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By Phil Hawksworth in News & Announcements

News from the largest JAMstack conference yet

This year’s JAMstack_conf in San Francisco was the biggest yet, which seems appropriate given it had the unofficial theme of “JAMstack at scale”. Quite a few of the Netlify team were on hand. And we had a great time.

Netlifyers celebrate another successful JAMstack Conference

It’s hard to believe that it was only a little over a year since the first JAMstack conference. The demand after our inaugural outing in October 2018 persuaded us to add events in New York and London in 2019, making our return to San Francisco the 4th JAMstack conference in the space of one very busy year.

This installment had more attendees, speakers, and content than any of our previous events. And we also had more sponsors in attendance in an incredibly vibrant space where possibilities were explored and countless plans were hatched. We were also thrilled to be able to make attending the conference possible for more people than ever before thanks to the record number of diversity and inclusion scholarship tickets we could award through the generous sponsorship from MemberSpace.

We all left the event feeling confident that the word was getting out about this approach to modern web development. And that more clients, agencies, developers, and vendors than ever before are discovering the huge potential in this stack and applying it with impressive results.

Every session is available to view now on the JAMstack_conf YouTube channel, or via the JAMstack_conf website. But let’s take a moment to call out just a few of the things at the conference which particularly heralded the rising tide for the JAMstack, and how the it is being used at scale.

JAMstack at scale

Matt Biilmann of Netlify

Matt Biilmann gave the opening keynote and reflected on the year of growth in the category. His talk also commented on the growing online population, but with a consideration of the broad variety of their device capabilities. This thoughtfulness about how we deliver content to users, all users, resonated strongly with me. And served as an important reminder that the JAMstack can bring the power to developers to deliver sites and applications responsibly to all. Placing the power, the craft, and the opportunity in our hands.

I particularly like this thought about how the JAMstack might help to create better performance and effectiveness on the web:

How do we make the web faster? Make it a great experience for developers to create great experiences for users.

Justin Watts of Loblaw

As engineering director at Loblaw Digital, Justin works across a number of projects at Canada’s largest food retailer.

I loved his rallying cry of:

Reduce toil, increase happiness, get shit done.

In his talk, Justin described the scope and reach of the work at Loblaw Digital in serving huge numbers of digital experiences reaching millions of customers. And he describes how using the JAMstack unlocked new levels of autonomy and ownership, enabling previously impossible agility and results.

If you are curious about the role that JAMstack might be able to play in your large organisation, or for enterprise clients, this talk is for you!

Enabling ingenuity

One of the things I love about the JAMstack, is how the emerging tools and services provide an environment which is very conducive to creativity. We saw a number of talks which showed create uses of the available tools.

Ire Aderinokun of BuyCoins

I’ve been a fan of Ire’s for some time. She is the COO and VP of Engineering at a crypto currency exchange based in Nigeria. And she’s a Google Developer Expert. I’ve enjoyed seeing her give other talks where she makes complex concepts digestible. So I was excited to see her explain how she stitched a number of available tools services to generate social media assets as part of her site build mechanics. Crafty stuff. She’ll explain better than me:

Atishay Rathi of Adobe

Atishay is the author of an upcoming book on Hugo (Hugo in Action, Manning) and a senior computer scientist at Adobe. His talk confronted what has been a common misconception about the viability of using JAMstack for e-commerce solutions. With clever use of pregenerated product pages and APIs from PayPal and Stripe, Atishay walked us rapidly through the concepts which can enable e-commerce sites with far less complexity and expense than we might previously have thought necessary. And I really enjoyed his lively and enthusiastic presentation style.

JAMstack for agencies and digital services

The growing enthusiasm for using JAMstack within agencies on client projects is well aligned with the notion of using JAMstack at scale. The last year or so has seen established agencies adopting JAMstack approaches, and also new agencies being founded on, and enabled by, the opportunities and economies of the JAMstack.

The results of using JAMstack on client projects surfaced many times during the 2 days at the conference, and the second day began with an agency breakfast session with presentations and a discussion between agency veterans.

