JAMstack: How Does It Work and What Are the Benefits?

Have you heard of JAMstack?

Shortly said, JAMstack is a software architecture for website development that can be served directly from a CDN. JAMstack stands for JavaScript, APIs, and pre-rendered Markup. More specifically, pages for a JAMstack website contain standard markup language, allowing them to be built and tested practically anywhere, without depending on app servers or server-side technologies, such as Node.js.

To understand how this technology works, all you need to perceive is how static web pages work.

A static web page is distributed to the browser exactly as stored, contrary to dynamic web pages generated by a web application. However, it should be noted that “static” in the context of this technology doesn’t mean the pages won’t be interactive. These pages contain advanced JavaScript code which is executed in the browser and makes API calls to databases, server-side functionality, and hosted serverless functions, explains InfoWorld’s Josh Fruhlinger.

Since nothing is executed on the web server, a static site doesn’t require an industrial-powered web hosting with a database. That being said, many static websites are distributed on CDNS (content delivery networks), where content is mirrored on multiple servers with the idea to be delivered expeditiously to users everywhere.

It is noteworthy that Jamstack was conceived as part of the “static web” movement, which appeared in 2010 opposing the traditional model of how a website functions.

The name was invented by Mathias Biilmann, a Danish entrepreneur, and it describes a modern web development architecture which is based on client-side JavaScript, reusable APIs, and prebuilt Markup.

Also Read How to Create Website with Jekyll

What are the benefits of JAMstack?

The nature of JAMstack is static, which improves scalability and security as static websites have a small attack vector. The architecture also provides a lot of functionality which currently happens in the user’s browser.

A JAMstack app gives you a generated HTML rather than rendering live on the server. This improves loading times. However, one of the most appealing qualities of this approach is the ease to pull content from third-party APIs.

JAMstack CMS (content management system)

Needless to say, a CMS for JAMstack works in a different way, and it is generally called “headless”. So, what is a headless CMS? It offers a user interface for entering and managing content and a database or other storage for the content, but it doesn’t generate HTML code to be parsed by the browser. Rather than doing that, the website’s static HTML pages would utilize JavaScript to make calls to the CMS’s APIs. The CMS woulf then return the content in a format JavaScript can turn into a webpage.

It is also noteworthy that, since the CMS has an accessible API, multiple web pages will be able to access it with an ease. For example, if you have created separate mobile, desktop and smartwatch versions of a single website, all these versions can access the same content stored in the CMS.

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