After working as frontend developer for over 7+ years––I firmly believe that Jamstack is the future of web development. It’s a modular way of building websites that deliver better performance, higher security, better developer experience and lower costs of scaling.
In this post I’ll take you through everything you need to know to get started with Jamstack and find if it’s a good fit for your organization. This post will be helpful to developers, marketers and business owners as well.
What is JAMstack?
Jamstack is an architecture that is based on the concept of decoupling the frontend and backend.
The opposite of Jamstack is the traditional Monolith architecture, where the frontend and backend are tightly coupled with each other. In a monolith architecture, you’d typically have a CMS such as WordPress or Drupal, and you’d upload your theme to these CMS to build your website.
Drawbacks of a Monolith system:
- Low performance: In a monolith website, your server will render the HTML for every page request. This means that your server will be doing a lot of work to render the HTML for every page request. This will slow down your website.
- Low flexiblity: In a monolith website, you’ll have to rely on the CMS to build your website. This means that you’ll have to use the CMS’s templating language to build your website. This will limit your ability to build a website that is unique to your brand.
- Low security: In a monolith website, your server will be responsible for serving the HTML for every page request. This means that your server will be exposed to a lot of attacks. This will make your website vulnerable to attacks.
- Higher costs of scaling: In a monolith website, as your website grows, you’ll have to scale your server to handle the increased traffic. This will increase your costs of scaling.
Jamstack on the other hand is a modular way of building websites. Your frontend and backends (CMSs) are independent of each other. The following diagram shows a high level overview of how a Jamstack site can source data from multiple CMSs and generate a fully optimized static website.
Benefits of Jamstack?
We can broadly define three main stakeholders of a website: site visitors, content editors (and marketers) and developers. Let’s see how Jamstack can benefit each of these stakeholders.
As you see in the diagram above, Jamstack lives at the intersection of the three stakeholders. It can benefit each of these stakeholders in the following ways:
- Site visitors: Jamstack websites are fast. Better speed means better user experience. A better UX means more conversions and also better search rankings. Faster website => Better UX => Better SEO.
- Content editors: Jamstack websites are built with headless CMSs. These CMSs provide better flexiblity in terms of editing content.
- Developers: Jamstack framework enables developers to choose technologies of their preference. Developers don’t have to rely on the CMS’s templating language to build the website. This means that developers can use their favorite frontend frameworks to build the website.
Components of Jamstack
Jamstack sites are typically composed of three main components: Headless CMSs, Site Generators, and Infrastructure Providers.
A headless CMS provides a way to create, edit and manage content. It also provides an API to access the content. The API can be used to fetch the content and render it on the frontend.
A headless CMS is different from a traditional CMS in the sense that it doesn’t provide a way to render the content. It only provides an API to access the content. The frontend is responsible for rendering the content.
Here’s a list of popular headless CMSs:
A site generator is a tool that takes the content from the headless CMS and renders it into a static website. The static website is then deployed to a CDN.
Here’s a list of popular site generators:
Hosting and Infrastructure Providers
Here’s a list of popular cloud platforms that can run builds and host your Jamstack website:
What Does Publishing Workflow Look like with Jamstack?
The following diagram shows the publishing workflow of a Jamstack website:
Should You Migrate to Jamstack?
Jamstack sites come with a lot of benefits that can put you ahead of your competitors. For example, Jamstack sites load much faster which creates a better user experience. This can lead to better SEO and more conversions.
Jamstack sites are also more secure since most of the pages are pre-rendered and deployed to a CDN. This means that your server is not exposed to a lot of attacks.
However, migrating to Jamstack is not a one-size-fits-all solution. You should consider the following factors before migrating to Jamstack:
- Jamstack is a relatively new technology. It’s still evolving. So you might require regular support from your developers to keep the frameworks and libraries up to date. If you’re a small business you might not have resources for regular development support.
- Jamstack sites initially take more time to build. This is because monolith websites have been around for long time and have huge catalogs of plugins and themes. Jamstack sites are usually built from scratch. So you might have to spend more time and money to build a Jamstack site if you’re just starting your business.
If you’re just starting your business, then I’d recommend that you start with a simple drag-n-drop website builders like Webflow, Squarespace, Wix, etc. These website builders are easy to use and won’t cost you much. Once your business is growing, and you are ready to scale then you must migrate to Jamstack for an edge over your competitors.
I’m Ready to Migrate to Jamstack. Where Do I Start?
Schedule a free consultation call with us to discuss if Jamstack makes sense for your business and how you can move forward.