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JAMstack Development – All You Need to Know

According to studies, an estimated 0.9% of web pages were powered by JAMstack last year in 2020.

In this blog you will find everything about JAMstack development, what it is, what it does, development costs, pros and cons.

JAMstack Development – All You Need to Know

 

We hear developers talking about tech stack all the time. The reason being – it is considered an essential technology infrastructure used to build web and mobile applications.

In other words, a tech stack is a combination of technologies such as programming languages, frameworks, databases, front-end/back-end tools, and APIs. These are the list of services that are essential to run a single application.

For example, Facebook – the single most popular social networking website was developed using a combination of programming languages and coding frameworks like JavaScript, CSS, ReactJS, HTML, and PHP. Now all these frameworks and languages, when combined, become Facebook’s tech stack. 

Different Types of Tech Stacks 

Now if you are looking to build a web or mobile application, there are different models of tech stack available. All you need to do is be familiar with the main tools involved because a tech stack may affect the speed of your application, including the ability to scale and overall costs for support and maintenance. Below are some of the most popular tech stacks in use today. 

JAMstack

You may very well already be familiar with the MEAN/MERN, LAMP, or MEVN stack – therefore in this blog, I will discuss the JAMstack including what it is, what it does, some notable pros and cons.

Recommended:  How to Choose a Web Development Technology Stack

What is JAMstack?

JAMstack is exceedingly becoming popular in the world of website developers. It enables developers to seamlessly design all sorts of interactive websites. Most importantly, JAMstack brings endless possibilities for user-friendly and flexible eCommerce platform development as well. 

JAMstack is a modern web development architecture that stands for JavaScript, APIs, and Markup. It works around two core principles of pre-rendering and decoupling – which allow websites and apps to be delivered with resilience. 

A Brief History of JAMstack

JAMstack was first coined by Mathias Biilmann, the CEO of Netlify, back in 2015. Netlify is a San Francisco-based cloud computing company that offers hosting and serverless backend services for web applications and static websites. The company hosts a conference every year named ‘Popular Jamstack’ – which is co-hosted by Vercel and Cloudflare Pages, among others.

JAMstack

Almost 10 years ago, the websites were just a folder with static HTML files but as the technologies evolved, they brought newer, more advanced ways of developing websites along with it and thus opened the doors of endless possibilities for businesses.

Static HTML files have become the thing of the past. Instead, customization, flexibility, scalability, and interactivity are taking over every aspect of the development process. In 2019 many developers started to adopt this tech stack. New tools and services started to enter the market to support JAMstack powered sites.

Moving forward in 2020, JAMstack became Jamstack. Additionally, its framework Next.js largely grew in popularity mainly because of its feature to combine server-side and static rendering in the same site. Tools such as  RedwoodJS and Blitz.js are living proof that JAMstack is expanding year by year. 

Core Principles of JAMstack

De-coupling

As the name suggests, decoupling means to separate the front end from the back end. Also, different tools are used to develop both the client and the server-side. Typically, the front end is developed using a static site generator. As far as the backend is concerned, it is integrated with the front end through APIs. Additionally, server-side processes can also be run using serverless functions.

Pre-Rendering

Pre-render means“to generate the site in advance”. It’s different from generating each page view for a user in response to a request- which is considered a rather traditional model these days. 

JAMstack’s Architecture

JAMstack

Components of Jamstack

JavaScript (JS)

It inhabits the client-side, where it handles responses and requests. Javascript is important for building interactive and dynamic websites and applications as it seamlessly converts static sites into interactive ones.

In JAMstack, you will also see many UI frameworks come into play such as React, Vue, and Svelte as there is no restriction on which library or framework to use. These frameworks make the development process simpler and more organized.

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APIs

Application programming interfaces help make a site as dynamic as possible. Plus reusable APIs facilitate the development of new features without having to write new code from scratch. No matter the functionality, your website using Javascript to make an HTTP request will enhance the experience, ultimately.

Mark-up

In JAMstack architecture, markup takes place by decoupling and pre-rendering – used for building web pages. 

Some Popular Stats About JAMstack 

According to studies, an estimated 0.9% of web pages were powered by JAMstack with 0.91% on the desktop which was only 0.50% in 2019, and 0.84% on mobile which accounted for 0.34% back in 2019. The stats show us a considerable jump from 2019 to 2020 which points to the steady growth and adoption rate of JAMstack.

As far as the JAMstack frameworks are concerned, only 6 frameworks had over 1% share: Next.js, Nuxt.js Gatsby, Hugo, Jekyll are the top contenders for the JAMstack market share. Next.js has a 58.65% usage share and the next most popular JAMstack framework, Nuxt.js at 18.6%, last year. 

JAMstack

Pros & Cons of Using JAMstack for Your Next Project 

Pros 

    • Since you are using pre-built static files served over CDN (content delivery network) you can easily handle large volumes of traffic
    • Great website performance leads to a great user experience 
    • Since front and backend both are decoupled, you can depend on APIs or third-party services to run server-side processes
    • Decoupling both the front end and back end comes with its security benefits – maintaining them is easier therefore it becomes harder to find and attack the vulnerability. Vulnerability in the front end won’t mean that backend is equally affected
    • Serving files off of CDN makes JAMstack infinitely scalable, plus you would need lesser resources with CDN
    • CDN hosting for static files is less expensive than traditional hosting
    • Decoupling allows for more focused development and debugging – which makes it a flexible platform

Cons 

    • Developers with little knowledge of web development including React, Vue, etc. may find it challenging at first
    • Your content creators or editors should be technical if they are to edit or update content
    • If you need to make updates, that means you need to do them by coding – which means developers may need to spend extra time
    • Dynamic features may be challenging to develop – you would need more resources 
    • Heavily dependent upon third party services or APIs – if the API or the services goes end, the entire website will go down with it

JAMstack Web Development Cost

Costs of developing a website using JAMstack depend upon the following factors:

    • Outsourcing vs In-House Development: Whether you decide to move forward with in-house development or outsource a software development company – the pricing will vary since outsourcing is much cheaper than in-house development.
    • Type of Website: Are you looking to develop JAMstack eCommerce platforms or simple blogs?
    • Features: Animations, images, the number of web pages, the complexity of the features and functionalities, customization level.
    • UX/ UI Branding: Effective UX/UI design is very important for customer satisfaction – a more user-friendly design means a seamless customer experience.
    • Team Composition: Team lead, project managers, dedicated JAMstack developers, senior developers, designers, QA testers, scrum masters.

Since every project is different therefore the cost factors will vary from project to project – but the average cost to build a website using JAMstack is around $15,000. But the more complex the project, the higher the costs.

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