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21 Nov, 2022

What is JAMstack?

JAMstack, is it the future of website architecture?

Learn more about the architecture changing modern web development.

What is JAMstack?

Let's get stuck in. JAMstack is an architecture designed to make the web faster, more secure and easier to scale. JAMstack effectively ‘decouples’ the finished web experience from data and business logic, giving you all the web performance and security benefits of a static website along with the dynamic and engaging capabilities of a database-driven CMS. The best of both worlds.

In simple terms? JAMstack allows one database to power multiple different front ends. Traditionally native apps, websites, smart watch apps etc have been created independently, with their own integrations and features such as stock, shipping tools, which is expensive to maintain, JAMstack allows all of these systems to be powered by one back end system.

What does Jamstack stand for?

JavaScript, APIs, Markup.

JavaScript is the first foundation of the whole stack. It’s a core programming language used by web applications.

An API (application programming interface) is a way to request data from someone else's program or application. Outsourcing at its finest.

Markup is the code (HTML and CSS) that forms the presentation layer of your website, also called the front end. Jamstack websites are served as static HTML files.

And Stack refers to the use of all these tools in a way that allows developers to build modern ecosystems.

How does it work?

A Jamstack website or application is built using just the three elements listed above. The front end website that the user engages with is prebuilt into highly optimised static pages using HTML and CSS markup code. JavaScript is used for any necessary dynamic functionality, and for calling APIs.

APIs provide the application's backend, doing away with the need for a database on your own server. Using APIs means that Jamstack developers do not have to construct their own backend applications. They can build on tried and true APIs to make their websites and apps work, and effectively outsource functions such as payments, form submissions, user authentication and sign ups.

Once deployed, the static Jamstack site or application is then served via a Content Delivery Network instead of a traditional server.  A CDN is a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide lightning fast delivery of Internet content (among many other benefits, which probably deserve their own article).

This entire process of ‘decoupling’, or creating a clean separation between build systems, is a core Jamstack principle.

What is decoupled architecture?

Decoupled, or headless, websites are websites that have a separation between where their content is stored (the CMS) and where it is viewed (the front end).  This framework allows components to remain autonomous and unaware of each other, free to do their thing independently. By decoupling the front and back end systems, either of them can be updated at leisure, upgraded or swapped out without affecting the other part.

Ok cool but what are the benefits of JAMstack?

JAMstack’s core principles of pre-rendering, and decoupling enable sites and applications to be delivered with greater confidence and resilience than ever before. Here are just a few main benefits of Jamstack:

Faster performance
Serve pre-rendered, static content over a CDN. This is the fastest way to deliver web content to end users and superior scalability.

More secure
No need to worry about server or database vulnerabilities.

Better developer experience
Front end developers can focus on the front end, without being coupled to a traditional back end. This usually means quicker and more focused development.

Scalability
Because the frontend is fast and the backend is lightweight, Jamstack applications can seamlessly compensate for large increases in usage. No more guessing how much extra bandwidth you’ll need for those Black Friday shoppers.

Is JAMstack the future of web development?

Web technologies are constantly changing to meet the needs and ever changing use cases of how we deliver content to our audience. Jamstack has changed the way we think about how a website is built and served across the network. It offers many benefits and solves many issues of previous web technologies.

In our current present-future it is indeed the better solution, but as technology and problems evolve we will need to adapt to the ever changing landscape of the web! So in short yes, but who knows what the future holds.

Is JAMstack right for me?

Great question, there are great JAMstack options for start-ups through to enterprise businesses across both pretty basic and also quite technical applications. So probably but not always, get in touch and well see what's right for you.

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