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.
What does JAMstack really mean?
One of the 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.
- 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.
- JAMstack is still about static js./CSS/HTML, but it brings an improved developer experience and robust app development than legacy methods.
- 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 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 in 5 categories so you could get a broader view of all the people that populate the JAMstack ecosystem, including:
- Front-end frameworks
- Headless CMSs
- Static site generators
- Hosting platforms
- 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.
1 | React
What Makes React A Pioneer?
One of the things that makes 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.
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.
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.
Contentful is all about content. It enables developers and marketers to integrate with a myriad of tools to improve content delivery.
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 build ON TOP of the base frameworks to do amazing things. Now we can use front-end development frameworks to build website that normally we’d build with PHP, Java or ASP.Net.
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.
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
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:
- 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
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.
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)
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 because of 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.
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 | Bejamas
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 offers 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 their 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 incredible infographic put together to illustrate the JAMstack Ecosystem in great deatail
10 | The New Dynamic
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 was originally named "Static is the New Dynamic" (https://www.thenewdynamic.org/).
What Makes The New Dynamic A 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 have 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
If you want to learn more about using JAMstack with Agility CMS, make sure you read these articles: