If you are a software Developer in 2021, you probably should have heard of the Jamstack and might be wondering what this new architectural approach is all about. The Jamstack is one of the rapidly expanding software architectures in the world today and has experienced a massive increase in popularity and usage over the years.
In this article, we will talk about the Jamstack and the benefits of using the Jamstack. There is also a guide to help you get started with developing with the Jamstack in 2021 and links to popular Jamstack communities and resources to aid your learning.
The Jamstack architecture consists of 3 core components:
Note: you can have a look at the top 10 static site generators article we published a few months ago.
Jamstack sites are pre-rendered, without web servers, and are served statically directly from a static hosting infrastructure or CDN. What this means is that there is no server-side code in the Jamstack, all the website static and dynamic files are generated during the build process and uploaded into a CDN or Static file hosting infrastructure. These static files are then downloaded into the browser during request time, and maybe progressively enhanced in the browser before being shown to the end-user.
Developer experience : Jamstack websites are built without a web server or backend, this reduces complexity when building custom websites, it also allows your developers focus more on your front end and content delivery concerns. Deployment with the Jamstack is also easier than in a traditional web development stack, deployment in the Jamstack involves deploying your pre-rendered static files into a CDN or static hosting infrastructure, then serving these static files directly to your end-users during the request time.
Performance : Jamstack sites are incredibly fast. All the website’s assets are pre-rendered during build time and stored in a CDN, so when the website is served to the end-user, there are no interference or back end delays.
Security: Jamstack sites are a collection of static files served directly from a CDN during request time, no code is run during the request time, they are without any server, backend, or framework to hack, there are virtually no vulnerabilities. All your dynamic functions can also be handled by external APIs, this reduces your surface area of attack. Even though this process is not attack-proof, third party APIs are very secure and well maintained.
Cost : Jamstack files are served statically from a CDN, hosting is less expensive, fewer resources are needed for scaling hence the cost of scaling is low compared to the traditional server-side architecture.
If you are a Jamstack newbie - use the guide below to choose your Jamstack development tools.
Choosing a Headless CMS
A headless CMS provides a user interface for creating, storing and editing your content, it also provides an API for accessing your content with your front-end framework.
Popular Headless CMS resources:
Choosing a Static site generator
The static site generator is the most important part of your Jamstack architecture, it is used to generate all your website’s static assets during build time. Popular static site generators are : Jekyll, Hugo, Gatsby.
Popular Static site generator resources
Choosing a CDN/ Static hosting infrastructure
A CDN will greatly increase the speed and performance of your website. There are numerous CDN available today, and most ship with automated deployment, CI/CD pipelines, cache invalidation features. Popular CDNs are Netlify, Firebase, Cloudflare, Fastly, Surge.
Popular CDN resources
A major advantage of the Jamstack is the ability to consume data from external sources with an API, this removes the need for building a backend of your own. This approach reduces complexity and helps to build sites faster.
External API resources
Quadri Sheriff is an aspiring technical writer and a software programmer. He is a very shy individual who loves writing, coding and reading in his spare time. He is currently interested in learning more about blockchain and the Jamstack.