How to Build a website through Jamstack Technology?

Jamstack websites are a new revolution in the world of web development. Since the world is taking advantage of this revolutionary technology, we will tell you exactly how it can build your website.

The Jamstack technology came up with a high rate of acceptance around the globe over a previous couple of years, and many big companies came up with full support and assistance for creating fully dynamic and fast-paced web applications. The new technology advocates fast and hassle-free deployments yielding frequent and more comfortable deployment cycles providing the users with the latest updates.

Jamstack is not merely a software architecture, but philosophy is adhering to JavaScript, APIs and Markup components. The simple example to it might be a simple HTML file not dynamic and not having a JavaScript file is a Jamstack app, and any React app you have compiled with web-pack and served from S3 is also a Jamstack app. So, you can rightly say that it has changed the workflow of development completely. This is also related to the replacement of monolithic structures to microservices by developing micro components and deploying through simple procedures. The architecture doesn’t mix the designers with the developers as back-end and front-end are separated, and both the teams can work independently.

Although by definition, JAM is a combination of three concepts residing as the core of the stack, i.e. JavaScript, APIs and Markup. But we would be getting deeper into the idea to find the actual benefits of the technology and what developing a website with this architecture would look like.

Jamstack Workflow

Irrespective of the traditional workflow where the developer writes the code and ship it to the server, and the server produces the HTML on demand of the client that asks for the website; the Jamstack Workflow works differently as mentioned below;

  1. The developer writes the code and  ships the built files to the Continuous Delivery Network ( CDN)
  2. The CDN is serving the pre-built files on demand.
  3. The client requests the website.

Static Site Generators

 

As we discussed earlier regarding the front-end and ‘J’ of Jamstack, the architecture required to pre-render markup and the static site generators have been designed to serve the purpose. There are not many of the companies offering services of static site generation the most famous amongst them is Gatsby that uses React as its JS framework and also Next.JS, Vue, Gridsome. Still, some static site generators are not JavaScript based like Jekyll using Ruby and Hugo on Golang. You cannot isolate the front-end entirely and it has to be linked to the back-end, i.e. the ‘M’ of Jamstack so Gatsby, Vue and Next would be good to go since JavaScript enables to enhance the application using its functionalities.  

The function of the SSGs are to make the front-end static where the website pages take no time in loading, and the data is secure. The speed of the website is affected due to two main reasons, one is that the back-end and the database are separate from the page loading on your side and second is that SSGs function to load the website from the JS script making a static image, so it opens in a fraction of seconds. But when a response from the front end is received in the form of comment, contact or purchase it leads to second letter i.e. ‘A’ standing for the APIs of Jamstack. The SSG may sound similar to traditional webs app stack but the architectural difference between the two technology structures 

The coding techniques used to include long repetitive codes, loops, logics and content but with the passage of time and advancement of technology the coding techniques refined to a greater extent and the concept of repeating the code for multiple pages kept on changing. Static site generation has been a part of this revolution. The data and the content is applied to the templates and a view is generated for the visitors.

Benefits of Static Site Generators

Have you ever wondered why are the static site generators so famous and why is the world moving towards them;

  1. There have been many options available in the market like Gatsby which is one of the most famous SSG and more trending. Since the advancement in technology is being made and more developers are looking forward to the technology.
  2. The SSGs have been made available in many flavours like React and Vue and more. The technology is independent of the back-end technology.
  3. The website built through SSGs is more secure because of the static front end and detached back-end.
  4. The website is highly scalable because of its efficiency as it decreases the workload on the server.
  5. The performance of the website is more responsive and users experience a fast website with updated information through CDN.

What and How you build on SSG

You must ask yourself what your actual requirement is and what you wanna build;

  • A content delivery website that is focused on the control for generating the pages and URL will be using Hugo, Nuxt, Jekyll and other such tools.
  • A complex website with multiple functions and applications would be demanding the client-side features that would be developed in NextJS, GatsbyJS, SapperJS.
  • A website with thousands of pages and all in one solution kind of an environment will be a combination of both the above-mentioned tools.

The quality of the Static site generator is that it re-uses the code and gets attached with any back-end. It supports many languages. The different framework of JavaScript is used like Vue, Angular, React and sometimes framework-less JS. The clients can rely on their existing development team for SSGs as if they are in .net they can work in SSG and get advantages of the Jamstack technology. 

APIs

Connecting the two ends is another task like you cannot wholly detach these two ends and there should be something that must connect two technologies like the Front-end JavaScript should be related to back-end PHP. Think of a ‘Contact us form’ or the complex e-commerce websites, the form has been designed in JS but once you enter information and send or make it more complicated with the verification while sending the verification for account the back-end must respond. 

So what is it that links them, it’s the APIs of course. Shopify also helps in creating a decoupled website through their REST APIs and GraphQL APIs like WordPress. The load balancing, scaling and security won’t be an issue now since the serverless function is managing all the problems through APIs.

GraphQL is the Query language that is used for APIs although it is sometimes confused with the database technology. Mostly applications require to fetch data from another source and GraphQL is working as a liaison. 

Headless CMS

Imagine publishing the blogs, enhancing the product line, the website will be requiring some data and here is when you get to know about the headless CMS i.e. the ‘M’ for Markup of Jamstack architecture. How does headless sound to you? What would it be without a face and ahead? Don’t think hard on it and just imagine having an interface of the database of your website or maybe just a typical WordPress interface.

