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by : Zahwah Jameel
March 24th 2023
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Jamstack is one of the latest technology lingos gaining widespread popularity among major organizations because of its promise of offering a revolutionary approach to web app development that is simpler, cost-effective, productive, secure, and has enhanced performance.

The State of Jamstack Report 2022 showed that 44% of developers choose 44% to build apps with stability and reliability. 43% of the developers chose Jamstack for productivity, and 40% leveraged Jamstack for its security benefits.

Jamstack’s wide range of offerings like better speed, high scalability, better developer experience, and saving resources has completely changed the way we think about web application development. You can learn more about its purpose and how to get started with the aid of this comprehensive guide.

What is Jamstack?

jamstack workflow

Jamstack, which stands for Javascript, APIs, and Markup, is first and foremost a software architecture and philosophy.

Nowadays, the term “Jamstack” describes an architectural method for creating websites. Although there are differing views on what exactly the Jamstack approach signifies today, the majority of websites that make this claim include the following characteristics:

Decoupled

The frontend and backend use separate tooling. Developers typically use a static site generator to create the front end, while APIs are commonly utilized throughout the building process to interface the back end with the front end. Additionally, serverless functions can be used to perform server-side procedures.

Static-First

Although there are many techniques for adding dynamic functionality to Jamstack sites, the majority of them are pre-rendered, meaning that the front end was written and compiled into HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

Progressively Enhanced

Pre-rendered websites can incorporate the JavaScript framework when necessary, enhancing browser performance.

What makes up the Jamstack Ecosystem?

The Jamstack architecture consists of Javascript, APIs, and Markup. Its origins can be traced to the development of the word “static site” into something more significant (and marketable). Although the end product is ultimately a static site, it has been expanded to incorporate top-notch tooling at every stage.

jamstack buildup

JavaScript

The JavaScript framework has arguably contributed the most to Jamstack’s popularity. All of the dynamic and interactive elements that we might not have if we were serving plain HTML markups without our preferred browser language are now possible thanks to it.

This is where UI frameworks like React, Vue, and more recent additions like Svelte frequently find use. By offering component APIs and technologies that output a straightforward HTML file, they make creating Jamstack applications easier and more organized.

These HTML markup files contain a collection of assets, such as photos, CSS, and the actual JS, which you can eventually serve to a browser via your preferred CDN (content delivery network).

Here’s a good read: A detailed comparison between JavaScript Libraries and Frameworks

APIs

The key to creating dynamic websites is to make use of APIs’ strengths. Your application will use Javascript to send an HTTP request to another provider, whether it’s for authentication or search, which will ultimately improve the user experience in some way.

You can contact as many hosts as you need for an API.

For instance, if you host your blog entries using a headless WordPress API, store your specialized media in a Cloudinary account, and run your site’s search engine using an Elasticsearch instance, all of these components work together to give visitors to your site a seamless experience.

HTML Markup

This is the essential component. It’s the initial piece you serve to the client, whether it’s your handwritten HTML or the code that generates the HTML. This is essentially a de facto component of every website, but the most crucial aspect is how you provide it.

The HTML must be delivered statically for it to qualify as a Jamstack app, which entails that it cannot be dynamically rendered from a server.

Benefits of Leveraging Jamstack Development

benefits of jamstack

Here are some proven benefits of leveraging Jamstack web development for your business:

Speed

Because Jamstack apps are typically served directly via a CDN as static files, your app will probably load extremely quickly. It’s no longer necessary for the server to create the page first before replying; instead, you can deliver the page “as is” as plain HTML or with client-side hydration, like with React.

Great for SEO

Websites built with Jamstack load swiftly and effectively. You want a website that loads quickly and easily when it comes to Google. A website of this kind will rank highly on Google. a high ranking, which will increase visitors to your website.

Jamstack also allows you complete freedom over where and how you position your content. You can add page titles, meta descriptions, alt texts, and so much more with Jamstack. All of these details will increase your website’s search engine exposure.

Cost

Jamstack sites cost less to maintain than their server-side equivalents. Static asset hosting is inexpensive, and your page is now being served at the same speed.

Scalability

Since you’re serving your files from static hosting, most likely a CDN, you essentially have infinite scalability by default. The majority of companies will make this guarantee, so you won’t have any issue letting any influx of visitors enter through the front door.

Great Developer Experience

As a Jamstack developer, you have unlimited flexibility because you can select your own tech stack. Developers are free to work without being constrained by a particular platform or technology. Additionally, it’s getting much easier to reuse functionality across different websites or applications with the emergence of microservice APIs and reusable APIs.

Maintenance

You don’t need to maintain a web server because it isn’t the basis of your static website. No matter which provider you choose, your static HTML markup, CSS, and JS are kept up to date without causing you any headaches.

Security

Considering that you don’t have to directly manage a web server, you don’t have to worry as much about securing entry points for outsiders.

To secure private material and reassure your consumers that their personal information isn’t made public, you should instead concentrate mostly on permissions.

