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A very understandable introduction to JAMstack

Warning: this article isn't in any way tech-based (there's going to be a much more in-depth write up later), and is primarily designed for those wanting to dip their toes into the whole JAMstack concept without browsing the nitty gritty.

Intro

Let's start with a brief reminder of how the web used to be, and what it can tell us about the future.

When we first logged onto the internet (through that nostalgic dial up screech), there was a real emphasis on speed. Most websites were simplistic, had very little interaction, and essentially had very little data to play to avoid the dreaded screen wipe effect. This is what we're going to affectionately refer to as the "golden age of speed".

Comic book guy internet loading

You might be wondering, why there hasn't been a significant jump in speed between those days, and the modern times of 100Mb/s internet speeds - still complete with 3 second load times.

The dreaded jquery, php and libraries

There's a whole load between this point and what we're going to refer to as "now" but for brevity's sake, we're going to skip right past it. All you need to know is that the reason the web is still slow and the reason you're taking 10 seconds to load that Forbes article is down to one/two things. Poor optimisation and poor infrastructure.

You read that right, the reason this is happening is because of CSS frameworks (the way things look), libraries (that neat text effect you saw on a website) and "fix-all" solutions that don't do well at scaling (we're looking at you Wordpress).

So where does JAMstack fit in

You'd think with all this page speed, doom and gloom it'd be the industry standard to "just build a slow website", but we don't agree with this at all. JAMstack (J javascript, A api, M markup) brings about a new golden age of speed. It essentially builds the fastest websites currently available by a long shot, with the ability to scale easily with something called Component Base Design (styled components).

When you're looking at a web page it can easily be broken down into blocks, along with the information to fit in those blocks. So essentially what JAMstack does is create a collection of data that can be pulled into the page if and when needed.

In comparison to this, the current status quo is to pull the entire website (all the data from near enough every page) each and every time when you move from one another. Not efficient at all.

Roboto Studio website broken down into blocks

Why we believe in it

Because the majority of websites that have a CMS (content management system) attached rely on blocks to build out the pages, it makes sense to think about building websites in that way.

It also means that when it comes to fetching data, it's modular, it doesn't require more than exactly what is needed, and everything is in isolation to avoid difficulties moving blocks around at a later date.

We also love the fact that there's a huge amount of reusability within these blocks, so we can focus less so on repeatedly building out the same components, and instead leapfrog into the elements that are really important to you, like search engine ranking, and conversion optimisation.