What is Jamstack? And 10 JAMstack Pioneers You Need To Know About in 2021

TOP JS frameworks, SSGs, CMSs, hosting platforms, and JAMstack developers you can start with.

Joel Varty
Joel Varty
Jun 4, 2021
JAMstack Pioneers You Need To Know About in 2021 on agilitycms.com

Jamstack is not about specific technologies. Jamstack is a new way of building websites and apps that delivers better performance, higher security, lower cost of scaling, and a better developer experience.

It is the combination of underlying tooling that makes Jamstack so exciting. 

Jamstack is composed of 3 components: Javascript, APIs, and Markup. 

What is the JAMstack on agilitycms.com

What does Jamstack really mean?

One of the great things about Jamstack architecture is that a page request does not hit a server for HTML. 

Instead, it fetches HTML from a CDN, where an HTML file has been pre-built and is ready to be downloaded. 

1. It means that requesting a page from a Jamstack site does not need to wait for HTML to be compiled and returned to the client via a traditional web server.

2. Jamstack is still about static js./CSS/HTML, but it brings an improved developer experience and robust app development than legacy methods.

3. Using Jamstack, developers can build static files that are ready to be served by request. Every single file is pre-built and stored on a global CDN instead of serving files that are tightly coupled to web servers with heavy backend frameworks. 

Now that you know what the Jamstack is and how it works, check these 10 pioneers that can help you build the best Jamstack setup. There are many more than 10 and these ten are not ranked in any order. The list is just based on our experience and knowledge.

Jamstack has lots of benefits but we have the whole blog post about this. Read it here.

Jamstack Pioneers, You Need To Know About 

As you can see, the Jamstack is placing more power, more confidence, and more capabilities in the hands of designers, authors and front-end developers. But it includes lots of players!

That's why we've decided to break this list into 5 categories so you could get a broader view of all the people that populate the Jamstack ecosystem, including: 

  1. Front-end frameworks 
  2. Headless CMSs
  3. Static site generators
  4. Hosting platforms
  5. Jamstack developer or agency 

You start with Content Strategy and Architecture. This is why we recommend a Content-First approach and using a strategic Jamstack developer agency as early as possible. Your CMS team also can help you with Content Architecture but most of the time it is a specialty of an agency.

You need Headless CMS to create your content first digital experience. Your content team and a client can start working on content while the code is still in the works. At the same time, You write your code using Development Frameworks.

When your content and code are ready, it is time to put them together using Static Site Generators. Then, the final touch - Hosting! All of that is usually strategized, supervised, and implemented by a dev agency.

How does JAMstack work with CMS on agilitycms.com

JavaScript Front-end Development Frameworks

The vast majority of the millions of software developers worldwide know JavaScript, and the majority of those are familiar with or are using React on a regular basis. While other frameworks like Angular are also gaining big traction, React is still the king.

1 | React 

 React library graphic on agilitycms.com

If React were a book, it would be a bestseller. Launched in 2013, this JavaScript framework has won thousands of users around the world in less than a decade. Today, the library is maintained by Facebook, along with all the members of the developer community. It's used by some of the giants in the tech industry such as Apple, PayPal, and Netflix.

What Makes React A Pioneer?

One of the things that make React a pioneer is its perfect timing. It came out as an answer to the constraints of Angular and provided developers with a leaner framework. 

These are some of the main reasons React is one of the Jamstack pioneers: 

  • React abandoned Angular's confusing data-binding and adopted a 1-way data flow.
  • React uses virtual and batched DOM updates, which makes it fast but also lets you write your components the way you see them. From simple to complex.
  • React is a view -> controller engine but in no way, it involves any Models. 

In a nutshell, React is more like an excellent library compatible with lots of helpful tools, rather than one framework with everyone crowded under one roof.

Read more: What is React? And how it world with Headless CMS.

2| Angular

Angluar logo on agilitycms.com

Angular is the OG of all the JavaScript frameworks. Created by two Google engineers, it was released in 2012 and presented a new way of creating dynamic pages. Before Angular, there were other ways of creating dynamic pages, but Angular represented a considerable leap in convenience and speed. 

What Makes Angular A Pioneer?