Alex de Winne of Therefore and Marc Ammann of Matter Supply

Prior to discussing the details and results of utilising JAMstack on client projects, Alex de Winne and Marc Ammann both gave presentations about how this has impacted their work, their teams, and yielded impressive results on the work for their clients.

Following their presentations, we jumped into some questions from the audience:

Teddy Sherrill of Restaurant Brands International

As the company who operates brands like Burger King, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, and Tim Hortons, RBI needed to be able to serve “an arbitrary amount” of transactions and interactions in their digital offering. Such is the scale of their operation.

Aside from making the audience hungry, this talk explored the phenomenon that was the Popeye’s chicken sandwich, and describes the volume of demand in stores and online.

As CTO, Teddy needed to ensure that RBI could maintain and serve content across numerous digital channels, and withstand large spikes in traffic. Using a JAMstack architecture serving a React-based site with various content APIs, RBI more than rose to the challenge.

This talk explores all of this, and explains how the JAMstack enabled multiple agencies to collaborate over many different codebases, with decoupled content, to deliver resilient and effective digital experiences.

Very much a story of the benefits of JAMstack at scale.

News, announcements, releases

Something becoming a popular feature of JAMstack_conf are the Lightning Launches. These 10 minutes lightning talks, give invited guests an opportunity to announce something new and exciting for the JAMstack ecosystem.

These sought after sessions often include live demos, exclusive announcements, and breaking news. And tend to generate some buzz around the event resulting in lots of conversations and anticipation with the attendees.

We had 2 of these session on each day. Take a look at the releases and announcements from Netlify, Stackbit, TakeShape, and Uniform:

More. Much more.

With this edition of JAMstack_conf spanning 2 full days, there was so much more content which really deserves highlighting here. But I find it hard to pick out just a few of them as the quality of the speakers and their talks was, once again, rather wonderful. But all of the sessions are available on the conference YouTube channel. They are:

A feast. Enjoy!

Podcasts galore

During the event, many speakers and sponsors found themselves in conversation with one of several podcasts who came to cover the event. And we even had a live recording of the wonderful ShopTalk Show with Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier on stage. Lots of fun and interesting conversation.

More than sponsors

The sponsors are a big part of what makes this event possible. From the platinum level sponsorship of Contentful, or the generous contributions of MemberSpace who provided diversity and inclusion scholarships, to Mux sponsoring the happy hour for all of the attendees, they all make a huge impact.

But it feels like all of the sponsors at JAMstack_conf are a little more than that. Each one feels invested not only in the event, but in the success of the growing ecosystem. And most are either making exciting things as part of the ecosystem, or are building the ecosystem itself. I mean, just look how jolly our friends from Contentful look!

The super friendly faces of Contentful at their sponsor booth

Having a room full of these sponsors, ready and eager to talk to the attendees, brings the feeling of collaboration and excitement. Truly there is a spirit of all working together to help rise the JAMstack tide. And with it, lift all of us up to reach ever more exciting possibilities.

Bustling exhibitors hall at JAMstack_conf

Huge and heartfelt thanks to each and every one of our sponsors. We can’t wait for our next opportunity to get together to harness more of that incredible energy.

Onwards to 2020

So what will 2020 bring for the JAMstack community? After each event we see yet more demand to bring an edition of the conference to a new city, and get closer to the enthusiastic would-be attendees there.

Sadly, we can’t bring a new conference to every city calling out for one. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll rest on our laurels.

The JAMstack community is already growing rapidly by adding more and more local meet-ups. You can join one, or organise one if you are particularly keen. In addition to that, we are hatching plans to make the conferences we run in 2020 reach more people that we ever have before, and hopefully inspire more people to unlock the potential in this modern approach to web development.

To stay in the loop, you should follow both the @Netlify and @JAMstackConf Twitter accounts where news and announcements will be published. And to participate even more in the conversation, join us in the JAMstack community Slack, where we’d love to hear from you!

The JAMstack_conf stage with a link to the community slack