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Jamstack, Javascript, Websites

Jamstack: The Modern Way to Build Fast and Secure Websites

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Learn what Jamstack is, how it works, what are its benefits, and how you can get started with it.

Web development is constantly evolving and changing. New technologies, frameworks, and tools emerge every day to help developers create better websites and applications. However, some of the traditional web development practices are still prevalent and can cause problems such as slow performance, security vulnerabilities, and complex maintenance.

That’s why many developers are adopting a new approach to web development called Jamstack. Jamstack is not a specific technology or framework, but a set of principles and best practices that aim to improve the web development process and deliver better results.

In this article, we will explain what Jamstack is, how it works, what are its benefits, and how you can get started with it.

What is Jamstack?

Jamstack stands for JavaScript, APIs, and Markup. These are the three main components of a Jamstack website or application:

  • JavaScript: The dynamic functionality of the website is handled by JavaScript, which runs in the browser and communicates with backend services via APIs.
  • APIs: The backend logic and data of the website are abstracted into reusable APIs, which can be hosted on different servers or platforms and accessed via HTTPS.
  • Markup: The frontend content and layout of the website are pre-rendered into static HTML files during a build process, which can be hosted on any server or CDN.

Jamstack is an architectural approach that decouples the frontend from the backend, and relies on pre-rendering and CDN delivery to improve performance, security, and scalability.

How does Jamstack work?

A Jamstack website or application follows a different workflow than a traditional web development project. Here are the main steps involved:

  • Development: The developer uses a static site generator (SSG) or a frontend framework to create the website or application. The SSG or framework takes the source code and content (usually written in Markdown or a templating language) and generates static HTML files. The developer can also use various tools and plugins to enhance the functionality and appearance of the website.
  • Deployment: The developer deploys the static HTML files to a hosting service or a CDN, which serves them directly to the users. The developer can also use a continuous deployment (CD) service to automate the deployment process whenever there are changes in the source code or content.
  • Runtime: The user requests a page from the website or application, which is delivered by the hosting service or CDN as fast as possible. The page may contain JavaScript code that runs in the browser and interacts with external APIs to fetch or update data. The APIs can be hosted on different servers or platforms, such as serverless functions, headless CMSs, or third-party services.

What are the benefits of Jamstack?

Jamstack offers many advantages over traditional web development practices, such as:

  • Performance: Jamstack websites are fast by default, because they serve pre-rendered HTML files from a CDN, which reduces latency and bandwidth. They also avoid server-side rendering (SSR), which can cause delays and bottlenecks.
  • Security: Jamstack websites are secure by default, because they have no server-side code or databases to hack or exploit. They also rely on HTTPS for communication with APIs, which encrypts the data in transit.
  • Scalability: Jamstack websites are scalable by default, because they have no server-side dependencies or limitations. They can handle any amount of traffic without affecting performance or reliability.
  • Maintainability: Jamstack websites are easy to maintain and update, because they have a simple and modular architecture that separates concerns and reduces complexity. They also benefit from automated deployment and version control systems that streamline the development process.
  • Portability: Jamstack websites are portable by default, because they have no vendor lock-in or platform-specific requirements. They can be hosted on any service or CDN that supports static files.

How to get started with Jamstack?

If you want to try Jamstack for your next web development project, here are some resources and tools that can help you:

  • Static site generators: These are tools that generate static HTML files from source code and content. Some popular SSGs include Next.js, Gatsby, Nuxt.js, Hugo, Jekyll, Eleventy, etc.
  • Frontend frameworks: These are tools that provide a structure and components for creating user interfaces with JavaScript. Some popular frontend frameworks include React, Vue.js, Angular, Svelte, etc.
  • Hosting services: These are platforms that host static files and provide features such as CDN delivery, SSL certificates, custom domains, etc. Some popular hosting services include Netlify, Vercel, Cloudflare Pages, GitHub Pages, etc.
  • Continuous deployment services: These are platforms that automate the deployment process and trigger a new build whenever there are changes in the source code or content. Some popular CD services include Netlify, Vercel, Cloudflare Pages, GitHub Actions, etc.
  • APIs and services: These are platforms that provide backend functionality and data for Jamstack websites via HTTPS. Some popular APIs and services include Firebase, FaunaDB, Contentful, Sanity, Stripe, Auth0, etc.