Angular is the most popular front-end development tool to date, going all the way from Angular 2 to Angular 8. Every Angular version is feature-rich and has been continuously upgraded with new features in each version. 

These are some of the main reasons Angular is one of the Jamstack pioneers: 

  • Angular extends HTML files' functionality with directives. To enable directives, developers add the ng- prefix to HTML attributes, and that's it.
  • Angular enables developers to create widgets that leverage editable data using a two-way data binding, which means that the developer doesn't have to write code that constantly syncs the view with the model and the model with the view.
  • Angular uses virtual scrolling, which displays large lists of elements performantly by only rendering the items that fit on-screen, reducing load times.

Headless CMS you can use with Jamstack project

Headless CMS is paramount for successful future proof Jamstack implementation (ok we are biased, we admit! But we truly believe that and saw it many many times, trust us!). 

3| Agility CMS

 Agility CMS is not the first CMS to use Jamstack, but we aren't new to the Jamstack jam. But Agility CMS was the first Headless CMS back in 2003 (called decoupled back then) and they are heavily investing in time and effort in Jamstack as this technology has been evolving.

What Makes Agility CMS A Jamstack Pioneer?

Agility CMS helps developers who need to build a foundation for their bespoke, online ecosystem. The fact that Agility is an API-first CMS that both REST  APIs means that developers can connect as many third-party apps and front-end frameworks to the CMS as they need, evolving and scaling quickly and easily. 

 Agility CMS website screenshot

These are some of the main reasons Agility CMS is one of the Jamstack pioneers: 

  • Use REST APIs or sync SDKs to interact with your content and deliver it anywhere.
  • Agility CMS enables developers to code things their way. Agility CMS won't dictate how your content is presented. Use one of the starter templates to fast-track development, or build your own.
  • It hosts and completely abstracts away your database, so you never have to worry about maintenance, backups, or connection strings ever again.
  • Agility CMS is now Gatsby’s first-class partner so you can build a content foundation that will go the distance and deploy your blazing-fast Gatsby site with confidence. Here is how to start on Gatsby and Agility CMS.
  • We are currently working with customers who want to adopt Jamstack despite having large, monolithic websites. Using Agility, they’re shifting to a Jamstack setup page-by-page, using JAMStack to selectively improve the more essential sections of their sites. In other words, you don't have to rebuild your website from scratch to adopt Jamstack—you just need the right technologies in your corner. 

Finally, Agility CMS has devised a Content Architecture to help brands manage their digital content. Agility’s content architecture provides a central hub for creating, editing and managing content. Content is stored within the content architecture, and it is then accessed via APIs by developers. 

If you want to learn more, see our webinar about how Agility works as a Jamstack CMS.

Learn more about Jamstack and Agility CMS.

4| Contentful

Contentful is a very popular CMS. It enables developers to integrate with a myriad of tools to improve content delivery.

Agiity CMS competitor website screenshot

What Makes Contentful A Jamstack Pioneer?

Contentful is closely tied to JSON, which means it can work in the Jamstack ecosystem. Also, Contentful makes use of APIs to call for all the pieces of content it needs to build and render a website in the blink of an eye. 

 These are some of the main reasons Contentful is one of the Jamstack pioneers: 

  • Contentful serves all its documents in JSON format, making it well-suited for apps in the Jamstack ecosystem
  • Unlike traditional CMS, Contentful was built-in RESTful API architecture from the start
  • All the created content is accessible via an API

Read More: Agility CMS vs Contentful: Hybrid Headless vs Pure Headless CMS

Other Jamstack focus CMS you might want to check out are Netlify CMS and Prismic.

Static Site Generators

What’s really interesting is that JAMStack developers are using Static Site Generators to build ON TOP of the base frameworks to do amazing things. Now we can use front-end development frameworks to build websites that normally we’d build with PHP, Java or ASP.Net.

5| Gatsby

Gatsby Jamstack website screenshot on agilitycms.com

Gatsby was designed from the ground up to improve the user experience across the web. That means performance, SEO, and accessibility are top of mind. They have implemented many out-of-the-box techniques to give you a leg up on providing the best experience for your users.

Read more: What is GatsbyJS? And Why you Should Try it.

What Makes Gatsby A Pioneer?

Gatsby uses a powerful pre-configuration to build static websites that give developers incredibly fast page loads, service workers, code splitting, server-side rendering, quick image loading, asset optimization, and data prefetching.

These are some of the main reasons Gatsby is one of the Jamstack pioneers: 

  • Gatsby boasts excellent documentation and a number of starters to help you get a site up and running quickly.
  • Gatsby uses GraphQL to build its data layer. That means that Gatsby can collect your data from wherever it may be: Markdown, JSON, your favorite CMS, and third-party APIs.
  • Gatsby is more than a boilerplate site generator. It's built with performance and speed in mind, which is something you can feel in the final product.


6 | Next.js

next.js jamstack website screenshot on agilitycms.com

Inspired by PHP, Next.js benefits from JavaScript modules, enabling developers to export the components of an app and allowing them to perform individual tests for each element as well as thousands of other components and modules from npm. 

What Makes Next A Pioneer?

Next helps developers save time, removing the need to use bundlers like webpack and then transform using compilers. This enables them to pre-render static pages, adding to a website's performance and its SEO.

These are some of the main reasons Next is one of the Jamstack pioneers: 

  • Next.js enables developers to create a solution, where, instead of loading all of the JavaScript, the application will only load the bundle needed. 
  • Prefetching, one of Next.js' features, picks off where code splitting leaves off, allowing optimized bundles of code to be lazily-loaded behind the scenes.
  • Next.js enables hot-module replacement, which means that instead of reloading an entire application when code is changed, it only recreates modules that have been altered.

Check out our full list of Static Sites Generators you need to know about

Try this Virtual Event Starter on NEXT.js

Hosting Platforms to Use With Your Jamstack Project

Even though we've got static HTML files, we still have to host them somewhere.

You can either go with the major cloud providers such as Azure and AWS, or you can take a look at some of the new-school options that do a ton of the work for you. 

Azure and AWS are the 2 biggest players in Cloud today. If you have a requirement for compliance or security or your current infrastructure is already there, you are fine to move forward with JAMStack hosting there.

Netlify is a real Jamstack pioneer. I credit them with taking JAMStack terminology and helping it become mainstream.

7| Netlify

Netlify's tool-agnostic platform helps you go dynamic on your own terms. Choose from built-in add ons, integrate a favorite tool, or roll your own, enabling developers to run websites on a purpose-built, multi-cloud infrastructure that's designed for speed, automated to scale, and intrinsically secure.

What Makes Netlify A Pioneer?

All sites on Netlify are pre-built for performance and deployed directly to Netlify's global edge network without requiring you to manage, scale, or patch any web servers. This enables quick implementation of the Jamstack architecture.

These are some of the main reasons Netlify is one of the Jamstack pioneers: 

  • Unlike the large legacy apps, Jamstack projects neatly separate the front-end pages and UI from the backend apps and databases.
  • Using Netlify, the entire front end is pre-built into highly optimized static pages and assets.
  • Using Netlify, developers deliver new web projects faster and iterate quickly with no monolithic codebase or infrastructure to manage. 

 Read more: What it Netlify and why you should care

8 | Vercel (Formerly Zeit)

The new Dynamic jamstack, vercel website screenshot

Vercel's technology has been under development for several years now. Vercel is built on top of AWS Lambdas, which makes it serverless. Vercel is also a really exciting platform that's evolving quickly. It provides CDN out of the box and has a new Preview capability, as well as the ability to have any one of your routes by served statically or server-rendered. That's really cool if you can't decide whether you want to go 100% static yet. 

What Makes Vercel A Pioneer?

The most important reason that makes Vercel a pioneer is the database and the cloud storage it uses, both of which are critical for any modern web application. 

These are some of the main reasons Vercel is one of the Jamstack pioneers:

  • Vercel separates a Next.js project into multiple AWS Lambdas based on the pages of the project, decreasing the amount of code to be loaded for each request.
  • Vercel enables faster development because of its smart CDN that caches static resources and serves all the requests from a closer data center to the user.

Using Jamstack, Vercel maintains its own global edge network, which means that every Vercer app and website is within 10ms of any user anywhere in the world.

