You may have heard the term Jamstack and have been wondering what it means. Well, the Jamstack is nothing more than a modern way of building web applications.
Jamstack takes advantage of existing technologies – which we'll discuss in a minute. The result is better performance, improved security, and easier scalability for web applications.
In this article, you'll learn what Jamstack means and the benefits of using this approach in your projects.
What is the Jamstack?
Jamstack is a web development architecture. Matt Biilmann, the CEO of Netlify, popularized it with his presentation at Smashing Conference 2016.
This is like the MERN stack (MongoDB, ExpressJS, ReactJS and NodeJS) and the MEAN stack (MongoDB, ExpressJS, Angular and NodeJS) – just with different tools.
Now let's discuss the various components of a Jamstack web application:
API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface. It's an interface which helps two or more computer programs communicate with each other.
In Jamstack apps, you use APIs to communicate with your backend.
Markup refers to standard text-encoding systems consisting of a set of symbols inserted into a text document. Examples of markup languages are HTML, XML, and templating languages such as JSX.
In the Jamstack, markup refers to the content of a Jamstack application. Note that we use markup here in its broader sense. It doesn't refer to text content only but also to the assets of the web application, such as images.
Important Features of Jamstack Apps
To consider an application a Jamstack app, it should meet the following conditions:
This refers to the decoupling of the client side from the backend. The client side handles the presentation of the user interface, and the backend handles business logic and data.
Communication between the frontend and backend happens via a dedicated API. This means that a change or upgrade in one will not affect the other. This results in easier maintenance of the entire web application.
It is important for Jamstack applications to serve static web pages and not dynamic ones.
Traditional web applications are dynamic sites. This means that when you request a page, the backend will have to reach a database to retrieve the data. The data is then used to generate HTML files, and then sent back to the client.
The disadvantage of dynamic sites is how long it takes to complete these steps.
For static sites, the pages are already pre-rendered at build time. So every time you request a page, you get the pre-rendered page.
This eliminates the time that dynamic sites spend in obtaining data, generating HTML files, and sending it back to the client. You can serve your static sites from a content delivery network (CDN). This will lead to improved speed and reduced costs.
Examples of static site generators that you can use for your Jamstack web applications include:
Why Should You Use the Jamstack for your Web Applications?
Let's now discuss some of the reasons the Jamstack web architecture has become so popular in recent times and why you should consider adopting it:
Jamstack Apps Are Scalable
You can serve most Jamstack applications from a CDN. This allows for the speedy transfer of assets needed for loading web pages.
As a result of the distributed nature of CDNs, your web application will also be able to handle more traffic at a reduced cost.
Jamstack Apps Are Easy to Maintain
Jamstack applications are easier to maintain since their client side is decoupled from their backends.
This means that you can maintain one part without requiring major modifications to the other.
Jamstack Apps Load Faster
As stated earlier, serving your site from a CDN increases the speed with which it loads.
Also, in Jamstack applications, web pages are prebuilt, saving time that would normally be spent retrieving and generating HTML files every time you make a request.
Jamstack Apps Are Cheaper
Since Jamstack applications are easier to maintain and deploy, they are cheaper compared to their traditional counterparts.
Jamstack Apps Are More Secure
Since you do not have to constantly maintain a server in Jamstack applications and the pages are constructed on read-only files (that is, the pages are static), you can worry less about the security of your applications.
Despite the fact that more and more projects are being built using the Jamstack architecture, we're still in the relatively early stages of its adoption.
I believe that more large and small businesses will adopt it in the near future in place of costly monolithic architectures.