JAMstack

14 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore JAMstack

by Arso & Ilona
7 min
22. Nov 2021.
Jamstack

JavaScript, APIs, Markup.

That's what JAMstack stands for. Although some think it's "Just Another Marketing Stack." It's a way to build websites and apps that deliver fantastic performance, high security, and lower-to-no scaling costs.

Now, some people are fiercely against JAMstack. Why’s that?

They resent it for not being a definite developer answer. It’s true, and it needs attention and improvement in a few areas, which only means it can be better, right?

The second critique you’ll hear about JAMstack is - it requires coding.

Well,

Duh gif

That’s why its target audience is developers. If you (as a business and website owner) want to make any updates on your website or even use a plugin you used to, you’ll need the help of a qualified developer.

Look at that this way.

If you don’t understand what some of the words in the sentence before mean, you shouldn’t use them at all. JAMstack is primarily a set of technologies to drive UIs. Therefore, it empowers front-end developers to wrangle backend APIs into beautiful web experiences.

On the other hand, if you’re still here and are burning with the desire to find the 14 reasons that advocate JAMstack, read further.

JAMstack is lighting fast

By default. Speed is the first and foremost JAMstack’s characteristic. Primarily, it happens because of its many ready-to-use features. Thanks to its declarative nature, you can easily copy and use many existing features and solutions, significantly improving development time. Also, frameworks like Gatsby or Next.js (both built upon React) make it easy for you to scale pages up and down.

Like building blocks.

Blocks gif

All JAMstack’s features are built to remove many points of failure and offer static content served via CDN. The browser requests an HTML file from the server and instantly gets one back. Flat HTML files are also much easier to cache on a CDN. Because of that, we’re offered an extra speedy experience.

JAMstack has a headless approach

We can compare a website to a car – the front-end layer is like car design, while the back-end layer is like an engine. It’s not visible from the outside, but it’s what keeps a website, webshop, or web application up and running.

One of the cool things about JAMstack and its tools is that they don’t have databases involved.

The headless approach separates back-end content functions (like creation, management, and storage) from front-end functions (like presentation and delivery).

Headless CMS structure

With it, developers aren’t serving dynamically rendered HTML; instead, they’re doing static, flat HTML files that existed on the server before your browser ever requested for them.

We wrote about JAMstack and how it works in one of our previous articles so that you can have all information.

JAMstack is simple

With JAMstack, no code is generated on the servers since it’s replaced databases and server-side code with APIs and build processes. Developers can focus on building a good UI and experience for the application and not building out running servers.

Phil Hawksworth, DX at Netlify, said that we could ensure that our pages are correct before deploying them by pre-rendering our sites. You get much certainty about your deployment process because no one ever has to wait for assets to be generated.

JAMstack is static. Or not so much

Jamstack was assumed to be a stack best suited for purely static content due to the pre-rendered HTML and close association with static site generators. While static content accounts for some of the content created with the Jamstack, Jamstack sites do not have to be strictly static. Jamstack is suitable for both the humble developer and the formidable enterprise if teams consider the specific needs of the projects.

Believe it or not, JAMstack can also be leveraged to create blended/hybrid sites. You can add a lot of dynamic functionality to it, including real-time handling requests, processing payments, managing customer accounts, carrying out total website searches, and a lot more.

CMS for JAMstack

How to know what the best JAMstack choice for you is? React, Angular, PHP, Ruby, Hugo, Pure HTML - these are all JAMstack tools. Some of them are Javascript based, some are not.

Well, it all depends on your relevant experience. By that, we mean the occasion approach. About with a specific technology (or tool), not with archaic or outdated stuff. Also, take into consideration the experience of your team and the teams around you. It’s incredible when you can ask someone about the problem you are stuck with so you don’t have to Google everything on your own.

Next, the size of the project is also essential. It’s hard to find all the answers for big projects. Choose the tool for which you can find documentation or answers on stack overflow.

Here are a few tips from our side when to choose which tool:

  • Gridsome for small or personal websites;
  • Next.js for severe projects and more significant sites. Developers love it;
  • Gatsby.js for when you want to pre-build the whole website;
  • Nuxt.js for when you are a Vue.js fan.

Choosing the right stack can determine your project’s success.

Lastly, when choosing a tool you want to work with, pay attention to the community and prize. It’s essential to have someone who can support you, and sometimes documentation is not enough. You’ll need a fellow developer to give you a few pieces of advice.

Regarding the price, check out whether the tool is free or what features it requires you to pay, considering your needs.

JAMstack is more secure

Being static means, the front end is disconnected from the backend. In other words, it is just HTML files and external API handling served over CDN. Because of that, there is no room for thieves, as they will only face the picture of a treasure, not the treasure itself.

Let’s explain that a little further. Traditional server-side and CMS applications expose many APIs and services to allow administrators to manage data and content. All of these are at risk of attack and require continuous effort to patch and maintain. On the other hand, static files are read-only and not susceptible to the same types of attacks. There is no code to run, so no vulnerabilities to exploit.

The risk for attacks on the website is reduced, and it’s easy to integrate SSL certificates.

JAMstack’s most significant disadvantage is also its advantage

Ok, we are now repeating ourselves, but here it goes (for the last time, we promise). JAMstack is fast, and makers and innovators can quickly bring their ideas to the Internet.

But sometimes it can also be a problem. When talking about large webs, built time is their most significant fail point, and it’s not so speedy with them. Large sites have tens of thousands of content items, and when you have a client who wants to see real-time results, JAMstack cannot provide it that fast. That happens because of a disconnect between the content being edited and the change on the site. It can be challenging to preview precisely the impact of a difference on the live site until it is published.