The classic CMS models are based on monolithic applications like WordPress where your front and back-end are based on the same platform. Whereas the headless means that the data layer has been separated from the presentation layer although you will have the UI for the admin interface for managing data. However, it will not give you an idea of how this data will be presented and how it would look like. There are two different types of headless CMS, one is git-based managing data in files like YAML and other is API based managing SQL.  In any case, you get the interface of a regular CMS like headless WordPress.

WordPress is the most famous CMS and has been ruling the website development industry for years. It has been the prime choice for developers and non-developers in terms of a stable content management system. People know it as an easy way of building a completely dynamic website where the front-end and the back-end have been developed in PHP. But with time and revolution of technology, the decoupled approach got very famous, and all the businesses tried to follow the changing market trends. Although this decoupled approach had many benefits wherein the websites got faster as the content management system became the backend and the front end was managed through static site generators through APIs. 

An introduction to Decoupled WordPress     

 WordPress follows a procedural way of design wherein the developers use the function-based code to provide a particular system so that it can be extended or modified. It’s a multi-functional environment where you can see the admin panel, database, extensions, plugins and more. With the help of REST API, the backend can be isolated like a model, and controllers can be grouped to handle the database using the API controllers that are operated in a separate layer. It helps in interacting with the cross-technology interface as the API sends data in the form of JSON format which is the text-base JS containing the data.    

This terminology is referred to as headless WordPress or headless CMS that separates the front-end from the content management system. In this case, the front-end is being managed separately from the back-end i.e. ideally a CMS like WordPress. They are connected with the help of APIs that enables the user to move the content from one platform to another quickly. 

The headless WordPress is applicable for any theme of WordPress so that you can easily convert your existing website without losing any content or data using the REST API technique. Through this, the editor gets disables and starts to manage through the API. However, the default setting is still in a traditional way where you choose a complete package without getting into any development. 

Benefits of using Headless CMS

Considering the buffering time of a WordPress website where the images and the content takes some time in loading because of the image file being attached to the WordPress file, the businesses worry about their sales. In the digital marketing era where you need to be proactive speed is everything. Shifting the load of front-end and back-end on separate locations have affected the performance of the websites to a greater extent. As we explained above, the front and back-end have been interacting through the end-points, hence they can be hosted on separate servers that are being optimised in respect of specific tasks. 

This can also help in re-designing the website keeping in view the latest market trends and without disturbing the content and data on the CMS. One can find many attractive Gatsby WordPress themes on trending websites like CodeSpace where latest themes have been provided keeping in view business and the target audiences of each industry. Through the separate management of both the ends, the front-end developers and designers can only focus on the new design of the website using the existing data coming from the CMS. Here, they can make use of the latest libraries from ReactJS and Angular delivering a new web app. 

Another benefit of using Headless WordPress is Data Security that is crucial for many businesses. It gets more difficult in exploiting the website since it's hidden from the public through the API layer and static version on the front-end. 

Deployment

Once you have developed the website using the tools you must be looking for deploying the same to a Continuous Delivery Network (CDN). You will find several ways of doing so, like through Netlify who offers free hosting services, vercel, Zeit and many more. All they’ll do is push the pre-rendered markup to CDN which is useful in many ways like automatic load balancing, scaling and more. The most straightforward approach is to push the code using a repository like Git-hub and bitbucket, both will serve the purpose. This architecture also supports the changes as they are quickly deployed using the repository. Simply speaking, developers just have to make changes as and when required, execute the git push and commit. The service providers will notice the commits and will redeploy that will include the cache invalidation. 

This keeps your website updated all the time and super fast with extraordinary speed and more secure from SQL injections. The hosting options are unlimited for Jamstack websites that offer free or low-cost services. 

Jamstack Website Benefits

There are unlimited benefits of using Jamstack technology as website development architecture, some of them have been briefly described below; 

  • The user experiences a fast website with minimum loading time.
  • The new pages are generated quickly at the time of deployment.
  • The development cost is reduced because of a less complex structure.
  • The hosting can be done without any extra cost and sometimes free.
  • The tasks are divided as per the expertise as the front-end development team can focus on the design and other front end and debugging issues only.

Conclusion

The new Jamstack is a revolution in the technology industry and it is capitalising the businesses by providing speed, security, simplicity, cost efficiency and ease to it. It is also helping in cutting down the processes and functions, re-defining the job descriptions by drawing a fine line amongst the developers and the designers so that both of them can work with freedom of approach. Many benefits are gathered with this architecture getting benefits of cloud computing with microservices and hosting and promotional offers. Still, there is a long way to go, not only websites but also the applications would be supported on this architecture to avail the benefits. 

Although WordPress was not initially designed for the purpose of headless CMS it was needed that day to move on with the technology shifts. But if you do not have a developer with you, things would be a little more difficult as the two ends need to be integrated through simple APIs and the development team takes care of such issues, with several benefits of using headless CMS like speed, security, flexible integration of stacks i.e. publishing if the content on multiple channels, improved website user experience and much more.  

Many websites are offering support and services in terms of themes for the headless WordPress and Gatsby, where you can find the latest themes to convert your website into a modern web app and boost your business by taking it to a higher level through digital media. They also provide a complete guide to creating new or shifting existing websites to Gatsby with Jamstack technique. Stackground is one of the platforms offering a no-code solution for Jamstack website development for businesses and individuals. It is the only platform offering Jamstack themes and templates for building websites that provides the benefits of 10x speed, 3xsecurity and improved google ranking and more SEO traffic with increased conversion rate.    

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