the kind of repository that locks down the content once a URL is generated. I can see the point of that policy, but in this case I want to be able to fix any bugs that crop up in the future.
    – mhelvens
    Jan 9 '16 at 17:26

GitHub Pages web hosting really is perfect for your needs, but you might also want to consider FigShare. You'll get a DOI, which makes it easy for people to cite your HTML application. You could zip up your application using only local references so your app will be downloadable and usable as long as HTML 4/5 browsers exist. Until March 2015, content on FigShare was shared through an international alliance of libraries (CLOCKSS), but alas no longer.

  • While not exactly what I need (because it is not meant to host web-apps), FigShare is pretty cool! I'll keep it in mind.
    – mhelvens
    Jan 9 '16 at 20:28

Dropbox and Google Drive both provide the long-life storage and the permanent hyper links to the content of those personal repositories could be an option for you.

  • 2
    Google Drive web-page hosting is being deprecated. This is basically what I'm afraid of when using a service like that, which is not really meant for web-hosting. For the same reason, I don't trust Dropbox for this either.
    – mhelvens
    Jan 9 '16 at 18:37
  • Deprecation does not just affect these services... The organizational policies might lead to vast removing of many files from repositories of Git and so on. None of them will host your files, for ever.
    – User
    Jan 9 '16 at 19:01
  • Of course, you're right. But for reasons outlined in a comment above, I put more trust in GitHub Pages than in Dropbox and Drive. Google in particular has been in the habit lately of discontinuing their products.
    – mhelvens
    Jan 9 '16 at 19:40
  • Dropbox used to ban html sharing (notably, they banned it for entire Russia), so I recommend against using Dropbox as a hosting service.
    – svavil
    Jan 10 '16 at 2:01

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