There are three target audiences we believe should not use JAMstack:

  • People who are not developers
  • Small businesses that all of a sudden have to stop selling their products locally and they want to go online
  • People who need a highly personalized and dynamic site (like Facebook and Twitter)

JAMstack needs some effort and implementation, which is not fun for all. It’s unsuitable for those who needed to start selling yesterday and have no time for that implementation. Also, it’s not suitable for those who don’t have pre-generated content because their content changes all the time. You can call it a disadvantage, but, as we said, it’s kind of an advantage too. You know whether you should use it or avoid it from the start.

Okay, we are halfway through the list. A quick reminder to drink enough water.

JAMstack is earning business owners money overall

Let’s start with the fascinating thing. JAMstack is free. That means that you, as a developer, don’t have any initial costs. It’s fantastic as it is. But, of course, that’s not all.

Money

When negotiating projects with potential clients, developers who use JAMstack have extra aces in their sleeves.

    The lack of web application servers and database servers are developers' advantages in winning clients.

    Think about it, the wish of every business owner is to earn money. JAMstack helps companies by saving the time, effort, and money needed in the development process. Moreover, it not only saves money, but it can earn it.

    With no limit in creating unique experiences for customers, JAMstack enables better conversion rates and, ultimately, more significant profits.

    The marketing buzz follows JAMstack in step, but for a reason

    Did you know that people call JAMstack ‘Just Another Marketing Stack’?

    This joke made me laugh.In many opinions, JAMstack is a fancy way of describing ‘the way all used to build websites. Its goal is not to manipulate developers with empty marketing jargon but to make the name more appropriate to the solution. All about branding. The branding is good, yes. And we agree that the JAMstack approach has existed for more than ten years now. But, that doesn’t mean there’s no substance to this tool versus some older ones.

    The rise of static site generators, serverless, and services like GitHub and Netlify mean that building and managing sites built like this is way easier than it was a decade ago. We used to see static sites like most blogs and documentation where the UI was primarily fixed, and the extent of interaction was perhaps embedded comments and a contact form. Jamstack sites, on the other hand, have things like user authentication, dynamic content, eCommerce, user-generated content, and it’s filled with all sorts of dynamic content and capabilities.

    JAMstack offers an excellent User Experience

    As we mentioned, JAMStack websites are static, which means they work extremely fast, like in a blink of an eye. But, a speedy user experience is not the only JAMstack can offer.

    Developers have a great experience because all the data is pre-rendered, so they don’t have to wait for any response from the server to display data.

    Content contributors now have more possibilities to make their experience more personalized. Some are satisfied with customizable online contribution platforms; others prefer software that helps create (correction, suggestions, documentary contributions). JAMstack enables them to use their favorite tool without interfering with others’.

    Also, the static nature of JAMStack is making it extremely easy for Google spiders to crawl through the website. That results in Better Google Ranks and higher results. And that is the final goal for creators and business owners.

    Website visitors also have a great experience. The loading time is shorter, and the website is faster and, combined with good design, they simply love those websites.

    Want proof? Some well-known companies and sites are built using the JAMstack. 

    This leads us to reason No.11.

    JAMstack and marketers are a match made in heaven

    There is another popular opinion, similar to that “Just Another Marketing Stack,” from the beginning.

    People believe it’s hard to edit a lot of content with a static site generator. A wide range of headless CMS options power content for large enterprises. They offer an array of editing capabilities that rival any traditional CMS—for example, deploying updates, scheduling posts ahead of time, and triggering periodic rebuilds of your content.

    Custom landing pages can be built much faster and easier, and eCommerce Shops can engage customers and position their products easier in Google ranks. A mad dash no more follows long dev cycles to get all of the marketing content in at the last minute.

    JAMstack performance, security, and better experience contribute to better site engagement, improved SEO, and promptly released ad campaigns without needing to stretch your goals because the site got hacked. All that ultimately increases conversion rates.

    Who wouldn’t want that?

    JAMstack is easy to maintain

    When you’re building the entire site once, you get a tremendous benefit: atomic deploys. All the markup, styles, scripts, and data are in one place that won’t modify again after the build.This means that if you make a mistake, you can roll back to a previous deployment by straight-up replacing the harmful deploy files with a good deploy.

    The maintenance is generally as easy as adding, updating, or deleting Markdown files. Additionally, with some minor configurations, you can use a workflow that automatically publishes updates.

    JAMstack is future-proofed

    Some companies still use outdated technologies, which may not stand the test of time. They do that because it is much simpler than learning the whole team a new technology. But the truth is, they miss a lot of growth possibilities.

    When choosing the tools or software that can help you in your work, it’s best to select such growing technologies that have a strong community, and creators and contributors support that for many years to come. JAMstack is like that. More versatile, faster, and cheaper than going the traditional route.

    Traditional CMSs (WordPress, Drupal), in our opinion, are just trying to do too much. They are cumbersome. Opinionated, and their user-friendly admins started feeling less friendly.

    You can get help with JAMstack’s incredible rising community

    As interest in JAMstack grows, so does its community. And we don't just mean the developers community who can exchange documentation and pieces of advice, and the same applies to business and enterprise owners.

    Did you know they even had a JAMstack conference in 2020? The community is growing like crazy!

    All in all, even though you hate it at first, you'll fall for JAMstack benefits.

    Now, you might have already tried JAMstack. You might even have opened our article to see why the heck people praise it that much. To see if you missed something.

    The truth is, you hated Gatsby and React. In your experience, it was pretty hard to get every bit of functionality you need working.

    But let's be honest. If you tried JAMstack and then turned back to your old habits, you indeed found out that you can build the same website in several hours in JAMstack instead of losing much more time on your way before. Many came to the same conclusion.

    What’s your experience in JAMstack?