Opinions & Insights

Envisioning the future of the Jamstack

Opinions & Insights

Envisioning the future of the Jamstack

In the last 5 years, the Jamstack has seen a meteoric growth from relative obscurity to becoming one of the fastest growing architectures for building fast and secure websites. A notable catalyst for the Jamstack’s rise in popularity was the global migration away from monolithic web applications to a more decoupled architecture that relied heavily on microservices. Up until that point, monolithic web applications had been the de-facto standard, and harnessing core business logic, like authentication, required a fully featured backend.

With the Jamstack, complex, monolithic applications could now be disassembled into small, independent components that are easier to parse and understand. The introduction of serverless and the emergence of the API further cemented the Jamstack as the perfect paradigm for building streamlined, and lightweight applications that scaled efficiently. Developers were now free to focus on their own unique implementations. Instead of reinventing the wheel with custom logic for common tasks like authentication and data storage, functionality can be easily abstracted to external APIs developed by specialized experts.

The wins to productivity and independence that the Jamstack affords are of course not limited to developers. Content authors, and marketing folks also benefit from the speed and agility that the Jamstack promises. The proliferation of headless CMSes like Contentful, Prismic and headless WordPress for one, return control to content authors so they can edit and organize content independent of the engineering release cycle. APIs, like Optimizely and Frosmo, further provide marketers with tools to create unique, personalized digital experiences. By seamlessly integrating into applications via serverless functions and web hooks, marketers can tailor make content to match customer preferences without sacrificing site speed.

The Jamstack architecture holds much promise when it comes to a faster, more lean web. In the 5 years since its introduction, we’ve seen companies both small and large adopt the Jamstack with immense success, which is testament to the Jamstack as a viable architecture for building lean and robust sites.

Jamstack is an ecosystem

We’re only just beginning to see the effects of the Jamstack on the overall web ecosystem. The Jamstack and the collective return to static is spurring developments in edge technology, including the ability to run custom functionality at the edge nodes. Running tasks like A/B testing and redirects that once required a trip to the origin server can now be performed right at the edge. This means end users are always guaranteed customized and up-to-date content served at lightning fast speed. We’re still early in this evolutionary phase of the JAMstack, but the benefits to end users and the new capabilities unlocked for web developers are very significant.

Jamstack architecture diagram

Many challenges remain before we can fully reap the benefits of a static future. Regardless, rapid developments in Jamstack first technologies and frameworks like RedwoodJS indicate that the future isn’t as far off as it may seem. Alongside these developments, the recent-most emergence of real-time content editors like TinaCMS and Stackbit enrich the Jamstack ecosystem such that it is now an increasingly viable alternative to building modern, robust websites.

The Jamstack and beyond

The Jamstack architecture holds so much promise and over the past few years it has continued to gain popularity. More and more companies large and small are participating in it today, which is a testament to the growth in this ecosystem and usage.

We see it as a natural next step in the evolution of web production. “LAMPstack” was no longer discussed as a term once it became default. Similarly, we believe we’ll see “Jamstack” become “boring” in the same way one day, once it becomes synonymous as the way web properties are built.

There is still work to do and more growth before that happens. We’re seeing the ecosystem being built out vastly, and Netlify is here to help spearhead the charge alongside the ecosystem. We’re excited to work together in building out the next levels of functionality for the Jamstack to fully emerge.

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