What is Jamstack?
Jamstack is a modern approach to web development that delivers better performance, higher security, and lower cost of ownership.
Because a Jamstack site is composed of flat files, it loads entire web experiences without the need to communicate with a single server back and forth for things that can be handled by the browser.
Jamstack sites, made of assets as they are, are served by a content delivery network (CDN). The CDN reduces the time it takes for users to download the website’s static assets, which makes the website faster.
The Jamstack architecture is a better way, according to its supporters, to build websites because it delivers better performance, higher security, lower cost of scaling, and a better developer experience.
However, there may be some drawbacks to going with the Jamstack for your next project. Read on to find out what these are.
The benefits of Jamstack
Shortly, the positives of Jamstack are mostly to do with speed and optimization.
- Jamstack sites can be easily crawled and indexed by search engines.
- Jamstack sites load quickly, which is important for both users and search engines.
- Jamstack sites are often built using modern web technologies that are SEO-friendly.
- Jamstack sites can be easily updated and changed.
- Jamstack sites have a great developer experience attached to them.
Netlify, the most popular Jamstack host, helps developers deploy changes 10 to 15 times a day according to their customers.
The negatives of Jamstack
The drawbacks of Jamstack mainly include limited server-side functionality and a steep learning curve.
Limited server-side functionality
Because Jamstack sites are built using only static assets, they can be more limited in terms of functionality than traditional dynamic web applications. This means that certain features that require server-side processing, such as user authentication or database interactions, may be more difficult to implement.
Requires additional tooling
In order to build a Jamstack site, you will need to use additional tools and services in addition to your usual development workflow. This can add complexity and overhead, and may not be suitable for all projects.
A higher monthly bill (potentially)
Jamstack’s microservice approach can result in a higher bill because of the increased number of services that need to be managed. When using a monolithic approach, all of the services are bundled together into a single package. With Jamstack, each service is a separate entity that needs to be managed independently. This can lead to increased costs associated with managing and maintaining the various services, especially if one is not savvy to microservices. (Ever hear of an accidental $40,000 service bill? It’s not never happened. However, it’s uncommon.)
Requires a different deployment process
Jamstack sites must be deployed differently than traditional dynamic web applications. This is because the entire site must be built and deployed as a static bundle, which can be more complicated than traditional deployment processes.
Steep learning curve
Jamstack is considered to have a steep learning curve because it requires knowledge of multiple tools and technologies. For example, a Jamstack site might use a static site generator, a headless CMS, and a serverless platform. Each of these tools has its own learning curve, and it can take time to become proficient in using them all together.
When should you use Jamstack?
Jamstack is well suited for static sites and apps that require high performance, security, and scalability.
Sites that get many visitors or concurrent visitors are likely to be a perfect match for Jamstack. (But not always.)
Additionally, Jamstack can be used for dynamic applications that require low latency and high availability.
Sites with high daily utility such as SaaS (software as a service) are usually well-suited to Jamstack especially when B2B.
When should you not use Jamstack?
However, this can be easily avoided by using a compiler such as Babel.
Or, when you need to support features that require server-side code, such as file uploads, user authentication, or real-time data updates.
In this case, you will likely need to make accomodations for server utility. For example, Firebase by Google is partly a “database as a service” often used for Jamstack.
Finally, if your site has a lot of backend users such as content editors, Jamstack may introduce the need to get them all up to speed with the “new way of doing things.”
Be aware that Jamstack is relatively new. Although Jamstack has glowing reviews from a developer experience viewpoint, going with something more tried & tested may result in less accommodating, teaching & learning, and fewer microservice bills.
At Peachweb (the company whose blog you’re reading) we love the thrill of adding Jamstack to our website toolbet.
We have found for many cases, after some innovative thinking, its benefits outweigh its drawbacks. That is if you’re willing to do the research and studying it takes to be on the cutting edge.
And we are.
Looking for Jamstack expertise? Reach out and we’ll do our best to help you.