What is Jamstack?

Davs Howard

Davs Howard

2 min read

Laptop screen with the Jamstack logo on.

At Major Digital, we use Jamstack.

The *architecture formerly known as JAMstack is much more than a trendy term. Today, its benefits for both web developers and end-users are just too good to ignore.

So, what exactly is it?

What it isn’t is a specific type of technology. Instead, Jamstack (which stands for JavaScript, APIs, and Markup) is an architecture that’s designed to make the web faster, more secure, and easier to scale.

Unlike traditional CMS or site builders that limit the potential for innovation, Jamstack spits up the code and allows more room for innovation. That’s because it doesn’t rely so heavily on servers, resulting in quicker loading times and a much friendlier environment for developers to work in.

Benefits

Portability

OK, so Jamstack sites are pre-generated. This means they can be easily moved around a wide variety of hosting services. In fact, any simple static hosting solution should be able to serve a Jamstack site. So, no sweat if you decide to switch up your infrastructure.

Security

Because these sites are pre-generated with fewer systems involved, there’s also much less strain on the hosting infrastructure. What’s more, you don’t need to worry about servers and databases; 3rd party services will take care of this headache for you. Handy.

Maintenance

When pressures on hosting are reduced, so are the maintenance tasks. Makes sense, right? Essentially, a pre-generated site served directly from a host or CDN is much more stable. No more patching and updating - far less development and operational costs.

Scale

Jamstack is much easier to scale than other architectures. That’s because these types of sites cache everything in a CDN. What does that mean? Well, with easy deployment, built-in redundancy and incredible load capacity, you’ll never get stuck in traffic again.

Performance

It’s no secret that poor website performance takes a toll on UX, SEO, traffic and conversions. With Jamstack, pages are already on the CDN and ready to serve. That means you’ll get the highest performance possible - without the complexity or expense.

Developer experience

The great thing about Jamstack sites is they can be built with tools and conventions that are widely available. What’s more, you can do so without having to set up web servers or back-ends. And with 3rd parties looking after the hefty stuff, it’s pretty painless for devs.

Disadvantages / limitations

OK, Jamstack is a great choice for devs and users. But let’s make one thing clear: building these sites takes expertise. While you can create a basic dynamic site with superficial knowledge of WordPress or Drupal, working with JAMstack needs real web development skills.

That’s because Jamstack is not a code-free tool for building websites; instead, it requires coding skills and APIs. And this means building these types of sites isn’t quick either. It gets time-consuming because whenever you make a change to a single page, the whole site will need to be rebuilt. Don’t worry, there are solutions for this that a good Jamstack developer will understand. That’s why it’s important to work with an expert.

Suitability

Jamstack sites are perfect if you’re building pages with text and images. However, if you require dynamic features - stuff that reacts and changes per user - you might run into trouble. Because with no database to process requests, it will take a little more coding.

However, if you’re looking to increase website performance and security - satisfying your devs and users in the process - Jamstack’s certainly the way forward.