JAMStack CMS: Why and How To Use It
JAMstack is a popular cloud-native architecture for web development. It lends itself as one of the best software solutions for website and app development.
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Has it recently crossed your mind why so many businesses failed to respond to COVID-inflicted challenges? After the 2020 turmoil, they’re hoping to break even at best while suffering from significant customer churn and technology inconsistencies. However, only trying to retain your existing customers is not the best idea for business growth.
That is why unprecedented times make businesses start looking for nontrivial solutions to reach wider audiences. As customers are getting more mature in their digital-driven journey, companies have a harder time meeting the customer of today’s expectations. Given that face-to-face communication is not an option these days, the only medium for successful B2B/B2C interaction is your website content.
To improve user experience, the content via mobile apps and commercial websites has to be superb. This time around, it’s not about the quality of the content itself but a revolutionary technology that enables its smooth and timely delivery. And the name of this technology is JAMStack.
Of course, choosing the right tech stack for your future/current mobile app or website is not a cakewalk at all. So, let’s see what JAMStack is and how it helps you win today’s market while increasing the omnichannel customer experience.
What Does JAMStack Mean?
According to its best-known definition, JAMstack is a popular cloud-native architecture for web development. It was created by Netlify, a US serverless and hosting services company. The meaning of JAMstack derives from its components:
- A stands for APIs, or application programming interfaces, the reusable tools that enable seamless interaction between server-side processes and client-side operations. APIs contribute much to the fast and seamless delivery of your website content. JAMstack can deal with any third-party or custom APIs to give users an enhanced and personalized experience.
- M means Markup here—a set of HTML and CSS language code providing text formatting instructions to create user-friendly web pages.
Combining all the tech components mentioned above into a single ecosystem allows JAMstack to gain much traction as one of the best software solutions for website and app development. The JAMstack architecture shows great results while working together with various frameworks and headless CMS. Unlike traditional Content Management Systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla that rely heavily on on-prem databases and physical servers, JAMstack tends towards cloud-based platforms and serverless and microservices architectures. This approach has given rise to the next-gen frameworks for building static websites, known as SSG—Static Site Generators.
On top of this, annual JAMstack conferences add to the fact that software innovations in website building are in high demand nowadays. Such popularity has righteously resulted in a large number of high-performing websites appearing on the Internet that are built on JAMstack. Speaking about its popularity, I should note that JAMstack is widely appreciated among business customers and web developers alike. A recent JAMstack 2020 survey revealed that its priorities perfectly matches all the web devs’ priorities for website creation.
JAMStack: The Main Benefits
For those who start thinking about switching their website and app capacities to JAMstack-powered solutions, here’s a list of its benefits to consider.
JAMStack tooling enables fast and smooth website content delivery when compared to traditional content workflows. It is possible thanks to pre-built markup and static HTML files served from CDNs—Content Delivery Networks. This technology allows static CDN-backed hosting for your website content, making it as close as possible to the end-users. Once users make their requests, your website pages are delivered to their displays in the blink of an eye. Faster loading times of your web or mobile application can noticeably improve customer experience.
Behind-the-times, monolithic architectures were actually resource hogs. Older systems always force web developers to scramble between doing backend and frontend tasks at the same time. On the contrary to those outdated solutions, JAMstack introduced a new approach to website development. Splitting the front and back with JAMstack, developers can now focus only on frontend processes. Meanwhile, the decoupling streamlines a workflow through frequent utilization of third-party APIs and microservices. All of this adds much value to the overall website functionality.
You can stop worrying about maintaining your website files whenever something goes wrong. The static content with assets is already compiled and hosted on a CDN. Upon a request, it is immediately served to mobile or web app users. Such a level of availability makes JAMstack a very reliable solution for both website owners and end-users.
Again, due to cloud-based hosting opportunities, you can easily delegate the lion’s share of content-driven tasks from your on-prem server or database. From this moment on, your content assets are safe and sound from all sides. There is no need to worry about various points of cyberattacks. By its design, JAMstack architecture can safeguard your static files from most types of vulnerabilities—security exploits, data leakage, DDoS attacks, malware, and suchlike. The only thing to care about is to pass permission rights to your employees wisely to avoid human mistakes and failures.
JAMStack Use Cases and Best Practices
It's worth noting that JAMStack is neither a programming language, nor a CMS, nor a specific framework. It is just the other way around: an innovative development practice geared to build fast high-performance websites and mobile applications. What’s more, JAMStack tooling can be empowered with headless CMS, SSG, and many other third-party software products.
Therefore, the range of use cases for JAMstack-powered projects boils down to the following:
CDN-Side File Serving
With loose dependence on on-prem facilities, JAMstack leverages the potential of CDNs to serve pre-generated static files. Getting your content closer to your website or app end-user can drastically enhance the omnichannel customer experience as it reduces page loading times at scale.
Utilizing cutting-edge tools and frameworks for web development enables your JAMstack-backed websites and applications to be browser-agnostic, even if future leaders are yet to come. Rest assured, such flexibility gives you a sustainable competitive advantage on the market.
Ensuring all the build processes, like file compilation, packaging, or updating are smoothly automated. It can save you a lot of time and effort since automated builds require minimum human involvement. No change takes place until an older built is getting executed.
Keep track of all the changes in your codebase via version control systems like Git. With JAMstack on board, you can easily manage any code modifications, simplify staging and testing workflows, ensure data integrity, and improve the entire web development speed and efficiency. Your DevOps team will truly appreciate it!
When multiple file uploads happen in a row, it usually leads to repetitive website or app glitches. This makes your customers leave you for your competitors. JAMstack helps you avoid continuous deployment times. Once triggered, new deployments are set into action only when all the required files are uploaded. Here, JAMstack contributes much to your project scalability, consistency, and app availability to end-users. No more downtimes caused by lasting uploads.
What Static Site Generators Are Used for JAMStack Websites?
In terms of performance, acceleration, and stability the content delivery, traditional dynamic websites most certainly give way to static sites today. To harness the potential of JAMstack to its fullest, consider using one of the leading static site generators. There is a range of SSGs on today’s market—Next.js, Gatsby, Hugo, Jekyll are just a few of many.
Ghost as a Headless CMS for Professional Publishing
From a wide variety of proprietary and open-source headless CMSs, Ghost is one of the most popular solutions for JAMstack websites. The fact that this headless CMS is written in Node.js speaks for itself (you remember the leading framework from the survey stats above?). Ghost is an open-source, API-driven headless CMS that supports nearly all static site generators. What’s more, this headless CMS enjoys regular updates and bug fixes thanks to the massive global community on GitHub, with over 12,000 commits that exist so far.
Ghost enjoys feature-rich functionality, like SEO-friendly content structuring, multiple collaboration roles, simple site editing, and many other advantageous features. All this makes Ghost a perfect pick for JAMstack website development.
No matter what static site generator and headless CMS you are about to marry with your website or business app, JAMStack is definitely a game-changer for the web development industry. Stay up-to-date about the latest industry advancements and best development practices.
Published at DZone with permission of Valeriy Ilchenko. See the original article here.
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