Drawbacks of Leveraging Jamstack

Here are some drawbacks of using Jamstack for development. Although the drawbacks are not major, it is necessary to understand them and mitigate any risks that can arise during the development process.

Dependence on Third-party Systems

You depend on third-party systems and APIs to function consistently because your website depends so heavily on them. Your website is affected if a third-party system or API is unavailable (or parts of it).

It’s the same as when a regular website’s server goes down, but with a Jamstack site, there are very few things you can do to solve the issue if it’s a problem with a third-party supplier.

Tougher Implementation of Updates

You’ll need to use code to change your templates if you want to do so. Since the content is separated from your front end, editors cannot easily alter the templates. Since they can’t be quickly updated in other ways, this will frequently imply that developers will have to spend extra time creating the updates.

Not Suited with Content Editors

Though content marketers and editors may not necessarily enjoy it, developers probably do. Your content editors must be fairly technically proficient to develop and update material because you must serve your content as Markup.

As your editors lose editing features they’re familiar with from a content management system, it can slow down content development and often require you to teach your editors new skills for Jamstack CMS. They will also be in charge of effective media management, which can be time-consuming.

Problems with Dynamic Features

As long as we’re creating pages with content and photos, Jamstack sites are fantastic. You can encounter problems when your site needs dynamic content and features. You will have to conduct more of the labor-intensive work yourself using API calls or your code if you don’t have a database to handle your requests.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t do it, but since your architecture lacks these dynamic elements, it will require more resources to complete.

Tools You Can Use For Jamstack Development

You can utilize several tools available to get started with Jamstack development and provide amazing web experiences. They might be a bit rough on the edges since this is a brand-new tooling area.

Jamstack toolkit

To help you get started, here is a compiled a list of the best tools for each development phase and with our recommendations.

Application Construction with Jamstack

You can choose your preferred user-interface framework and start working on the development process of your app. Here are some popular frameworks that you can choose from. We recommend Gatsby for app development since it is the most popular choice.

  • Gatsby
  • Scully
  • Hugo
  • 11ty
  • Nift

Application Deployment with Jamstack

If you wish to have more control, AWS is one of the best options. However, tools like Zeit and Netlify CMS make configurations easier by hooking into your GitHub repository and building whenever you push a new commit.

  • AWS
  • Zeit
  • GCP
  • Azure
  • Netlify
  • GitHub Pages
  • Surge

Adding API and other Dynamic Functionality with Jamstack

Here are some ideas and tools for API and other dynamic features.

  • Google Analytics – Website traffic analytics
  • Auth0 – Authentication processes
  • headlesscms.org – Unlimited lists of headless content management systems
  • Cloudinary – Media management
  • Snipcart – E-commerce
  • Sanity – CMS
  • Stripe – Payments
  • Serverless Framework – DIY, easy-to-deploy serverless resources

Some Use Cases of Jamstack

The use cases and tips discussed below will enable you to leverage the best out of Jamstack development.

Content delivery network (CDN)

When you have already created all the assets and markup, content delivery network (CDN) delivery is a great option for results in improved performance and increased scalability.

Cache invalidation

After uploading your build is complete, the content delivery network clears its cache, indicating that your fresh construction is operational now.

Version control

You can store your codebase in a version management tool like Git. The main advantages include traceability, collaboration, and history changes.

Atomic deploys

In atomic deploys, each deployment builds an exact site’s duplicate to ensure it is accessible everywhere in a uniform version.

Automated builds

When a new build becomes essential, your server gets alerted, mostly through webhooks. After the server creates the project and updates the content delivery networks, the site goes live.

Read more: A Complete Guide to Cross-Platform App Development

Is Jamstack the Future?

Yes! Jamstack is a good option for the proper project, and the decoupled architecture instead of the traditional monolithic architecture has many benefits for many websites.

jamstack vs traditional workflow

However, Jamstack requires certain technical expertise from both developers and editors to thrive. Thus, you might not get the outcomes you want if your team lacks the ability to use Jamstack effectively.

If all a visitor sees on your website is the same old content that your editors are fighting to update, it won’t matter how quickly it loads.

Consider adopting a headless CMS if you want to eliminate the editor experience, which is the main drawback of a typical Jamstack site. By doing this, you can maintain the editor experience while still relying on a decoupled architecture with RESTful APIs supplying and rendering the content.

Start Jamstack Development with OnGraph

The best way to kickstart your Jamstack development journey with guaranteed success is to partner with a reliable Jamstack development company with expertise in various industry verticals.

Being a leader in providing the most innovative Jamstack website development services, OnGraph is an agile organization with a team of proficient developers and 15+ years of industry experience in giving scalable, trustworthy, and customized Jamstack development services.

If you have a Jamstack project, OnGraph can help you successfully finish it with our in-house team of Jamstack developers. To get started with Jamstack web development, reach us or schedule an appointment for Jamstack consulting now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zahwah Jameel

A software engineer with a deep interest in writing blogs and web content on various tech stacks.

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