Try this Next.js Blog Starter with Automated Deployment to Vercel

Jamstack Developers - Agencies That Can Help With your Jamstack Project

If you don't have a team in-house or the project is quite big, you might need an implementation partner.

9 | Ikius

Ikius was founded in Finland in 2019 when the group of developers noticed that many companies are still building their business-critical web services on outdated legacy technologies. 

Ikius Jamstack dev agency website screenshot on agilitycms.com

The great thing about Ikius is that they are one of the few development agencies that offer only Jamstack-centered development and are fully focusing just on this one approach. 

These are some of the main reasons Ikius is one of the Jamstack pioneers:

What makes Ikius a pioneer?
  • Ikius focuses entirely on modern Jamstack technologies for web and app development. By doing this they offer more efficient and future-proof software.
  • Ikius strongly believes that Jamstack will be the leading web development architecture.  The Ikius team has adapted Jamstack as the main and only go-to web development architecture and were among the first businesses out there to do so.
  • In addition, Ikius has a great blog that will teach all the basics about Jamstack and why they strongly believe that this is the only technology all modern brands should use from now on.

"Jamstack is the way web should have been built. Whether you are building from scratch or upgrading your existing websites or apps, you should always use the modern Jamstack architecture. When you are thinking about upgrading your company's tech stack you should always consider doing it how it is meant to be done, the Jamstack way," explained Max Ikaheimo, CEO if Ikius in his blog post "What is Jamstack and why it shold be used".

Check out this webinar with Ikius. Path to Modern Web: How Developers and Agencies can Start with Jamstack and Grow in 2021

10 | Bejamas

bejamas JAMstack development on agilitycms.com

Bejamas is a web development shop focused on helping agencies and companies with serverless web, headless CMSs, static site generators, and Jamstack tools. 

What Makes Bejamas A Pioneer?

Bejamas is one of the few development agencies out there that offer Jamstack-centered development, which makes them a robust option for marketers. Instead of building a development team, they can find experienced developers to handle their Jamstack needs.

These are some of the main reasons Bejamas is one of the Jamstack pioneers:

  • The Bejamas team is very knowledgeable in Jamstack and focuses its offer on building websites and apps using that architecture.
  • Using Jamstack, the Bejamas team has achieved significant gains in terms of site speed and ease to use for their clients. Check out some case studies are here.
  • Bejamas had an incredible infographic put together to illustrate the Jamstack Ecosystem in great detail


11 | Unikorns

Unikorns Jamstack website screenshot on agilitycms.com

Unikorns is Europe-based a full-service web design and development studio focused on creating next-gen websites and web apps - modern design combined with the power of Jamstack.

What makes Unikorns a Jamstack Pioneer?
  • Unikorns is a Jamstack only oriented studio dedicated to building future-proof websites and applications. 
  • Unikorns focused on popularising Jamstack architecture for all-size businesses through their blog and social media.
  • And they don't forget to bring style to Jamstack based websites and apps! Their design team creates excellent-looking products

12 | The New Dynamic

The new dynamic website screenshot on agilitycms.com

The New Dynamic is a full-service web design, development, and consulting agency based in New York wholly focused on Jamstack technologies. The name comes from their community site that Bud Parr developed in 2014 to showcase Jamstack tools and services that were originally named "Static is the New Dynamic" (https://www.thenewdynamic.org/).

What Makes The New Dynamic A Jamstack Pioneer?

These are some of the main reasons The New Dynamic is one of the Jamstack pioneers:

  • The New Dynamic created a popular community on Slack (http://slack.tnd.dev/) by the same name and has held over 25 Jamstack events (https://www.jamstack.nyc/) in New York City as well as given talks or workshops at every annual Jamstack Conference in San Francisco.
  • They regularly contribute to open source tools and readily make available our process and knowledge to the community. We are considered experts with Hugo, the world's fastest framework for building websites.
  • The New Dynamic has an incredible collection of tools on their website you might enjoy.

Learning Jamstack? Get this eBook for Free:

jamstack ebook

Keep Reading  

If you want to learn more about using Jamstack with Agility CMS, make sure you read these articles:

Learning JAMstack? So, this eBook is for you!

eBook JAMstack for Beginners - Agility CMS and Ikius
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